No Border is Perennial by Ruth D. Handel


Handel’s fine eye shows us honeysuckle and moonflower, black ants, rental cars, Wonder Woman, and Judge Judy—a wild and surprising garden, indeed. Suzanne Cleary


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 116
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: September, 2015
  • ISBN: 978-1-939929-33-4


The title poem of Ruth D. Handel’s No Border Is Perennial describes a tangle of wildflowers as “[n]o site for sentiment. Just the pulse/of sun-seeking blooms, thorns./Always a surprise//for the seeing eye.” These lines also describe this book, which pulses with intelligence and humor. Handel’s fine eye shows us honeysuckle and moonflower, black ants, rental cars, Wonder Woman, and Judge Judy—a wild and surprising garden, indeed. Ruth Handel is one of a kind. —Suzanne Cleary

This is a collection of extraordinary range and depth, with acute sensitivity and insight throughout. Ruth Handel’s gardens are “no site for sentiment,” but they are sites of visitations—uncanny and unsettling arrivals of nocturnal creatures, ghosts of memory, and the figures (and figurations) of the visual arts. Delineated with the precision of botanical drawing and recounted with equanimity and humor, these poems respond to cycles of grief and growth, to the recurrence of beauty in a troubled world that leaves us “puzzled by the late collapse / of amity.” In these tapestried poems, description becomes both method and process, not a means to adornment or embellishment but to comprehension and solace: “against confusion / a momentary stay.” —B. K. Fischer

In No Border Is Perennial, Ruth Handel gives us Borders, against confusion/a momentary stay. Handel offers us love, loss, change, and hope, through close observation of nature and the arts, always questioning, What to see, what not,/how to see it all together. She composes In that language…/…that lasts in this looking glass life. Rejoice: This work of art incites re-making,//…Stoop, quick/ finger each color, widen your arms, be willing to. —Meredith Trede



I could be going anywhere.
To the post office,
the diner,
the farm stand for produce,
the supermarket for detergent,
to Starbucks to sit outside and drink coffee
in the sun.

I might be wandering
the aisles of some boutique
where everything is too expensive
or the styles too outrageous
and I know I’ll end up ordering
shirts and jeans
from Lands End or Bean’s anyway
so why
am I wasting time?

That’s the beauty of the Errands message.
It’s evasive.
Lets me waste time.
While going somewhere.


Ruth D. HandelRuth D. Handel  is a poet, writer and teacher. She is the author of Tugboat Warrior (Dos Madres Press, 2013)  and Reading The White Spaces (Finishing Line Press, 2009). Her poems have appeared in journals and anthologies  including Common Ground Review, Westchester Review, en(compass), The Jewish Women’s Literary Annual, Let The Poets Speak, Controlled Burn, Clockwise Cat,  Contemporary Hiabun Online, Evening Street Review, and the award-winning A Slant of Light: Women Poets of the Hudson Valley (Codhill Press, 2013).   Ruth teaches poetry courses and workshops in poetry writing, gives poetry performances, and manages the Poetry Caravan, a volunteer organization of 30 poets who bring poetry to the community.

In her professional career, Ruth developed the field of family literacy; her academic publications include Building Family  Literacy in an Urban Community (Teachers College Press, 1999).   She is professor emerita, Montclair State University, where she taught literature and literacy and integrated poetry into the teacher education curriculum.

Additional information

Weight 10 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .75 in