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Sobre l'autor

Tania Runyan, an NEA fellow, is the author of A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which won the Book of the Year from the Conference on Christianity and Literature. Her work has appeared in dozens of journals, including Poetry, Image, The Christian Century, Books Culture, mostra'n més Mid-American Review, and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. She lives with her family in northern Illinois. mostra'n menys

Obres de Tania Runyan


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PopSugar '16 #21--Book recommended by a family member.
When I was younger, I often had those Anne of Green Gables moments of delight while discovering some new book, music, author, idea. It happens much less frequently now. Perhaps life gets in the way? As I'm writing this, my son has interrupted me several times, my words and thoughts flying away each time. Regardless of the whys, there are only two times in recent memory when I felt that bubbly, joyful, thankful feeling. Once, while listening to John Darnielle speak at the 2016 Festival of Faith and Writing. And once while reading this book.

I was lucky enough to attend an evening class in which Tania Runyan lead us through her first chapter. The crowd was fairly diverse in age, education level, and familiarity with poetry. I was pleased with how nearly everyone at some point in the class shared a thought or feeling. That gathering certainly primed me for the reading of this book.

The book is slim, a conversation between Runyan and the reader. She writes in the Introduction, "Think of [the book] less as an instructional book and more as an invitation. For the reader new to poetry, this guide will open your senses to the combined craft and magic known as poems. For the well versed, if you will, this book might make you fall in love again." This is a perfect example of Runyan's wit and generosity.

In each chapter, Runyan takes a stanza or two of Billy Collins's poem as a guide to reading poetry. She talks about the mechanics of a poem (imagery, sound, line), as well as the meaning(s), authorship, and the poems own identity. She simply (and thoughtfully) walks through poems with the reader, and includes an anthology of poems for the reader to approach on her own.

Runyan celebrates the art of the poem, without being didactic. For instance, "There is something about sounds that can not be explained, and although I threw out literary terms like alliteration, consonance, and assonance, most poets write without consciously employing those techniques. Those "techniques" happen because they feel right, because they are right.." And when she says she threw them out there, she means it. She briefly defines those terms when talking about sound in a poem, then moves on with the above sentence.

I wish I had a professor or teacher who had taken this approach to reading poetry!

Before the class I mentioned earlier, I was unfamiliar with both Billy Collins' poem "introduction to poetry" (the poem that gives the book its form) as well as the first chapter's teaching poem "The Moon is a Comma, a Pause in the Sky" by Kelli Russell Agodon. When I picked up the book again a year later, I was excited to read the lines of those poems again, thrilled to hear them aloud.

I read this book alone, but I would love to read it again with a group.
… (més)
VanChocStrawberry | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Apr 2, 2018 |
I read lots of books of this type — pretty much all I can get my hands on. I'm rating it 4 stars, taking into consideration its aims and audience. It's not reallly for the experienced poet — but it's full of good tips, reminders, examples, and prompts and includes a review of Peter Murphy's revision suggestions (Murphy's Revision Style Sheet). It gave me a lot of ideas for new poems of my own and I'll use some of the prompts in teaching and online workshopping.
toniclark | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Dec 22, 2016 |
When asked to describe her poetry, Runyan replies, “…spiritual reflection. For the past few years, I have focused almost all my poetry on scripture, either directly or indirectly” (2010 blog interview no longer online). In A Thousand Vessels Tania Runyan writes about ten Bible women: Eve, Sarah, Dinah, Ruth, Esther, Mary, the woman at the well, Martha, Jairus’ daughter, and Mary Magdalene.

Reflection works well for Runyan as she muses about these spiritual matriarchs. She says of the themes and subjects she covers: “I explore the experiences of marriage, love, and birth, especially with women like Ruth and Mary. Faith and sacrifice with Sarah. Death and rebirth with Jairus’ daughter. The changing power of Christ with the woman at the well” ( interview).

However, that reflection also takes her deeper and broader. For in the 46-poem collection are also pieces about modern Eves, Sarahs, Dinahs etc. In the Eve section, for example, is the poem “My Daughter’s Hands” in which Runyan delights in her toddler’s growing self-awareness, describes her attempts to grab the communion cup, and imagines her reaction to her mother’s “no”: “… yet I know the moment I say no / your world will begin to go wrong. / You will learn that most bright things / are never meant to be touched” (p. 14).

In Dinah’s section we have the poem “Child Sex Offenders” which reminds us how ordinary and unmarked are the predators who live among us. Esther’s section begins with “Beach Walk,” a poem that describes two bikini-clad teens imagining the effect they’re having on the lifeguard. Each Bible woman has her modern counterpart poems, bringing these spiritual mothers into our century as we recognize that we moderns face many of the same issues they did.

Runyan’s poems are easy to understand, interesting, relevant, and honest. Her vulnerability arouses our empathy and through her insights we gain a greater appreciation of not only Bible women but our friends, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, wives, and (if we’re women) ourselves.

… (més)
Violet_Nesdoly | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Jan 4, 2015 |
In A Thousand Vessels, Tania Runyan brings the women of the Bible to life with her poetry. She weaves their stories and struggles into the fabric of the contemporary lives of women today.' Revealing heartache that has echoed throughout the ages, it still resonates in the hearts and souls of women today.

Each section of this beautiful book is titled with the name of a Biblical woman. The poems are written about that woman, some in her own voice. From Eve the first woman, to Mary Magdalene, thought to be the lowliest woman; they are here. In their sorrows and trials, their poems are written with an urgency and importance.

Tania Runyan writes with intelligence and sincere emotion, both essential in poetry. She writes from the heart and soul. Life resounds in every poem, each with trials and tribulations, but also with faith, love and hope.
… (més)
nightprose | Hi ha 1 ressenya més | Feb 26, 2012 |



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