Ronna Bloom’s new poetry tests its music on the wards of a hospital. While circling a shadow theme of disappearance—retreating, giving out, giving up, being prone, down, waiting with death—Bloom is actually making poems that defend the opposite: tenderness as revelation, anger, strength, compassion as power, health! These poems are wide open. They do not turn away.
The More, by Ronna Bloom, published by Pedlar Press, Cover Art by Mark Rothko, Yellow over Purple, 1956.
The More was long-listed for The City of Toronto Book Awards 2018.
Most things have no reason.
Why you leave a lover or join another, why you choose to stay where you live; these questions you may have no answer for. Or the answers change. Cloudy with a Fire in the Basement explores living from an awareness that has no reference points, that carries the risk of making no sense, of losing others who may require it, of understanding that there's no safety. The poems go toward these notions, even if the writer is fleeing.
Within Bloom's new poems exists an attempt toward freedom that demands looking at whatever the psyche revolts against or craves. By hawking an eye on human experience that has previously been rejected or desired--cruelty, love, grief, a good fitting pair of jeans, God—the poems investigate stuck places and too-tight habits. They skitter and rest, and lie down in the chaos and the quiet, in the overwhelming, tragic, sequinned world; and occasionally they alight in reality.
What happens when, in mid-life, a marriage breaks apart and a woman's home empties of its familiar rituals, and energy patterns, and grids of faith and promise?
The poems in Ronna Bloom's fourth collection, Permiso, follow an ancient trajectory, of psychic displacement, of questions having to do with personal failure, of responsibility, yes, and of an emerging, craning desire, of a search, begun anew, for an Other who just might be Self
Public Works is poet Ronna Bloom's third collection of poetry.
In it, several themes emerge:
Some poems address overlapping themes: physical location in a body, a street, a city; and recognition of one's own response to the institutions or services found there. Bloom is interested in the way individuals move back and forth between and within the public/private landscape.
These poems, moving through personal, physical and social realms, chart the uneven, uncertain trajectory of a life.
"These Personal Effects add up to a life, in all its clutter and grace, its fear and anger and desire. Bloom's voice is a torch, sending its searing, fearless light into the well of self. She knows the well is bottomless, and dangerous. She goes in anyway."
— Stephanie Bolster
"There is much life in Ronna Bloom's impressive first collection, Fear of the Ride; much to bless and mourn. This is a strong and original new voice, whether Bloom is speaking of the 'long longing' that loss produces, or of the heart's absurd demand, Bloom's command of rhetoric and cadence, her radical emotional honesty, and blunt, deep humour work to create a fearless and engaging poetry."