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

Everything will hurt for a while

And the lie is that I survived because parts of me didn’t.

So take all the sorrow you can carry,

like my mother’s cabinets of Slim Fast

and Little Debbies and the weight

we would never lose, how we stood

in front of mirrors and men

hoping one would change our minds

and neither did. Look, here, in her letters

and their cursive of longing: Baby, survive this.


Listen, I was only sixteen and drunk

on wine coolers and teenage invincibility,

limp over a stranger’s bathtub, I was lifted

lifted into a bedroom and birdsong

erupted in the delirious morning light.

Her letters sigh, You’ve lost too much weight.

Your dad is starting to worry. Her letters remind

me it could’ve been worse. When I told her what

happened she asked, Was he cute? 


None of us got what we deserved.





Literary Movements:


Anthology Years:




Body & Body Image

Health & Illness

Mental Health

Literary Devices:


the repetition of the same letter or sound at the beginning of words appearing in succession


a line break interrupting the middle of a phrase which continues on to the next line


words or phrases repeated one after another in quick succession


an instruction or a command

Sensory Detail

words used to invoke the five senses (vision, hearing, taste, touch, smell)