Publication Date:  June 10, 2016
Paperback, 48 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-25-0
Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution
Jeremy Dae Paden
was born in Milan, Italy
and raised in Central
America and the
Caribbean. He received
his PhD in Latin
American literature at
Emory University and is
Professor of Spanish at
Transylvania University
and also on faculty in
Spalding’s low-
residency MFA, where
he teaches literary
For sixty-nine days in 2010, thirty-three men were trapped far underground in a
copper mine in Chile. The story of their survival and rescue is by now well-known;
but never has it been rendered in such a compelling manner as the telling in these
poems, which take us into the darkness with the miners. In Paden's recreation of the
the intimate humanity of this modern-day resurrection is rendered with
exquisite feeling for the miners below and their loved ones above.  Many of the
individual miners appear here in poems inspired by their specific stories.

But as suggested by the title—a term coined by Pliny to describe Roman hydraulic
gold mining and its effect on the land—this is also a meditation on our relationship to
our planet.  

    How dangerous
    we have made this earth.

The requirements of modern civilization make demands on our fragile environment
that place us in individual and collective peril, and we must take to heart the lessons
of  "Los 33" even as they fade into the background of memory,

    Hollywood in post-production
    the world back about its business....

Still, there is another resurrection miracle accounted here, in the poem "desierto
florido" that tells of the Atacama Desert in Chile, the driest in the world, which
nevertheless bursts into brilliant bloom in those rare years when the rains come.  

Hope—and life—endure, the poet assures us.

Praise for Jeremy Paden's ruina montium:

ruina montium is a collection that does the most important thing poems can do:
honor. Based on the 2010 Copiapó mining accident, these lyrically precise and
beautifully attentive poems give voice to the miners who were trapped that day and
practice the ancient and good magic of survival. Both tender and clear-eyed, these
poems are strong enough to lift each one of us from the darkness.

                                                                  —Ada Limón

“Los 33,” the miners trapped in the 2010 Copiapó mine disaster in Chile, must have
resorted to biblical allegory in an effort to comprehend their physical predicament.  
Eventually, the sixty-nine days underground simply became metaphysical—Jonah,
Daniel, Lazarus, Christ—these analogies are just.  The language of deliverance and
the aspect of resurrection rightly rise in these richly contemplative poems.  Eerily,
these poems collectively anticipate being “born again,” but not yet.  The poems in
this collection make the waiting in the dark, the absolute uncertainty, and the

spiritual anguish wrenching.  And yet, beauty is not absent from this realm.  The day
thirty-three men walked out of the earth alive, as Paden’s sure hand implies, was a
day of miracles.

                                                                      —Maurice Manning

Every life cut short deserves a memorial. These monuments, these heavy and
sharp-edged poems that transport the reader to cavernous depths with the intention
of excavating our capacity to remember, succeed. The poet submerges us deeper
than the seven-hundred meter search for copper with these Chileans and skillfully
deposits us back on the surface, all the richer, our hearts full of precious metals.

                    —Frank X Walker
Cover art by Arwen Donhue; book design by Jonathan Greene
translation. He is the author of two other chapbooks: Broken Tulips (Accents Press,
2013) and
Delicate Matters (Winged City Press, 2016). The latter collection is
comprised of translations. His poems and translations have appeared in such journals
Adirondack Review, Asymptote Journal, Beloit Poetry Journal, California
, Cortland Review, Drunken Boat, Hampden-Sydney Review, Louisville
, Rattle, and Words without Borders, to name a few. He is a member of the
Affrilachian Poets and resides in Lexington, Kentucky.
Publication Date:  June 1, 2018
Paperback Chapbook, 40 pages
ISBN:  978-1-937968-47-2
Booksellers:  Available from
Small Press Distribution
Jeremy Paden’s latest chapbook once again imagines the lives of people trapped in
darkness—in this case the man-made darkness of political imprisonment in Chile and
Argentina.  Paden provides an unflinching and harrowing account of survival in the
face of the most extreme brutality
(carried out by regimes, let us not forget, abetted
by the US and other Western powers), of the means by which prisoners sustain not
only the body, but the spirit. Accounts of making “sock cheese”, of bread pudding
flavored by strawberry toothpaste, or the necessity of
extracting every virtue from a
single lemon, emerge as
recipes for resistance.

In one poem Paden asks, “can a songbird sing in a vacuum”? This little volume is the
answer: Yes, they sing—but they can only be heard if those of us on the outside will
echo their songs as loudly and long as we can. And we must.

Praise for Jeremy Paden's prison recipes:

Jeremy Paden’s poems are a help to me as I work to understand what it means to be
fully human. While each poem in
prison recipes underscores there’s nothing one
human won’t do to another, each poem also argues, through glorious language, that
we do have the capacity to treat each other compassionately.

                                                     —Kathleen Driskell, author of Blue Etiquette

A beautiful collection of poems that speaks for the disappeared, the murdered, and
the tortured men and women whose lives were shattered by Latin America’s
Southern Cone dictatorships. An artisan of words and captivating imagery, Jeremy
Paden reconstructs not only the pain, the agony, and the voices that were forever
silenced but also a language of hope against “the powers of this world,” and songs
and melodies that defy violence and historical amnesia.

                             —Oswaldo Estrada, Professor of Latin American Literature,
                                 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jeremy Paden’s
prison recipes provides deft commentary on Argentina’s “Dirty
War,” demonstra
ting how even while incarcerated under the auspices of state
terrorism, people, not unlike water, find a way. In Paden’s collection, survival isn’t
just a matter of staying nourished physically. Sometimes survival is about remaining
sane in the midst of insanity. It’s about finding comfort and remembering one’s own
story over breaking bread with others, or in some cases, making bread pudding when
even a simple mate can’t be had. Paden is at his best with this collection, serving as

a kind of Ganymede to the stories of intellects and artists imprisoned during this war.
These poems are urgent and unflinching as they interrogate humanity in the face of
horror. The answer, as Paden surmises, has much to do with even a single voice
lifting to declare, I sing/not just to sing/not just because my voice is good/I sing/I sing

                                                             —Bianca Lynne Spriggs, Affrilachian Poet
“Some words / are better left as acts...” (
prison recipes), but you will be glad the
words in these poems were left as words.  That lead to action. If you are a lover of
green words and austral shores, if you would like to learn how to make sock cheese
and multiply breadcrumbs, you have found your book.

                                                     —Edward Stanton, author of Wide as the Wind