Riding the Wave Train by Rhonda Pettit


Rhonda Pettit’s Riding The Wave Train parallels (like waves following one another) the development of complex life on the early planet, leading at last to us. And so in the concluding poem, a meditation on one of the most strangely beautiful marine fossils of the famous Burgess Shales, the speaker asks, “Do I find in you a lost piece of myself?” The answer these poems support is “Yes.” Marvelous sequences throughout plumb the connections between fossils, coming of age, and facing the death of loved ones, all taking place against the vast, undulant pageant of time. —Richard Hague


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 120
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: August 2017
  • ISBN: 978-1-939929-80-8


“What if we were rain/with memory,” Rhonda Pettit asks us in Riding the Wave Train, her first full-length collection. Pettit’s waters reach into the crevices of time and place; of family relationships and inevitable losses; of the horrors of war, slavery and other forms of exploitation; of a poet’s delight in beauty both created and found. These poems are complex, intelligent and teeming with life. —Pauletta Hansel

I was the grand-daddy long-legs thrown
hard against the garage door today,
and I was the hand that threw it.
Thus concludes one of the most stunning poems in Rhonda Pettit’s new collection Riding the Wave Train. These lines are a harbinger of Pettit’s continuing theme—a metaphorical blurring of the line between self and other, the universal and the particular, the archetypal and the quotidian. As exquisitely structured as it is lyrically compelling, this book is a must have for lovers of fresh, original, insightful poetry. —Cathy Smith Bowers


A Tyranny of Things
-after “Nantucket” by William Carlos Williams

I rubbed the bulbs in mulch and bone meal
till my split cuticles stung
and black hope left its stain
beneath my nails.

See what the dark has rendered:
daffodils, irises nodding their shades
between curtains bleached white,
gleaming with envy

in the afternoon sun. A day is like
glass: hard yet fragile, sharp when broken,
transparent, reflective, useful.
After cleaning

a house full of things, I watch the dust
sift down through shafts of light.
Pitcher, tumbler mean nothing unless
I am thirsty.

Pour me a drink. We will sit
on crisp linen. I will tell you stories
of men who loved things and women
who kept them.


Rhonda PettitRhonda Pettit is a member of the Southern Appalachian Writers Cooperative, and the author of Fetal Waters (a poetry chapbook published by Finishing Line Press, 2012), and The Global Lovers (a poetic drama produced at the 2010 Cincinnati Fringe Festival). Two of her poems and an essay have been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She teaches creative writing and literature at the University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College, where she is editor of the Blue Ash Review, hosts and co-produces The Poetry Café for UCTV Online, and conducts a poetry festival annually. Her individual and collaborative collages and poetry (with H. Michael Sanders) were included in three exhibitions and their related print and online publications: Gaps & Overlaps, Dada Lives!, and at the Faculty and Staff Art Exhibition at the UCBA Art Gallery in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Her scholarship on the work of Dorothy Parker produced two books, A Gendered Collision (2000) and The Critical Waltz (2005). She also served as one of the poetry editors for both volumes of The Aunt Lute Anthology of U.S. Women Writers (Hogeland et al., 2004 and 2008).

Additional information

Weight 9 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in