The poet Ruth Rosenthal is a fresh voice for those of us living in the mountains near Yosemite. Retiring from the Bay Area in California, she brings in her work a most welcome sensitivity, intelligence and beauty.
Her verses resonate and ring true. She understands the power of simplicity and in her writing there is such a direct focus which reveals how fully she understands that one uses poetic forms in order to go directly to heart and mind and soul.
Ruth Rosenthal loved a man who loved music and was a musician. Now the music of her poetry has become her tribute to him and to the life they shared.
I used to “sneak” writing poetry in school, as soon as I learned to write. I spoke with a tremor, which years later l learned is called spastic dysphonia, usually the result of an injury. As do many others, I had a terror of public speaking, so writing became my comfort and crutch. From that grew a tuning-in to my higher self, when I write, that feels like a gift I can always depend on.
Winners of writing contests are expected to read their writing. When I got into Toastmasters and read my work to others, I realized that I had been my own judge and jury. This led me to do readings at book stores, coffee houses and libraries. I won poetry and prose writing contests because I stopped fearing I’d win. As a result, I won with both poetry and prose entries, within the same month. My story titled “Locked Inside” received the American Pen Women Award. I felt as proud to be able to read it to an audience of several hundred, at the New Main San Francisco Library, as I was to be selected for the award.
I remarried my husband after sixteen years apart. Once again, we were a family: Bob, I, and our two daughters, Jaki and Riki. The four of us were forever grateful that Bob’s and my belated growth and maturity were not too late – that we had a second chance in life.
My writing developed as my life has: the unexpected, the joys and sorrows. When Bob died twenty years later, out of me poured my grief, into the blank book Jaki had given me. Those words, not intended for a book, so touched people ten years later. I had decided to read a few of the poems before Valentine’s Day at our Willow Bridge Bookstore reading circle. After I read, a woman who had come into the store and listened asked me if it were a book. I said it wasn’t. She said, “When it is, I want to get it.” That night an email from another listener read, “You saw the reaction of people. You need to do something about it.” I am thankful that comfort for others’ loss can reach out from my own.
Though one could describe writing poetry as my first passion, in my thirties I began writing stories. Reading them to a memoirs group each week during the past four years, I saw them in their true place: all non-fiction, about the treasured experiences with people I’ve met, loved and learned from. Still the same person who snuck writing poems in grammar school, the stories in “In Fallen Snow” are the way they need to be, in the first person, each preceded by a poem that honors the interesting people I have had the pleasure to know.