The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself is a poetry collection by Ricky Ray. As a disabled poet, critic, and editor, much of Ray’s body of work explores topics such as human and animal bodies, the inevitable ache and pain of living, and the healing qualities of nature. As a result, the collection was longlisted for the Laurel Prize for the best collection of environmental poetry. He has also won awards such as the Cormac McCarthy Prize, the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, and a Liam Rector Fellowship.
Within the collection, the poem The End of My Brother explores Ray’s feelings of love and loss following the death of his dog Rascal, who he grew up alongside and viewed as a brother. Deeper within the collection, the poem Rascal explores their relationship from childhood into adulthood, and Rascal’s role as both his guardian, protector, and sibling. In honour of this relationship, Ray is currently the founder and editor-in-chief of Rascal: A Journal of Ecology, Literature and Art.
Themes of animal companionship and finding solace in nature are continued throughout.
In both Lamb’s Lung and A Walk in the Woods, his current dog Addie becomes a constant companion, leaving pawprints through every verse. Furthermore, the poem So Long as There Is Light, There Is Song explores a domestic moment in a family’s life before focussing on the health of the landscape around them, reflecting on how humans must live through the death of the planet.
Other notable poems include The Dream, which casts a ghostly spell over the reader with imagery of witchcraft and magic, alongside (Dis)ability, which explores Ray’s feelings of tenderness towards his body, and acceptance that his disability does not change his worth as a human being.
Thanks for reading our latest blog post highlighting the talented poetry collection within The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself by Ricky Ray. To read more of his work, make sure to purchase a copy from our shop. It is the companion chapbook to Quiet, Grit, Glory published by Broken Sleep Books, which can be purchased from their shop. A purchase of either chapbook will receive a 10% discount off of the other chapbook, simply email proof of purchase to the respective publisher!
By Ashley Eyvanaki