Paperback Price: $14.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1882295586

Selected Poem


A California of snow and the surprise
Of illness. I throned myself in the white
Noise of its silence and watched as the world
Fell away. All the silver flickerings of possibility
Going out like the sound of horse hooves
Clicking into the distance. It is almost
The end. Anesthesia of medicine and me,
Beneath its warm bell of milk. My girlhood was
Microscopic: a locked window overlooking the
Sea. An atlas of the disaster: an un-lit hall and
A shift in the waves of the field. Blue bedside
Porcelain. Michelle, my little sister, silent as
A weed. I took all the things I loved and
Smashed them one by one.


“Cruz writes about illness, death, destitution and addiction with confident authority and disquieting relish.”
The New York Times Book Review

“Cruz’s chillingly powerful debut traces the coming-of-age of a girl whose family is haunted by the death of a brother, perhaps by his own hand. In language that is pleadingly clear but also, in the long wake of a shameful family secret, necessarily withholding…Cruz seeks terms with which to mourn and regain what she has lost.”
Publishers Weekly, starred review

“…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

“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. It is our own tawdry, violent, glorious world, but stripped to its essentials, where every object is significant and personal experience is transfigured into archetype.”
—Reginald Shepherd

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