Monday, January 13, 2014

Tania Runyan*

Tania Runyan is the poetry editor for the literary journal, Relief. She has just had her third full-length collection, Second Sky, appear as part of the Poiema Poetry Series from Cascade Books. She has had poems appear in such fine journals as Poetry, The Christian Century, Image, and Southern Poetry Review. Like her previous collections, Second Sky interacts closely with scripture. In this case the poems connect with incidents in the life of Paul the Apostle, or with things he wrote in his letters.

In talking about how the poems in Second Sky gloss scripture, Jeanne Murray Walker wrote, "There are layers and layers here to uncover. I will discover them slowly, but meanwhile, I love the fierce brio of these poems. I love their intelligence and urgency."

In an interview with David Harrity of Antler, Tania explained how her interactions with scripture can turn into poetry. "[W]hen I come across a passage, even a word or phrase that moves me, I allow it to shine on a few different areas in my life, like memories, struggles, and meaningful images, and I journal about those. Soon a poem starts to take shape—and the scripture becomes more solidified in my mind as a result of those personal associations."

The following poem is from Second Sky. I am pleased to have been able to assist Tania Runyan as the editor for this fine collection.

The Greatest of These
—1 Corinthians 13

Embraces the woman whose child screams
on the floor of the cereal aisle.
Enters the friend's new mansion,
lifts eyes to the skylights, gives thanks.
Yields the last word on the Facebook fight.
Looks the frowning barista in the eye.
Takes a breath and thanks God
there is even a zipper to get stuck.
Sends a gift to the wall-punching uncle.
Glances away from the handcuffed boys
on the side of the road and prays.
Smiles and listens to the grandmother complain
about her knees, rubs the knees,
ladles another bowl of soup.
Believes there is a reason that slumped man
in the alley was born. Trusts he'll believe it.
Endures the quiet, thankless song of work.
Echoes long after the cymbals have died.

*This is the second Kingdom Poets post about Tania Runyan: first post, third post.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His new poetry collection, Conspiracy of Light: Poems Inspired by the Legacy of C.S. Lewis, is available from Wipf & Stock as is his earlier award-winning collection, Poiema.