The Place One Is (Paperback)

The Place One Is By Martha Ronk Cover Image

The Place One Is (Paperback)


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A collection from celebrated poet Martha Ronk considering the relationship between person, body, and place.

The Place One Is explores the intersection of person and place, the ways in which changes in the tangible world alter one’s vision, bodily posture, vocabulary, and concern for—to take one example—the dwindling water supply in California. The body’s position, its geometry, and the topography of the surrounding land become less and less recognizable as body and world blend together. Gravel giving way underfoot mirrors the way that words dissolve into mumbles, and the skeleton of a rusty car on the sand appears like one’s own skeleton. Ronk shows that disintegration here is disintegration there. These poems also wonder at interdependence, considering how lines intersect and continue to connect us to the sea—and to islands, lagoons, greenery, sky, and space. 
In the first part of the collection, the poems focus on a rural landscape, and in the second part, they consider the overly bright urban world of Los Angeles. 
Martha Ronk is the author of twelve books of poetry and one book of short stories, Glass Grapes. Her poetry books include SilencesOcular ProofTransfer of Qualities (longlisted for the National Book Award), VertigoPartially Kept, and in a landscape of having to repeat. Her work has been included in the anthologies Lyric PostmodernismsAmerican HybridNot for Mothers Only, and most recently in North American Women Poets in the 21st Century. She is the emeritus Irma and Jay Price Professor of English at Occidental College in Los Angeles.
Product Details ISBN: 9781632431035
ISBN-10: 1632431033
Publisher: Omnidawn
Publication Date: July 6th, 2022
Pages: 64
"Ronk shows that all bodies—human, water, land, and politic—are interconnected, asking 'what place might humans have in the aftermath.' These unflinching poems look hard a humanity’s future."
— Publishers Weekly

"Ronk is a great American visionary. The Place One Is gives us further evidence of her singular, exquisite ability to see what's there, what's on the edges, what's porous, ever-shifting in the in-between. Wallace Stegner once famously said, ‘California is America, only more so . . . the national culture at its most energetic end.’ Ronk's California is the US, the planet, the universe as it tumbles before us, beyond us, within us into dust."
— Gillian Conoley, author of A Little More Red Sun on the Human

“What does human become when being gives itself over to its inherent permeability, not only between subject and object but between body and environment, the rural and the urban, the physical and the textual? The Place One Is moves through questions such as these, coming into being simultaneous with walking along a shore—“in the seaweed strewn across the tide line” —or reading a detective novel— “as pages turn slowly as causality.” To slip into a thought is to slip into a body into a landscape into a book and therefore become the thought, body, landscape, book. In our divisive time, there may be no more crucial subject of meditation than this.”
— Karla Kelsey, author of A Conjoined Book