In thinking about its premise—a book of poems narrated via the personae of well-known women from the Bible—one would perhaps expect Tania Runyan’s A Thousand Vessels (WordFarm 2011) to fall victim to the worst kind of maudlin Christian women’s literature. Far to the contrary, the women who populate Runyan’s imagination open windows into a feminine experience that is anything but monolithic: tender and violent, full of pride and mercy. From Eve to Dinah, Mary Magdalen to Runyan herself (for they are all the poet, in one way or another), these poems walk the narrow road between the life of the body and the soul with the articulate sensitivity of a poet at home with the essential wonder of the seeker’s heart, reminding us, “We are nothing but the measure of loneliness we can remove from each other.”
A Thousand Vessels by Tania Runyan. Published by WordFarm (2011). 88 pages.