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The More


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.

Soulful, urgent, profound.
— Sharon English, author
I think this is Bloom’s best collection yet. She actively engages with the world, saying things that I immediately want to write down to make mine.
— Tracy Chevalier, Author of Girl with A Pearl Earring
Whether looking inward or outward, Bloom writes with directness, ringing clarity and a quiet wisdom. These are poems as luminous as the gorgeous Mark Rothko print that graces the book’s cover.
— Barb Carey, The Toronto Star
As an empathic observer, Bloom has captured feelings and associated impressions on the subject of mortality that are difficult to express, even for one experiencing them first-hand. This, along with the accessibility of her language, may lead some to consider her a Canadian contemporary People’s Poet, a kind of poet the country needs as much today as ever.
— Laurie Anne Fuhr, Review of The More in Bywords

Cloudy With a Fire in the Basement

shortlisted for canada's relit award


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.

The poems feel timeless and yet utterly contemporary. There are occasional references to the modern world – PINs, passwords, a radiator, Keith Haring, Tim Horton’s, Scrabble and Yoko Ono – but the poems are so much larger. While they are precisely crafted works about loss and fear, risk and relief, and about getting what you want, they are above all compassionate, comforting, and yes, godamnit, useful.
— Shawna Lemay, Canadian Poetries


shortlisted for the pat lowther memorial award


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

Ronna Bloom’s fourth book of poetry is saturated with “permiso”: permission to feel, to pause, to grieve, to resent and crave change, to admit that your heart pounds sometimes at pretty, silly things....Bloom’s synthesis of contradictory passions into graceful poetics connects Permiso to writing by Adrienne Rich (Dark Fields of the Republic), Ann Carson (The Beauty of the Husband), Esta Spalding (The Wife’s Account).
Meg Walker, The Globe and Mail

Public Works

shortlisted for the pat lowther memorial award


Public Works is poet Ronna Bloom's third collection of poetry.

In it, several themes emerge:

  1. The private experience of the public (the idea that everything we experience—a book, a speech, a hospital, a religion, water running into the taps—we experience privately);
  2. The public role of the poet (as in Ginsberg's lines: "While I'm here, I'll do the work/and what's the work?/To ease the pain of living"); and
  3. The placement of the individual in a wider context (the places we find ourselves inhabiting: a body, a house, a job, a memory, as in the common phrase on maps in shopping malls: "You Are Here".)

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.

Bloom’s poems convey a great tenderness and a painfully acute awareness of suffering in the world.
Ruth Roach Pearson, The Fiddlehead Review (Issue

Personal Effects


"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

It is the intimacy of the poems that will connect with readers and this collection deserves a wide, not solely literary, audience.
— Nick Power, Literary Review of Canada

Fear of the Ride



"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."


It is the intimacy of the poems that will connect with readers and this collection deserves a wide, not solely literary, audience.
— Nick Power, Literary Review of Canada