Ashmont’s Anna Ross wins prize for poetry

By 
Chris Harding, Special to the Reporter
Mar. 26, 2009

A Dorchester poet who used her writing skills to cope with a series of miscarriages has just won New Women's Voices Prize in Poetry from Finishing Line Press for "Hawk Weather," her first poetry chapbook. The title poem by Anna Ross celebrates the fierce majesty of birds of prey and explores the links between beauty, loss, and death — themes that reappear throughout the collection.
A few years ago the Ashmont resident learned from an ultrasound that there was no longer a heartbeat in the fetus she was carrying.
"It was a very shocking thing to absorb," Ross said. "I couldn't sleep that night. I had to get up and write a poem about what I was feeling."  
That night she wrote "Miscarriage".
"Little yolk, fly-speck, web
unworked, detail without name,
unlatch yourself from me, go.
In your small submersible,
your thousands of cells have stopped
beating. I felt their tappings
like braille on a quaking bog: a faint print,
then none. Go, almost thing,
the sundews have opened
their sticky pink mitts to catch
your brothers, and soon
the cranberries will float red
on the harvesting pond.
(This, too, will come to an end.)"
Among those praising Ross's verse is Timothy Donnelly, poetry editor of the "Boston Review" who teaches poetry at Columbia University's School of the Arts.
"The poems in Anna Ross's 'Hawk Weather' refresh our sensitivity to the beauty of the natural world in all its enormity and minuteness," Donnelly writes. "Tirelessly attentive to its sensual particulars—as well as to their correspondence to each other and to human thought and feeling—Ross's poems are exquisitely crafted, wise, patient, affirming, and full of care."
"Hawk Weather" will be released on May 29, but the pre-order sales period runs from now through April 17. (The publisher adjusts the press run in proportion to the number of copies pre-ordered, so pre-ordering is a crucial way to support this local poet and teacher.)
To find out more or reserve your copy, go to finishinglinepress.com under either "Book of the Month" or "New Releases and Forthcoming Titles" (scroll down to Anna Ross).