Helge Torvund, Norwegian poet, reviews An Intimate Retribution in Stavanger Aftenblad
Blurbs and reviews
“[…] Perhaps what is most impressive is Ren Powell’s certain hand as she ventures far beyond the familiar when it comes to associations and images, to create remarkable, beautiful lines of verse, the likes of which are seldom seen.”
Ren Powell’s Impermanence acts as a reminder, both visual and visceral—in its physiological meaning (the heart, the gut)—that we live in and through the stories we tell. The cursive in her illustrations operates as one of the several connectors that loop through her poems until these pictures and words combine to create, as she puts it, origami boxes: “your stories/folding in on themselves.”Ann E. Michael, author of The Red Queen Hypothesis and other books
“With uncompromising direct language and powerful imagery, her work comes from a vision similar to that of Flannery O’Connor or Cormac McCarthy: powerful images of a truth that slips aside just as one turns to view it straight on.”Laura Kennelly reviews mixed states for Small Press Review
“Throughout this journey, the poet’s fears–which are the fears we all harbor – are balanced by her unflinching witness to what is real, just, true, and beautiful. Even in the face of pain and disintegration, the poet refuses to relinquish her humor and her humanity.
Ren Powell takes the world in whole, ‘negotiates a new language,’ and gives it back to us in all its terror, strangeness, pain and beauty. Many of these poems read like fable: a woman with a gown of eggshells, a stone turtle that captures the essence of a childhood. Other poems testify to the resilience of the human spirit even after the unspeakable happens. I loved these poems for the freshness of the language, for their deep truths and most of all for their compassion.”Patricia Fargnoli, author of six collections of poetry, winner of the ForeWord Magazine Silver Poetry Book of the Year Award, and Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, 2006-2009, reviews Mercy Island
“There is an intoxicating blend of lyricism and narrative in Ren Powell’s poems. With honesty and exhilarating invention, she writes of diverse subjects—a Palestinian poet, the flowering shroud of a spinster, a murdered 17-year old Mexican girl. What unifies these poems is intense energy and fierce craftsmanship.
At the heart of this collection is ‘Red-eared Slider’. Both accessible and elusive, sophisticated and scandalous, this poem returns to the speaker’s childhood to contemplate the violent death of her brother.
Reading Ren Powell’s poetry is like watching the changing light on the North Sea: the surface effects are stunning, the depths always in motion.”Theodore Deppe is the author of four books, most recently Orpheus on the Red Line, and coordinator of the Stonecoast in Ireland MFA program. Here is reviews Mercy Island.
“[Regarding An Elastic State of Mind] With this, her fifth poetic volume, Powell has reached new maturity and new depth and has produced an innovative and sensitive tribute to an extraordinary woman.”Alice-Catherine Carls, the University of Tennessee at Martin
September 2013 issue of World Literature Today