Skip to content Skip to footer
Ruth Awad
Featured Poet
Columbus Coffee Festival
 
“I’m inspired by so much it’s hard to document it all. I write about family, heritage, memory, and otherness – my first book is based on my father’s experiences while growing up in Tripoli, Lebanon during the civil war. Right now my work is largely focused on grief and diaspora.”
 
Photo by Julie Rae Powers.
 
Q: Can you give me some information about your background and how long you’ve lived in Columbus?
 
A: My family and I moved around a lot when I was growing up – I was born in Virginia, then we moved to Wisconsin, Tennessee, Indiana, and finally Ohio. Maybe it’s because I spent so many formative and painful years in Bluffton, Indiana, where my parents battled over custody throughout my childhood, but I remember first driving through Ohio and seeing some slight elevation and I felt floored by its beauty and possibility. I’ve been in Columbus for about 11 non-consecutive years (I moved to Illinois for grad school and came back), because it’s the home I chose, the one that fostered my writing and poetry, the place that let me step fully into myself.   
 
Q: What inspired you to begin writing poetry? What inspires you now?
 
A: On my 12th birthday, my mother gifted me a copy of Sylvia Plath’s Ariel (in hindsight, maybe not the most age appropriate collection!), but reading that book made me realize that’s all I wanted to do with my life: write poems that bridge the gap between an interior and exterior experience. And I’ve been nurtured by my parents, teachers, poets, and my community in that pursuit ever since.
 
I’m inspired by so much it’s hard to document it all. I write about family, heritage, memory, and otherness – my first book is based on my father’s experiences while growing up in Tripoli, Lebanon during the civil war. Right now my work is largely focused on grief and diaspora. I’m a research-based writer, so I like to write about the things I’m learning.
 
Q: Do you have any workshops or events coming up?
 
A: I’m giving a reading for Spoken & Heard hosted by Kari Gunter-Seymour on October 21 at 7 pm alongside Marcus Jackson and Tiffany Williams.
 
Q: Are you a coffee drinker? Do you have a favorite coffee or coffee shop?
 
A: I stopped drinking coffee about 3 years ago. I know that makes me deeply uncool, but I don’t like being dependent on anything, including caffeine. (Did I mention I’m a Capricorn?) My favorite coffee shops in Columbus are Upper Cup, Community Grounds, Global Gallery, and Kafe Kerouac.