Ren Powell - poet, playwright, translator & teaching artist

The book released here in Norway in December is An Elastic State of Mind, which is an imaginative autobiography in formal and free verse. Three years of intense work with form, two years of historical research, and another two years with the translator: this baby was a long time in coming. The review that came out last week was positive, with the caveat that it was demanding of the reader. 

The book I am editing now, which will be finished in March, is Ewe in the Rain. It's more of a seduction than a demand.

Ren Powell, an extract from her post over on Mad Orphan Lit

Fascinating reading!  Take a peek. 

The photograph ... Boccadasse, Italy.


Dorianne Laux, Antilamentation

Regret none of it, not one
of the wasted days you wanted to know nothing,
when the lights from the carnival rides
were the only stars you believed in, loving them
for their uselessness, not wanting to be saved.
You’ve traveled this far on the back of every mistake,
ridden in dark-eyed and morose but calm as a house
after the TV set has been pitched out the upstairs
window. Harmless as a broken ax. Emptied
of expectation. Relax. Don’t bother remembering any of it.
Let’s stop here, under the lit sign
on the corner, and watch all the people walk by.

Dorianne Laux, an extract from her poem, Antilamentation .

It has been a truly insane week ... involving 5 intense hours with a camera crew filming me, a corporate photo-shoot and life.

Blog post to follow soon.

'It Rained So Hard', Karen Bowles

It rained so hard

I was carrying around

word droplets in my shoes,

shaking them from my hair

and jacket,

watching them

gather in

shallow pools

of speech

all around my feet.

I can dip my toe

and come back

with a sentence

sliding down my


with moisturizing


If I open my mouth

to the sky

and stretch my wings,

hands upraised,

I will gather the

letters into a

little pile

and knit them into

a distinctive hat

you can wear

in the falling


to remind you



I am a sound upon
your lips
and a full-length novel
in your heart

I found this exquisite poem, by Karen Bowles, and just had to share.  There is more coming but for the moment, I’m letting the poem stand mostly on its own. 

For those who wish to know more, the poem comes from the website Luciole Press ...La Luciole is French for “The Firefly.”

“This multi-purpose arts publication, with a blog which is updated daily, is an effort to bring light and dark together in the same field. It seeks to cover many subjects, focusing especially on anything related to the arts, poetry, travel, commentary, ideas, and celebration of all cultures.

Tamim Al-Barghouti, Poet

To many the poem marked the beginning of a shift in Egypt’s political climate: it reflected much of what Al-Barghouti calls “the collective consciousness” of a new and unusually politically engaged generation. Ironically, on his deportation, the poem sealed his claim to fame.
Excerpt from an interview with poet, Tamim Al-Barghouti.

I have loved the writing of Mourid Barghouti since I first discovered his book, I Saw Ramallah. 

He is a Palestinian, a man who spent 30 years in exile, locked out of Palestine after the 1967 Six Day war ... he was studying in Egypt at the time. 

He married and had a child but was, once again, thrown into exile via deportation.  That happened the year his only son was born and so it was that for 15 years the small family could only meet on holidays.  I knew Mourid had recently published a second book, I knew it was about a return to Palestine with the son who had to grow up largely without him… today it occured to me to search for his son.

Mourid’s son has become a poet of reknown.  I found an interview with the rather stunningly talented Tamim Al-Barghouti in Ahram Weekly back in May 2005.  You might enjoy it ...

Extracted from the interview: When he wrote They asked me do you love Egypt, he explains, the poet was “in a state of terror, anger and sadness—all at the same time”. All through his life he had taken his life in Egypt “for granted”. It was “my country and I’m staying here. It is the safe place. Part of what I feel towards Palestine is identical to the way I feel about Egypt—this very romantic sentiment. But Palestine was always far, I never seen it before 1998. Palestine is the home I struggle to have, but Egypt was the home I did have. So when I was deported, I felt my relationship with Egypt was jeopardized, threatened. My presence was threatened. It was no longer the safe place, no longer a home I had.

“And I tried to capture an image of that, like taking a photo of someone you love before parting. I was taking a photo of Egypt before leaving, not knowing whether or not I would ever return. My father couldn’t return for 17 years.” A replay of that nightmare haunted him as he wrote, which also tells the love story of his West Bank-born father and Cairo-born mother. The more popular part of the poem was written during his first week “in exile”. He continued writing, he says, until the length had almost tripled, and only stopped on 9 April 2003, the day of the fall of Baghdad....