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Stirring up the Water is a river of merging currents. In this award-winning first collection, the waters are at times stirred softly as though with the tips of the fingers, and at times harshly like an oar thrusting into the water’s depths. These poems address issues of ethnic identity, class, and love. They explore life’s injustices and dive into ages-old religious-spiritual questioning, casting their nets far across a philosophical sea. Ruiz “charts her stories” around the world from Australia to Canada to Spain, and lets herself “be carried by the current” of each place, “listening and learning” from them without intruding upon their sanctity. She contemplates the natural world by “living in the moment of bird wing and flight,” and by showing the ever-present “cycle of life, journey, death, then life again.” After exploring the tough and the gentle sides of human behaviour, she discovers the depth and purity at the core of human love. With these poetic waters we see that to live “at the edge” is no less bountiful than to live with a sense of normality and is often more conducive to seeing and knowing “the mystery.” Presented in freestyle verse and formal rhythms, Stirring up the Water is honest and forthright, at times simple and at times complex in vision. These waters offer channels of wisdom that are accessible to all seekers, poets and non-poets alike. Stirring up the Water won the First Book Award in Poetry from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas.
‘Cathy Ruiz is an astute and perceptive poet, endowed with an admirable facility with words, open to new awarenesses and experiences, all of which she quite ably converts into poetry of a high order.’ —Geary Hobson
‘Cat Ruiz's poetry comes from many influences, many life times. From the hot, dusty streets of Southern Spain, the colorful blur of a Mexican town square, to the mystery of gurgling waters in the Pacific Northwest and the Buddhist meditative raptures she explores. She speaks authoritatively, sensuously, robustly, and yet, she sings with a beautiful tenderness and musical lyricism not found since Theodore Roethke. I am empowered by her skill and voice.’ —Koon Woon, author of The Truth in Rented Rooms (Kaya, NY, NY 1998); winner of the Pen Oakland Award; publisher, Goldfish Press.
‘Catherine speaks clearly, plainly and beautifully in words that we can all understand and take to our hearts. She certainly speaks my mind and she will speak yours as well.’ —Philip Red Eagle, author of Red Earth: A Vietnam Warrior's Journey