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Ruin Paperback – September 1, 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
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Cynthia Cruz’s passionate, intense poems inhabit a landscape of fates and fatal hungers, nightmares and dangerous desires, in which enchantment and terror are so intimate that they become one.”Reginald Shepherd
"...the poems in this first collection are almost all passionate and full of energy...Cruz says: 'I spent a lifetime inside the destruction./ And like anyone, I made a world someplace else.' These poems are that world: tough, sometimes hard to swallow, but certainly compelling."Library Journal
"To enjoy these poems...is to permit the elliptical mind of a poet deeply grieved and disquieted, who is sifting through detritus and artifacts presumably to find reconciliation, or a way to heal."Small Spiral Notebook
"This is not a book about peacocks in twilight nor should it be read in the parlor. These spare, intense poems are both terrifying and excruciatingly tender, often both at once. Rarely is mystery so lucid, rarely does poetry rush so directly to the marrow. Ruin is a brilliant debut."Thomas Lux
Top Customer Reviews
So much is surprising about this collection. How the lynchpin of the whole cycle goes almost unnoticed in one of the most understated poems. How the structure is in some ways quite formal (shifts in color and symbol from before to after that lynchpin) and in other ways quite postmodern (try to pin down the way drugs figure in this text.)
Clearly I am a fan; I suppose I wouldn't take the time to write a review of an obscure, slender volume of poetry if I weren't. This book is a steal, and I think it's important to support a talented poet who has made an ugly pretty thing that will meet you on its own terms.
Ruin is a book that will hurt you, but do so in an indefinable way, kind of like the charming guy at the bar who couches a mild insult within every compliment. Cruz' work loves to contradict itself emotionally, every happiness cursed, every blackness countermanded with a joy:
There's a gunboat cutting through the distance,
Its hull ablaze with honey light and black
Lanterns tattering in the breeze. Off the rafters
Hangs an old yellow dress I wore once when I was little.
There's a sick Sheltie staring from the landing
And a pile of cages rusting in the weather.
A ghost, I enter the boat.
When it pulls up, I'll be a girl again.
These are short, punchy pieces, each demanding reflection. It's a small book, but one worth savoring. *** ½