A Family Affair by Ruth Naylor



With these poems Naylor illuminates the complicated terrain of family life. Her courageous telling invites us to bend with her as she kneels down “to check what life had done” and to see how a “spine straight as Biblical law” can soften in response to need and love. This collection holds our common ache for the other.
–Jean Janzen, author of Paper House and Entering the Wild


Ruth Naylor’s alert and graceful poems testify to her long immersion in the difficult beauty of human love. “I do not understand / How love can dwell so close to hurt,” she writes in a typically honest and unsentimental moment. Yet her tracing of this and other mysteries of family relations reminds us that through all the pains and betrayals of life, love does indeed persist. A Family Affair is a gift to us all.
–Jeff Gundy, author of Spoken among the Trees


This collection reads like a memoir compressed into the most essential moments of a life and told through the clear eyes of a grandmother. Ruth Naylor‘s reminiscences do not drift into nostalgia or sentimentality but follow the plain speech of her Quaker background, the compassion of her call to be a Mennonite pastor, and the discernment of her work as a spiritual director.
–Julia Spicher Kasdorf, Poetry in America


In these poems Ruth Naylor holds her own experience in the light. She does not avoid the pain of loss and separation in her life, and she ponders “how love can dwell so close to hurt….” In reading her poems about family, we can see our own family experience in a new light.
–Richard A. Kauffman, book review editor, Christian Century

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]




A Family Affair

by Ruth Naylor

$14, paper

Ruth Bundy Naylor is a graduate of Olney Friends Boarding School, Barnesville, OH, and has a B.A. from Bluffton University and the M.A. degree from Bowling Green State University. She studied at Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, completed a two-year training program with Shalem Institute for Spiritual Guidance, and continues to find inspiration from writers’ colloquiums and spirituality workshops at Earlham School of Religion in Richmond, IN.

Ruth changed careers in mid-life from being an English teacher to being an ordained pastor in Mennonite Church USA. In 1974 she was named an Outstanding Secondary Educator. She later served as president of the Central District Conference of Mennonites and as an Executive Board member of Mennonite Church USA. Prior to retirement she served as Interim Conference Minister for the Central District Conference.

She has occasionally taught writing courses for Bluffton University’s Institute for Learning in Retirement and still pursues her personal interest in creative writing. Over the years, her poetry has appeared in a wide variety of publications. She also serves ecumenically as spiritual director to a number of pastors.

Ruth and her husband, Stan, are the parents of two and grandparents of seven.


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