Poet as Myth-Twister


About Mercy Island

“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


“… And sexy. These poems are sexy. And if I say dangerous, too, you’ll get the wrong idea. It’s not the danger and sex we’re used to from action heroes or rock stars. It’s something like the edge of the world…Ren’s poems are… showing me things I may not know how to talk about.”

Carolee D. Sherwood, poet and blogger


“The narrator in this fine collection is explorer and cartographer of a multitude of emotional, spiritual and international landscapes. Whether ruthlessly illuminating even the darkest corners in the rooms of herself, or putting on the lives of other women like so many beautiful garments, with tenderness and respect, Ren Powell’s narrator holds our attention and enriches our thinking.”

Nic Sebastian, poet and blogger, reviewed Mercy Island for Goodreads.


Phoenicia Publishing
Preview.


about An Intimate Retribution

: “…as the title suggests, there is an expansion of the interpretation of ‘intimate’ .While the poet’s concern for animals and nature is evident, the book also focuses concretely on persecuted writers and rebellions against authority […] However, Ren Powell is no way a political slogan poet. These poems introduce us to the wondrous within our own lives. There is a varied use of language and the wide range of themes and poetic forms— but we are always brought back to the vulnerable and exposed aspects of human beings and nature. […] 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.”

 Helge Torvund in Stavanger Aftenblad, 2010


about Mixed States

“This handsome hardcover book, facing poems (English on the one side, Norwegian on the other), makes crossing from one language to another a fascinating exercise.

With uncompromisingly 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.”

Reviewed by Laura Kennelly
Small Press Review. July-August, 2005