by Chris Ransick
Paperback, 85 pp.
Joe The Ghost is one of two works by Denver's beloved poet, writer and staunch literary advocate, Chris Ransick. This title, along with Joe the Ghost were completed prior to his sudden passing and were posthumously published by Middle Creek Publishing at the request of Denver's independent writing and literary center Lighthouse Writers Workshop that Chris devoted much of his time and energy into. Lighthouse Writers Workshop supports the literary community through fellowships, writerships, writing studios, regular readings, youth outreach, the Book Project, The Writer's Studio visiting author series, Lit Fest, and a wealth of other resources and events on craft and the writer's life.
Praise for Temporary House
Chris Ransick writes eloquently of the domestic and quotidian in Temporary House: fresh bread baking in the oven, a dog’s love and loyalty, coaxing gardens through every season. “Keep talking to winter as if / you had a tongue cold enough,” he advises. In this posthumous collection, readers will find the poet’s characteristic sagacity, as well as sardonic humor: Falstaff shuffling through Denver haunts; an epistolary to the high school reunion committee. Ransick’s poetry continues to cast a rare light in the world. When he tells us, “The next garden will be / as beautiful, you just / wait and see,” we believe him—because we’ve learned to trust his singular voice, in all things poetic and beyond.
— Joy Roulier Sawyer, author of Lifeguards and Tongues of Men and Angels
Temporary House is a powerful book. It captures Chris Ransick’s muse in full cry, expressing where lifelong devotion to his art had brought him before the catastrophe of cancer struck. In much of this work Chris is a master symbolist. A mysterious and meaningful spiritual world shimmers behind or within our daily lives. As he addresses himself in the title poem, he is “a bold dreamer / on a slow progress of myth after myth.” It is a world haunted by the possibility of hauntings, and where almost no discursive statements simplify or dispel that mystery, but rather “words // keep rising in him like perfume.” Other poems, some of the strongest in the book and in Chris’ entire oeuvre, are more dramatic, including the sorrowful “Watching the Eviction” and the slyly erotic and witty “Tax Shelter.” Finally, as someone who knew and loved Chris, I am grateful to read—again and again—a poem like “A Morning Without Regret,” where, within the tight structure of a villanelle, he says there is “nothing to do I haven’t done yet, / nothing I want that I haven’t got. // …What I owe my friends is my only debt.” I am grateful to know my beautifully haunted friend could imagine such happiness. That debt is paid.
— David J. Rothman, author of My Brother’s Keeper, Colorado Book Award Finalist; former Poet Laureate of Colorado’s Western Slope; former Resident Poet of Colorado Public Radio
Chris Ransick was my good friend. I knew him in Colorado and on the Oregon coast, where we had both moved for personal reasons. I have never seen a poet grow by such leaps as Chris accomplished in the last two years of his short life, and these final books, Temporary House and Joe the Ghost, catch him at his best, darkly funny, humane, eager for life. He once told my students that poetry was the antidote to the mediocrity and dreck of ordinary life. His conversation was like that, like music, reaching into joy. I miss him terribly.
— David Mason, former Colorado Poet Laureate, author of Ludlow: A Verse Novel
Temporary House by Chris Ransick is filled with precise and surprising language play. Playful titles such as “I Want to Disc with the Dalai Lama” are present along with serious poems such as “Watching the Eviction.” There is a sympathy for the homeless, the abused, and a love and celebration of the natural world. These poems are highly imagistic and lyrical. Ransick masters the nuances of form and sound. These poems are packed with meaning and wisdom. For instance, he writes, “It’s easy to get permanence confused/ with mortality, and either with truth.” This is a gorgeous collection.
— Sheryl Luna, author of Magnificent Errors, Seven, and Pity the Drowned Horses
Empathy and wisdom are hallmarks of Chris Ransick’s poetry and nowhere is this more powerfully display than is his collection, Temporary House. From the rising scent of a newly seeded garden bed, or the soaring commentary of a raven in sky, to the broken wheel of a bicycle that has left behind by the abrupt flight of troubled neighbors, Chris examines a life, and finds every life—waiting for an acceptance, a landing, a home. I’ll will read and re-read this book for years to come.
—J Diego Frey, author of Umbrellas or Else and The Year the Eggs Cracked
About The Author
Chris Ransick, Denver Poet Laureate from 2006-2010, was an award winning author of six books of poetry and fiction. He was born and raised in upstate New York and lived in Colorado, Montana, Wyoming, California, and Oregon. He worked as a journalist, editor, professor, and speaker and served on his city's public library board, his state's humanities board of directors, and on the PEN Freedom to Write Committee. His first book, Never Summer, won a 2003 Colorado Book Award for Poetry. His book of short stories, A Return to Emptiness, was a 2005 Colorado Book Award for fiction finalist. His stories and poems have been presented on television, radio, and stage, including collaborations with Ballet Nouveau Colorado. He was a faculty member from 2005-2019 at Lighthouse Writers Workshop, Denver's independent creative writing school. Lighthouse awarded him the 2013 Beacon Award for Teaching Excellence. Chris held his final reading at Lighthouse Writers Workshop on September 25, 2019. His two works, Joe The Ghost and Temporary House were published posthumously by Middle Creek Publishing in 2022.