||Everything That Hurt Us Becomes a Ghost
“Everything That Hurt Us Becomes a Ghost is a reclamation of self. Exploring the pain of family, domestic violence, survival, neglect, and rescue, Sage Ravenwood’s poems radiate as only the truth can. Captivating and alive, this collection shines with Ravenwood’s tenderness, in itself a work of art.”
—Ruth Awad, author of Set to Music a Wildfire
“‘There’s no flesh between love and pain . . . Twin shadows Never one without the other’—so begins Sage Ravenwood’s brilliant debut collection Everything That Hurt Us Becomes a Ghost. In each poem, we witness a girl, a woman, a self clawing at these twin shadows, desperate to extricate herself. Ravenwood asks, ‘Did you know, / Anger has a brother named Fear,’ giving us glimpses of what violence and abuse feel like, even as she warns us: ‘I own this darkness / The batteries in your flashlight are dead.’”
—Shipra Agarwal, writer and founder of Lityatra, a platform that supports the journeys of BIPOC authors
“Sage Ravenwood’s sublime debut is an ode to the animals within and among us, trauma and joy, the provisional cadences of the natural world, the rituals of passage, the body as recorder. With soft wonder and a documentarian focus, Ravenwood nourishes a space for the ordinary and unexpected to convene, epiphanies brought by the dazzling montage of image, sensation, and a consciousness tuned to the frequencies of the flesh and the ancestral. ‘All of life can’t put me / back together again Deaf ears / never hear you say Say love I can’t / I cut the words out of my throat,’ Ravenwood writes, and yet Everything That Hurt Us Becomes a Ghost is unmistakably a collection that endeavors to map the words, and a voice, into a new soundscape brought by survival.”
—Chris Campanioni, author of A and B and Also Nothing
Sage Ravenwood is a deaf Indigenous poet whose work deals with the lingering, resurgent trauma of familial violence and the machinations of colonialism. Everything That Hurt Us Becomes a Ghost is a poet’s response to her place in the wider world, exploring grief, anger, tenderness, and defiance. Ravenwood sheds light on Indigenous issues such as MMIW (Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women) and the American Indian boarding schools, but she also makes space to center the natural world and her reverence of it. The poems in this collection are unafraid to name rage and pain as driving emotions yet strive for understanding and a way forward to healing.
Sage Ravenwood is a deaf Cherokee woman residing in upstate New York with her two rescue dogs, Bjarki and Yazhi. She is an outspoken advocate against animal cruelty and domestic violence. Her work can be found in The Temz Review, Contrary, Pioneertown Literary, Grain, The Familiar Wild: On Dogs and Poetry, The Rumpus, Lit Quarterly, PØST, Massachusetts Review, Savant-Garde, ANMLY, River Mouth Review, Native Skin Lit, Santa Clara Review, The Normal School, UCity Review, Punk Noir, Janus Literary, Jelly Bucket, Colorado Review, Pangyrus, PRISM International, 128 Lit, A Gathering of the Tribes, Ponder Review, and more. Everything That Hurt Us Becomes a Ghost is her first poetry collection.