Ren Powell is a poet, playwright and teaching artist. A restless Californian, she’s now somewhat settled on the west coast of Norway. She has published six full-length poetry collections,  more than a dozen books of translations, and her plays have been performed in Canada, Norway, and the United States. Ren’s own texts have been translated into eight languages.

Ren currently teaches at Vågen Upper Secondary School for the Visual and Performing Arts. She has a Ph.D. in Creative Writing from Lancaster University (England), and a BA in Theater Arts from Texas A&M University (USA). 

A member of The Norwegian Author’s Union, The Norwegian Guild for Drama & Theatre Instructors, and the American Dramatists’ Guild, Ren also served as the International PEN Women Writers’ Committee representative for Human Rights from 2006 to 2008.

Ren is an associate editor and feature writer for Poemeleon, and a Poetry Reader for the peer-reviewed journal Orange Blossom Review.


From the afterword for The Elephants Have Been Singing All Along, written by the poet and translator Eirik Lodén (Trans. AI):

Ren Powell’s poetry often explores the back-and-forth movements of our emotions. This can encompass anything from the everyday, subtle shifts in mood that most people experience, to the more intense swings seen in bipolar disorder, where feelings of extreme excitement can quickly give way to deep sadness, and vice versa.

Powell delves into this topic extensively, depicting both the “mixed” and “elastic” aspects of our mental states, even likening it to the mind’s personal “intimate revenge” – a sort of self-inflicted retribution.

While this theme isn’t new in Powell’s poetry, what sets this work [The Elephants Have Been Singing All Along] apart is the way it’s presented. There’s a sense of lightness amid the heaviness of emotions, a focused perspective within the vast expanse of thoughts, and a natural quality to the sudden leaps between feelings.

Powell’s skillful approach adds a unique dimension, making this exploration something more and slightly different compared to her previous works. In essence, it’s an invitation to contemplate the intricacies of our own minds and reconsider how we perceive the complexities of our emotional journey.

The et cetera