Forman, Ruth 1970–

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Forman, Ruth 1970–


Born 1970. Education: University of California—Berkeley, B.A.


Home and office—Los Angeles, CA.


Poet, filmmaker, and teacher. Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation, teacher. Presenter at workshops and poetry performances, including for Public Broadcasting System television series The United States of Poetry, National Black Arts Festival, and National Public Radio. Judge for poetry competitions, including PEN USA West awards, 2001. Actor on stage for For an End to the Judgment of God/Kissing God Goodbye.



Awards, Honors

Barnard New Women Poets Prize, 1993, and Popular Paperback citation, American Library Association, 2001, both for We Are the Young Musicians; Josephine Miles Award for Poetry, PEN Oakland, 1999, for Renaissance; Durfee artist fellowship, 2001.


We Are the Young Magicians, Beacon (Boston, MA), 1993.

Renaissance, Beacon (Boston, MA), 1997.

Young Cornrows Callin out the Moon, illustrated by Cbabi Bayoc, Children's Book Press (San Francisco, CA), 2007.


When poet and filmmaker Ruth Forman was growing up, she spent many summers on the brownstone steps of her aunts' and uncles' homes in Philadelphia. Forman drew on these memories in her poetry picture book Young Cornrows Callin out the Moon. In addition to her writing, Forman participates as a teacher in poetry workshops and as a performer both on stage and on the radio, sharing her poetry orally.

Young Cornrows Callin out the Moon draws readers into a summer day in South Philadelphia where children's days are rich with the promise of lemonade and the sound of the ice-cream truck, and time is spent dancing in the streets. Forman's young characters play double Dutch and freeze tag, and mothers bake corn bread. The author's rhyming text "is sweet and evocative of a blissful childhood filled with tastes and sights and sounds that seem idyllic," noted Mary Hazelton in School Library Journal. In Booklist, Hazel Rochman wrote that "every page of this book shows the fun they have in the lively urban community."

In addition to her picture book, Forman is the author of poetry collections that include We Are the Young Magicians, which won the Barnard New Women Poets Prize. "What a reader of poetry looks for in a poet is the clear eye, the telling word, the communicating heart. Each is found in effortless abundance in the four generous sections that comprise this book," wrote Gloria Oden in a review of Forman's debut for MELUS. Donna Seaman, reviewing the work for Booklist described We Are the Young Magicians as "dazzling, [with] each poem a veritable fireworks display." According to Seaman, Forman's collection titled Renaissance includes poems that read "like carefully banked embers." Ann K. van Buren, reviewing Renaissance for Library Journal, noted that, here, the collected verses "celebrate language and cultural roots," and a Publishers Weekly critic observed that Forman "demonstrates a strong rhythmic sense in her musical repetitions and in her keen use of black vernacular."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Booklist, March 15, 1993, Donna Seaman, review of We Are the Young Magicians, p. 1292; February 15, 1998, Donna Seaman, review of Renaissance, p. 970; February 1, 2007, Hazel Rochman, review of Young Cornrows Callin out the Moon, p. 60.

Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, June, 2007, Deborah Stevenson, review of Young Cornrows Callin out the Moon, p. 414.

Library Journal, January, 1998, Ann K. van Buren, review of Renaissance, p. 104.

MELUS, fall, 1993, Gloria Oden, review of We Are the Young Magicians, p. 111.

Publishers Weekly, March 22, 1993, review of We Are the Young Magicians, p. 75; January 26, 1998, review of Renaissance, p. 88.

School Library Journal, March, 2007, Mary Hazelton, review of Young Cornrows Callin out the Moon, p. 195.

Women's Review of Books, October, 1993, Adrian Oktenberg, review of We Are the Young Magicians, p. 23.


Montalvo Arts Center Web site, (December 21, 2007), profile of Forman.

Poetry for the People Web site, (December 21, 2007), profile of Forman.

World of Poetry Web site, (December 21, 2007), profile of Forman.