Things We Love: Picks from Ruth Awad

Ruth Awad
Ruth Awad

Ruth Awad is the Lebanese-American author of Set to Music a Wildfire (Southern Indiana Review Press, 2017), which won the 2016 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and the 2018 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry. She received the 2016 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award and won the 2013 and 2012 Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize, as well as the 2011 Copper Nickel Poetry Contest. Her work appears in Poetry, Poem-a-Day, The Believer, The New Republic and elsewhere, and on Thursday, Nov. 21, she’ll read at Wild Goose Creative, located at 2491 Summit St. in north campus, as part of the Queer Community Mic.

Here are a few things Awad loves right now:

Archery at Scioto Grove Metro Park

Scioto Grove Metro Park has a 3D archery range, and let me tell you, it’s helping me achieve my goal of getting in Katniss-like shape for the apocalypse. I love everything about archery: the draw of the bow, how much control I have over the arrow and where it ends up, how it’s all about precision and form. I’m a vegan, so there’s some cognitive dissonance required to fully enjoy shooting at foam representations of animals, but I make it work. The range is along a trail in the park, and if you want to flex on all your friends and enemies (highly recommended), you can try to hit the elk target across the pond. It’s all very scenic and lovely with the trees and the quiet and that one hawk circling low.

Chelsea Wolfe

I’ve been listening to Chelsea Wolfe’s latest album American Darkness on repeat almost every day since it came out because it’s the perfect soundtrack for this gloomy, cold weather. You might also love her if you think voices are best when they sound like they are rising from the bottom of a well in a dream.

Soft Lightning Studio

My dear friend Julie Rae Powers recently founded Soft Lightning Studio, an independent photo publisher dedicated to publishing marginalized photographers. They are currently launching their first magazine and actively soliciting entries, so if you’re a POC, queer, trans or non-binary photographer or photographer with disabilities, check it out.

Pet People

I have a lot of dogs — take a moment to imagine what “a lot of dogs” means to you then probably add one more — so I’m always in this little shop on North High called Pet People picking up supplies for the pack. One time I arrived in a panic, full-on spiraling, and asked this poor woman, “What do you feed a dying dog?” and she did not miss a beat. She recommended kangaroo canned food, and my sweet old pup did have a few bites after snubbing everything else. I’m grateful for people who can keep it together even when I can’t.

Two Dollar Radio Headquarters

If you are at all involved in the Columbus poetry scene, you know what a treasure this place is. I’ve seen my friends and heroes offer world-giving performances here. I’ve also sampled most of its menu (I recommend the Barbecue Chick'n Wrap). I admire how Two Dollar is using its literal space to make room for Columbus writers, both emerging and established. I’m especially excited about Mic Check, a monthly open mic for Columbus high school students that Two Dollar Radio hosts. We have so much talent in this city.