Folded Word Press September 2018
“Ratto Parks’ work is contemplative and original […] Brilliant, at once dense and ethereal; rewards multiple readings.” Kirkus (starred review)
"RADIAL BLOOM is unlike any book I've ever read—shimmering with ghosts, rich with empathy, and alive with the possibilities of love and loss. This adroit slip of a book will haunt me for a long time, and I'm so grateful for the haunting."
~ Sharma Shields , author of The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac
"In this verse novel, we follow the bewitching journey of a woman whose life becomes entangled with a visiting ghost. Befriended, loved, and borrowed for his wounds, we traverse, prayer by prayer, along “the ridgelines, the movement of the stars.” Amy Ratto Parks bestows unto us a body of “thin air,” which is, “any air we fall through,” where hellish muses, gifts, and otherworldly forces may come before us, troubled and far from sin. In a world teeming with familiar devastations, charted and uncharted, Radial Bloom is a body of dreams, “blowing smoke into the cold night, blowing…like rescue…like love… [like] the long bell of evening.” As we descend below waters, we are astonished that somewhere in a field of honeysuckle lives a song moored in our hearts—a song of wrought paradise, “throwing knives, throwing knives into trees.”
~ Khaty Xiong, author of Poor Anima
"What if the Muse arrives "all biceps and brawn...in a leather jacket of disinterest," holding a golden gun he puts to your heart? In this potent fever-dream of a conceit, Amy Ratto-Parks not only radicalizes the paradigm, she enacts the brutal consequences, both existential and quotidian, of responding to the call. Classically speaking Radial Bloom is a descent, an urgent journey into the interior that is never top-heavy--imagine Julian of Norwich, Baudelaire, and John Wayne sitting at the bar with Dante pouring shots--and is impossible to put down."
~ Chris Dombrowski, author of Body of Water
"The remaking of the self—be it through mania, depression, obsession, or heartache—can be an otherworldly experience, rendered here in Radial Bloom as a cinematic and transcendent act. For those of us tucked safely into a life that has been domesticated by a partner or children, there is the tendency to wonder where that person we were before has disappeared to. We wonder not about long-gone pleasures, but about longing itself, a kind of yearning that attended and sustained us for years with its sweet, familiar pain. The answer is that it’s all still there, inside us, like it’s always been. A lingering ache in the gut, a punch that still reverberates like distant thunder on a cloudless day. Amy Ratto Parks is the antidote to the part of us that reflexively dismisses our more complicated selves. This book is her big middle class, mid-life, multi-layered, mommy middle finger raised high, and I will follow it anywhere, especially right off this safe little cliff I’ve been perched on for years."
~ Keetje Kuipers, author of The Keys to the Jail
About the Author
Amy Ratto Parks’ poetry, fiction, and essays appear in literary, popular, and academic journals. She has worked as a reporter, a freelance writer and online writing course designer, and an editor of Writer’s Digest, Fiction Writer, and Cutbank literary magazines. A graduate of Miami University and the University of Montana, she is currently the Assistant Director of Composition and the Executive Director of the Institute of Health and Humanities at the University of Montana.
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How To Remember The World
Forthcoming, September 2018
Poetry from Foothills Press
In these poems, Ratto Parks explores the legacies of illness, violence, loss, and love, and seeks to “find a tiny, holy moment” by “saying yes to so many right things.” While searching the boundaries of the body and mind, the speaker finds anchor in the physical world and the simple comforts of family, home, and food. The poems remind us that while we live in a world that can make “your eyes go bright with fear” we can all find ways “to make some space to live in.”
Poems in this book were originally published in The Mississippi Review, Court Green, South Dakota Review, Verde Te Quiero Verde, Poems After Federico Garcia Lorca, The Classical Outlook, Bright Bones: Contemporary Montana Writers, Weird Sisters: Lilac City Fairytales V, and Yale Anglers Journal.
Verb of Being was the winner of the 2016 Phi Beta Kappa Poetry Award.
Cover art by Mara Parks. Cover Design by River Designs.
Song of Days Torn and Mended
Published by alice blue books
Shotgun Wedding, 2015
Poems in this book appeared in Terrain: A Journal of the Built + Natural Environments, Mojo/Mikrokosmos
About Place Journal, Mid-American Review, Interim Magazine, Barrow Street, Permafrost, Reed Magazine, Muse & Stone, and Margin.
Bread and Water Body
Winner of the 2003 Meriam Frontier Prize.
About this book, judge Sandra Alcosser wrote, "Wherever this voice moves throughout the world, the ability to inhabit a scene, while standing within and without it, gives resonance to the insight. Czeslaw Milosz, Nobel-prize-winning Polish poet, wrote that poetry has always followed, fully aware of its terrible responsibilities, the mysterious movement of the great soul of people. He cautioned that to take the true poet's position one must universalize human and personal experience. The truly inspired poet of the future will transcend his paltry ego. We see Amy Ratto following the important path; as she records the life of the garden, of food and sleep, she brings holiness to the quotidian acts of life."