Ricky Ray was born in Florida and educated at Columbia University. He is the founding editor of Rascal: a Journal of Ecology, Literature and Art. His awards include the Cormac McCarthy Prize, the Ron McFarland Poetry Prize, the Fortnight Poetry Prize and a Whisper River Poetry Prize. His work has appeared widely in periodicals and anthologies, including The American Scholar, The Matador Review, amaryllis, Scintilla and Fugue. He lives in Harlem with his wife, three cats, and a Labradetter. Their bed, like any good home of the heart, is frequently overcrowded.
Photo Courtesy of Jia Oak Baker, Photographer
In Ricky Ray's debut collection, Fealty, the world quickly reveals itself as more complex and mysterious than we imagined. In poems surreal, feral, visceral, and yet tender, moving, and wise, Ray guides us through themes of love, death, animism, fidelity, belonging, and care. There is something of the ancients in his consciousness, which continually reminds us that we not only inhabit the earth, but are movements of the earth itself. Ray's connection to creatures great and small feels elemental; dog and dandelion stand beside man and mountain in the light. His eco-poetics, reminiscent of Wendell Berry and Joy Harjo, carries the dark passion of duende and the rhythmic swing of jazz manouche. All told, Ricky Ray is a modern-day mystic, and Fealty is a series of startling visions capable of inducing a more intimate kinship with the world.