Ruth Colombo


Photograph of the author, taken by Suparna Ghosh, “Blue View,” Toronto, October 2008

Words on Parole

words-on-parole-bookWords on Parole is the title of Ruth Colombo’s newest book of poems. It speaks of release, and the poems in this collection speak of release from concurrent life sentences. There is fascination with justice. There is perception in the hindsight of childhood and reflection in the foresight of old age and death. In between, there is insight into the dynamic between sisters, and the dialogue between the poet and mentors such as a landlady in childhood and a mother-in-law in decline. There is thought and feeling and sentences aching for truth in this collection from a poet who has always wanted to be her own woman, and who likes the self she has forged, a self who wants to write about the world from the great monolith of Australia to the Third Rome in Russia. Words on Parole is the sequel to Concurrent Life Sentences, the earlier volume of autobiographical poetry. Both books are trade paperbacks with visually striking covers designed by Bill Andersen.

Sisters Agonistes

Sisters Agonistes is the overall title of a trilogy of three volumes of dramatic poetry written in epic vein by Ruth Colombo. The individual titles of the volumes in the trilogy are Sisters of Elysium, Sisters of Earth, and Sisters of Olympus. They describe the struggles of women both mortal and immortal through the ages and stages of life from girlhood as kore, through maturity as corona, and through old age as crone.

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The immortal players are the goddesses of Ancient Greece and there is much debate among the goddesses. The mortal players are the defeated Trojan women and the depleted Greek women of the House of Atreus. There is also much debate between mortal sisters, immortal sisters, and between mortal sisters and certain immortal archetypes.

The trilogy will be published in a limited edition in August 2014 by Colombo & Company. Email for complete details.

Concurrent Life Sentences

Over 110 vivid and expressive poems, a good many of them autobiographical in nature, are included in Concurrent Life Sentences. They were composed by Ruth Colombo and they are certain to surprise the reader with their wit and willingness to talk about lives, loves, and loathings.

The collection is a revision of the QuasiBook Edition that appeared in 1999. The poet’s aim is expressed in a line in “Ode to the Person” … “to become well and truly my own person!” The headings of the book’s sections give a good idea of the psychological territory covered by the poet: Epigraphs, Preface, Acknowledgements, Life Sentence, Preliminaries, Parental Family, Mother, Ruth’s Family, Reflections on the Family, Love, Holocaust, Religion, Truth and Lies, Language and Education, Meditations. Toronto: Colombo & Company. ISBN 10-1-894540-56-5. Trade paperback. viii + 286 pages. $30.00. Four-colour cover with an intriguing design by Bill Andersen.
Ruth Colombo’s recent book, Sophia Writ Large / Sophia Writ Small,is a long series of collected poems inspired by the Greek spirit of Wisdom. There is nothing quite like it in the annals of Canadian literature.

All About Sophia

Sophia Writ Large / Sophia Writ Small is the title of a new collection of poems composed by Ruth Colombo. It is a long book for it consists of seven-two poems that explore Wisdom ancient, modern, and in-between.

In its pages, Sophia meets Pallas Athene and suffers Lilith’s screed against wisdom. She celebrates Hagia Sophia and Tamar’s victory over Judah. She scolds Carl Jung for lack of wisdom in his Answer to Job. She extolls Hypatia, the first female astronomer, and mourns Jephtha’s daughter who, like Iphigenia, was sacrificed by her father. Sophia bears witness to the indifferences of the stars, to man’s struggle to make a difference, and to woman’s struggle to make up the difference.

Sophia Writ Large / Sophia Writ Small has been published in a trade paperback edition by Colombo & Company. ISBN 10-1-894540-54-9. 350 pages. $35.00

Other Matters

She has also written a series of QuasiBook Editions published by Colombo & Company. A former professor in the General Arts and Science Programme of Centennial College in Toronto, she is the director of C&C which she founded with her husband John Robert Colombo.

Ruth is the author of the poetic trilogy Sisters Agonistes which consists of the following titles:

* Sisters of Elysium (a feminist reading of The Iliad),

* Sisters of Earth (a redemptive parable of forgiveness), and

 * Sisters of Olympus (an exploration of the relationships among sisters who are also goddesses).

The author has long been concerned with the psychology of sisters, both mortal and immortal, and with the mythos and logos of sisterhood. She believes (in the words of Madame H.P. Blavatsky) that “every mythos has its logos.”


This photograph shows the author standing beneath the prehistoric trilithion of the Hagar Qim temple complex on the island of Malta, a structure that has been dated back to 3,500 B.C. The photograph was taken on 20 May 2008.

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