Weight of the Ripened by Gina Ferrara


These poems are poised and self-contained, humming with an internal logic and an external music that soothes and disturbs by turns. They are dense and lush, yet offer the reader uncluttered clarity. Rich with a physicality through which the spirit is revealed, these poems feint from fruits and flowers to family history, including the poet’s own in utero, never far from the music of New Orleans street names or the interior puzzles of language. Shades and scents abound, “a sustainable stain of memory,” in these wary psalms to the healing properties of the physical world, as well as the uses and misuses of love. —Ralph Adamo


  • Kind: Perfectbound
  • Pages: 88
  • Language: English
  • Date Published: March, 2020
  • ISBN: 978-1-948017-77-0


Gina Ferrara’s new book of poems Weight of the Ripened takes up Adam Zagajewski’s exhortation to “try to praise the mutilated world.” In this collection of stunning lyric meditations, Ferrara explores the landscape of Louisiana, from the streets of New Orleans to the batture, the levee and the garden.  In “Immersion” she writes, “You are always on the verge of slipping further, / especially without echelons or stratum in this landscape.” And this is a landscape haunted by a beloved mother and an investigation of women through generations. Weight of the Ripened pays homage to our beautiful, broken world. —Nicole Cooley

In astonishing poetic images that bear the weight of memory, grief, trauma, but also the weightlessness of a magnolia leaf floating in the hand, Gina Ferrara’s latest book indelibly signs her name to the fertile poetic legacy of New Orleans—the immersive meanings of tupelo and cypress canopies, her mother’s lipstick and the blood of the river, the city’s “certainty of sinking” and the “deep lavender irises” of the durable batture.  Written after Katrina and in the midst of personal and environmental loss, Ferrara’s poetic alluvium is the city itself, where she follows the “lure of the secretive fig tree” for buried truths, and morning glories for their “deep affirmation” cast through thick dark drapes. A remarkable collection. —Ruth Salvaggio


A Small Provenance

After the hurricane, it came on a pallet
the warmest measure of good will
from a few seasons past,
missing one abalone
and mother of pearl button,
cast aside by a Parisian
needing another echelon of style
for crossing nine bridges, throwing tulips
petal after petal afloat in the Seine,
a scene within a scene.
This coat still has swing, moving
from noun to verb to noun with each stride
taken along pavements and banquettes
flaring around my knees, the bottom hem
a soundless bell, black
as any woolen night
minus the accoutrement of stars.


Gina FerraraGina Ferrara lives in New Orleans and teaches English and writing at Delgado Community College where she is an associate professor. Her poetry collections include: The Size of Sparrows (Finishing Line Press 2006) Ethereal Avalanche (Trembling Pillow Press 2009) Amber Porch Light (CW Books 2013), Carville: Amid Moss and Resurrection Fern (FLP 2014) and Fitting the Sixth Finger: Poems Inspired by the Paintings of Marc Chagall published by Aldrich Press in 2017. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, The Tar River Review, The Poetry Ireland Review and others. She is an Elizabeth George Foundation grant recipient, and she curates The Poetry Buffet, a monthly reading series held The Latter Branch of the New Orleans Public Library.

Additional information

Weight 6.1 oz
Dimensions 9 × 6 × .25 in