when-the-moon-knowsWhen the Moon Knows You’re Wandering

$14.00 paper | 51 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-930974-11-1
Publication Date: February, 2002
Buy: Amazon | B&N | IndieBound
ShopWMU |Chicago Distribution Center

A Green Rose Book

When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering turns on the theme of lost and found paths, of being perpetually lost and then found. But even more than lost, driven to abandon the paths of one’s past. The moon in the title poem serves as landmark, tool of navigation, and silent witness. The speaker, distracted by the world, wanders, spiritually and physically, searching for some anchor that will return her to a significant sense of “home.” She becomes a migrant of sorts, finding her way by what is common to all of us–landscape, song, and memory. Resolution for the speaker comes not in the journey but in the return to the simple articles of a life, the things we call home.

“If we are all sometimes lost, as these haunting poems recognize, the gift is that we are lost in this world, a world Kocher’s compelling and often searingly tender voice speaks from. Here, our most private moments are connected to the most distant and public–from the dream of a lost lover in the form of a white crane woven inextricably with a Peruvian earthquake in ‘Long Arm Forward,’ down to the quietest single image in ‘At Home the People Sing’ where language itself remains ‘a doorway, to remind us our lives/ are not a pain we dream/ to remind us we are alive.’ When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering, is, in short, a very wise, beautiful and moving book.”
––Beckian Fritz Goldberg

“In When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering, Ruth Ellen Kocher is remarkably attuned to ‘the overture of the object,’ the intimate disclosures of rain, bougainvillea, sweet carrot. Unlike the sister who ‘doesn’t say’ in Kocher’s beautiful ‘Sestina Mouths the Object, the Word,’ the poet carries us away in a language that, like water, can be moved by ‘an object/that has broken the surface.’ In the dark lake of this poem, it may be ‘the two oars…who were lovers’ that strike a reader, or elsewhere, ‘the keels’ of a girl’s hands before she’d understood ‘her own body, the warm cove keen to growing things…’ Overture, aperture. I think anyone opening this book will discover ‘the singular way inanimate things come to love us/by giving us back some of ourselves.'”
––Allison Funk

Ruth Ellen Kocher


Ruth Ellen Kocher is the author ofOne Girl Babylon, When the Moon Knows You’re Wandering, winner of the Green Rose Prize in Poetry; and Desdemona’s Fire, winner of the Naomi Long Madgett Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in various journals, including Ploughshares, Crab Orchard Review, Clackamas Literary Review, The Missouri Review,African American Review, The Gettysburg Review, and Antioch, among others. She lives in St. Louis, and teaches literature and writing at the University of Colorado.