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Pre-order: Shipped to arrive on release day: 26 July 2024

The first 100 pre-orders will arrive with a pressed autumn leaf and a limited-edition postcard artwork of Addie. 

17% of each sale will be donated to the Irish Setter rescue organization (


‘There’s something about being alive / 
that makes us cry out for help.’



Through visceral and vulnerable poetry, Ricky Ray meditates on the pain and gratitude that arise from a keenly felt awareness of our fleeting existence. Recognizing his humanity as a facet of natural processes, Ricky measures the ache of living in a disabled body against the joy of 'being lived' by the places he inhabits. As we accompany him and his soul dog, Addie, through the scenic woodlands of New England, the concrete jungle of Manhattan, and the swamps of the Deep South, the lines between humans, animals and nature begin to blur and move in concert.


Shifting between forms both physical and elemental, we read of an existence lived not ‘upon / but as one’ with the Earth, 'whose being we are throughout and beyond our brief sojourn as human'. At the heart of this collection is the transformative experience of Ricky's life with an old brown dog, which teaches that soul isn't merely something we possess—it's an animacy deeply shared. 


'These poems are built to aid survival, recovery, and endurance in a life where “everyone sips from his own flask of hurt.” There’s an undeniable enthusiasm to Ray’s diction, “language arrived/ like a puppy in my pen”; “someone pulled/ the string on the lightbulb in my chest.” This full-throated collection beautifully honors and upholds the voiceless' - Publisher's Weekly 

“These moving, well-made poems follow the author’s meditative engagement with a beloved companion dog but also with creatures of other kinds and most particularly with the earth itself. These are poems of true immersion in the belief of the earth as Gaia, whilst at the same time making known and felt the author’s painful and disabling condition, his everyday life and his hopes for the future. Unlike any other collection I have come across, these poems are remarkable in their success in showing the reader both a deeply personal and a universal story.”
- Dr Maura Dooley


"Ray's poetry enacts that rare poetic alchemy of infusing craft with an actual heartbeat. The language here pulses, paws, pushes us into a more expanded, animistic sense of what it means to be in relationship with one another in the more-than-human world." 
—Sophie Strand, author of The Flowering Wand, The Madonna Secret, and The Body Is a Doorway


About the Author


Ricky Ray is a poet, essayist and eco-mystic who lives with his wife and his old brown dog in the old green hills of New England. He is the author, previously, of Fealty (Diode Editions, 2019); Quiet, Grit, Glory (Broken Sleep Books, 2020); and The Sound of the Earth Singing to Herself (Fly on the Wall Press, 2020), a finalist for The Laurel Prize. He was educated at Columbia University and the Bennington Writing Seminars, and his awards include a Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, a Whisper River Poetry Prize, a Liam Rector Fellowship and a Zoeglossia Fellowship. His writing appears in numerous periodicals and anthologies,  including Waxwing, Salamander, The American Scholar and The Moth. He lectures on poetry, animism and integral ecology, and serves on the advisory board of the Program for the Evolution of Spirituality at Harvard.

The Soul We Share by Ricky Ray

To ship in publication month: July 2024

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