“Cruz writes about illness, death, destitution and addiction with confident authority and disquieting relish.”
—The New York Times Book Review
Available in print.
Cynthia Cruz was born in Germany and raised in Northern California. She holds degrees from Mills College (B.A.) and Sarah Lawrence College (M.F.A.). Her poems have appeared in Paris Review, Boston Review, GRAND STREET, AGNI, Chelsea, Pleiades, the New Orleans Review, Bellevue Literary Review, Black Warrior Review and others, and are anthologized in Isn't it Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger Poets and The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries. She is the recipient of several residencies to Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony. She lives in New York City.
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
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