Ruth Awad


Ruth Awad is a Lebanese-American poet, a 2021 NEA Poetry fellow, and the author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. Alongside Rachel Mennies, she is the co-editor of The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry (Sundress Publications, 2020). She is the recipient of a 2020 and 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, and she won the 2013 and 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize and the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. Her work appears in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Believer, The New Republic, Pleiades, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She has an MFA in poetry from Southern Illinois University Carbondale, and she lives and writes in Columbus, Ohio. Source

Men Compliment Me

Men compliment me like I’m a distant planet

—only they have the good taste to admire its desolate beauty!


O to reach into the galaxy like it was filled just for you.


One man tells me I look sad and I think too much so

I think about that, too.


I think about his good intentions.

My freshly bloodied teeth.


The men who scare me most come not like wolves but like mice

and gnaw away at the floor beneath my feet.


I was twelve the first time I was called exotic.

Fourteen when I was deemed a terrorist.


Fifteen when I starved myself to rib

and yellowed skin. Thin as a tomato slice.


I mean a planet eventually plots its own extinction


as an aging empire waves its flag from the moon.

White men say the world is ending.


White men say the world is ending

and she's asking for it.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Body & Body Image


Science & Climate


Literary Devices:


a figure of speech in which words repeat at the beginning of successive clauses, phrases, or sentences

Interrupted Clause

a word group (a statement, question, or exclamation) that interrupts the flow of a sentence and is usually set off by commas, dashes, or parentheses


the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect


the fact of two things being seen or placed close together with contrasting effect


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”