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Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore (or your favorite local bookstore)
direct from the Meadowlark Bookstore

Poetry by Ronda Miller

  • 110 pages
  • Meadowlark (Coming - July 2017)
  • ISBN: 978-0996680127 

What people are saying:

“Miller’s collection, WaterSigns, charts water’s path for plainspeople—water in the aquifer, water in the clouds, water in the field ditches and in the bird’s beak and in the mother’s womb. In this way, Miller’s collection is a celebration of life’s true blood, and Miller gets the people and the flora and fauna of Kansas-country right, right down to the dew drops on grass blades.”  
Kevin Rabas, author of Songs for My Father and Kansas Poet Laureate 2017-2019

“These are poems that snap open like a milkweed pod to release their seeds of visceral life, silky from the interior life, to bud and bloom again. The soul has a shell, a scream can be prisoned behind a smile, the Lazarus kitten can live again, and all those kinfolk places that passed away, it turns out, left us word in these poems. This is a poet who grubbed up earth from beside the house that burned, because she knew it was precious, but then, from such relics, built these celebrations. Drowning didn’t stop her, family feuds, lost love, times of dislocation so severe she wanted to die—but instead, this seeker turned her troubles into songs for us.”
Kim Stafford, author of Early Morning: Remembering My Father, William Stafford

“WaterSigns streams with wind and sun, small towns, and prairie sky. Here, there is a current of coyote bones, a legacy in an old woman’s eye glasses, a whiskey bottle behind a barn. Ronda Miller’s understanding of the natural world is real and never glossed. So too, her people live in a Kansas of the heart, one with the wind that buffets them, a poetry that runs deep with a melancholy longing for simple truth.”
Al Ortolani, author of Paper Birds Don’t Fly

“In this book of verse full of memories and transformations, one poem begins, “I found his wedding ring on the bottom / of a glass jar filled with pencil shavings.” The story is compelling, and the music of the language is a solace. Join Ronda Miller in her third full-length collection WaterSigns as she creates stories that sing.”
Denise Low, Kansas Poet Laureate 2007-2009

“Ronda Miller’s new poetry collection WaterSigns is a hard testament to our rocky communion with nature, and with how the often violent, temperamental world darkens and shapes youth, adulthood, and beyond. Miller reminds us in sure terms of life’s temporality, how even falling trees can ‘steal the soul / and leave the shell’ of what we know. ‘I think of how much water / it takes to fill your body and mine,’ she muses, always mindful. Even so, the poet knows that the natural world is deep down a balm, a ‘place of safe retreat’ where we can whiff pipe tobacco ‘sweet as homemade fudge.’ With her new collection, Miller has granted us a glimpse into her guarded heart, a treasure ‘worth more than gold.’”

Tyler Robert Sheldon, author of Traumas and 
First Breaths of Arrival

“Ronda Miller’s latest book of poems, WaterSigns, is a search for healing: healing for her, for the ones she loves, for the rest of us who share this earth with her. There are poems here that flay us with pain, carry us from the edge of suicide, “breaking pretty little vases / …for anything / with sharp edges,” to the depths of a widow’s grief, “I found his wedding ring on the bottom / of a glass jar filled with pencil shavings. / …dumped word ashes onto my palm.” But then there are poems that lave the blessings of holy waters over those wounds: “You went all the way to the moon and back. / I saw you there myself,” she says to a child awakening from a nightmare. “Touch Me with Your Night / and I’ll show you my days,” she offers, and you stretch out your hand. You would do well to accompany her on this search “…to… /find a sky where geese, / by instinct, / know where they are going, / and so do I.” These are poems that seek words to help us come to terms with all that life presents, and in the end, finds them.”
Roy Beckemeyer, author of Music I Once Could Dance To (2014, Coal City Press)
“Ronda Miller’s poetry is explosive and exceptional. I especially like the personal poems about her life, both because she has lived things I have not and she describes even small portraits that have such colors and images that engender emotional response to her straightforward words. She says ‘if you want to know a poet, read his words…until they become your own.’  Ronda’s words become your own because they have such beauty and intimacy. Like the ‘Rare moments’ she describes in a certain dance and relationship, Ronda’s sensitive poems bring one in and make one dance along with the rhythm. I was sad to come to the end and immediately started again at the beginning. You will too.”
Alan S. Kleiman, author of  Grand Slam

About the Author:
Ronda Miller is a Life Coach who works with clients who have lost someone to homicide. She is a graduate of the University of Kansas and continues to live in Lawrence. She is a Fellow of The Citizen Journalism Academy, World Company, a Certified Life Coach with IPEC (Institute of Professional Empowerment Coaching), a mother to two step sons, Sasha and Nick, a son, Scott and a daughter, Apollonia. She created poetic forms loku and ukol. She was the co-chair, along with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg, for the Transformative Language Arts Conference at Unity Village September, 2015. Miller was the poetry contest manager for Kansas Authors Club (2011-2014). She is the District 2 President of Kansas Authors Club (2015 – 2017), and the club’s Vice President (2016 – 2017). When Miller isn’t coaching clients, volunteering time to Kansas Authors Club, or writing poetry, she is busy learning life skills from children with special needs.

About the Photographs: 
Crystal Socha started her photography career with a 4x5 large format camera. She developed and printed all of her own photographs. Although she still shoots with her film camera, she has made the transition to the digital age.  

Crystal primarily focuses on landscapes, but over the last couple of years has developed a love of photographing eagles and other wildlife. She enjoys spending time in the Flint Hills of Kansas capturing not only its vast rolling landscape, but also the ranching life, which unfolds in the heart of the hills.

When Crystal isn’t out photographing she spends her time taking care of her horses. She has also driven and trained Belgian hitch horses for competition. She’s done that for fifteen years, winning several team classes. She is currently driving a team of horses at the Cowtown Museum in Wichita, Kansas.

1 comment:

  1. In Water Signs, Ronda Miller skillfully presents poems that deal with her life, beliefs, and family. Beginning from her mother's womb,

    Nude limbs flail
    and swing
    as a first attempt
    to swim into existence

    Miller celebrates vivid childhood experiences in Kansas: parched summer days, a dead coyote, its ears cut off, and the hired harvest hand fired for drinking behind the barn. In many poems, Miller revisits long gone relatives and acquaintances who still people her dreams. One poem recalls tracking down her absent father, and in another poem, she must bury him.

    Miller's counts life as both difficult and exhilarating: family suicides, her failed suicide, near drownings, a poisoned kitten. Despite such trauma, Miller is motivated to survive and celebrate with joy, wisdom, sensual intimacy, and sensitivity that shine through her poems. Listen as she channels William Stafford, hears him tell her:

    Be silent and listen,
    it's all you need of today.

    In that listening she finds her own voice.

    I watch as the Water Protectors
    are hurt by their water,
    our water,
    as it is used,
    a weapon,
    against them.