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 playtexts have been performed in Canada, Norway, and the United States. Ren’s own work has 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 DNF, The Norwegian Author’s Union, Ren served as the International PEN Women Writers’ Committee representative for Human Rights from 2006 to 2008.

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

Powell has set a difficult goal: to translate the processes that happen with us and within us: the wordless, bodily sentences we know well–in one way. In another way, they are unconscious experiences, and if conscious, certainly not put into words. Powell writes about what provides our small cells with energy, and about the sections of chromosomes that are important in the cessation of cell division, while she also succeeds in viewing the body as an entire landscape.

[…] She writes beautifully, sensually, and intellectually on this subject, and she exploits many references and allusions, as when she turns the Zen koan. In this way, the poetry is often also meta poetry. […] And as Lodèn points out in his masterfully written afterward, these poems are both sophisticated and spontaneous, both demanding and obvious. […] Powell comes closer to the poetry’s roots and source here, and her writing is intense.  […] This is a rich, beautiful, and challenging work, that succeeds in its impossible goal, and that encompasses both human cells and cathedrals.

On The Elephants Have Been Singing All Along
Helge Torvund. Stavanger Aftenblad. May, 2017.