Loss into growth

7 Oct
Ruth Stone is looking at me

Ruth Stone

Poet Ruth Stone lived to 96, transforming all losses into movement, into growth, so said Stone-enthusiast, Chaucer Cameron who edited Salt on the Wind: poetry in response to Ruth Stone. She lived in a little house in Vermont with no running water and wrote about the everyday and her family, and science, civil rights and even horror.

Last night, to a unintentional backdrop of a Jack Vettriano print and the unintentional soundtrack of a live country and western band, Ruth Stone’s life’s work was celebrated with live homages from the poets featured in the new anthology, and films of Ruth, wild, dual-toned hair, reciting a string of poems from her sitting room chair as if she was speaking from a plinth at a festival.

She said she lost most of her poems; they slipped from the memory, never commended to paper. ‘I never thought I wrote them anyway,’ she said from beyond the grave via Helen Dewberry’s film. ‘They were part of the universe. The brain is so funny.’

The evening finished with a film collaboration between Helen and Bianca Stone, Ruth’s grandaughter. Helen dared us that she will buy dinner for anyone who likes Ruth’s work but not Bianca’s. ‘It might be worth it to lie. But I will be asking you to break down why.’

The Swindon launch of Salt in the Wind: poems in response to Ruth Stone was part of Poetry Swindon Festival 6 October 2016, at the Sun Inn, Swindon.

Chronicle written by Louisa Davison.

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