renée ashley


Black Lawrence Press
ISBN 978-1-62557-955-3  $15.95

"Renée Ashley’s stunning new book is indeed a 'view from the body,' but it’s a 'body named / bone, named brain.' Haunted at times by the dead, by the past, by death itself, Ashley finds her most frequent specter in the self and its disturbances, which few poets since Dickinson have explored so unflinchingly. Language is the means of both exploration and transcendence: words burst into double meanings, invent themselves, and reverse our linguistic expectations, carried throughout by the musical exuberance of consonant and vowel. Taut, resonant, lyrical, edgy, these poems are, as one title has it, 'Such Threads of Light As Exist in Deep Pools.'”
             —Martha Collins

Winner of the Subito Press Book Prize

Subito Press
ISBN 978-0-9831150-8-3

"Her poems remind us what we should be: vessels, like the heart, that are most resilient, most capable of moving and being moved, when they have no toughness in them at all. These are poems that disturb again and again the un-shut-able wounds of our humanity. They set our great grief and incomprehension against our small ordinary joys. In the face of that which we cannot change and that which we cannot call into being, this remarkable poet sings."
             —Kathleen Graber


Winner of the new american press Chapbook Prize

new american press
ISBN 978-0-9817802-5-2

"VERB: that part of speech that expresses existence, action or occurrence.  In Renée Ashley's poems, all parts of speech behave as verbs, each one freighted with desire. Hers is work abuzz with existence, action, and occurrence.  I love the surprising textural variety here, the heady music.  Via linguistic experiment and complex emotional investigation, Ashley has created a poetry possessing vivid, necessary knowledge."
               —Kathy Fagan


Basic Heart
Winner of the 2008 X. J. Kennedy Poetry Prize

Texas Review Press
Texas A&M University Press Consortium
ISBN 978-1-933896-28-1

"With great originality and authority, and with a sense of high-wired, artistic risk, Renée Ashley's Basic Heart offers us new kinds of songs for our broken-down age. Even if you took away her spicy chutzpah, her work would still stand out for its brisk, crisp voice, big heart, and colorful intelligence.  She's nervous and edgy and eagle-eyed. She's the real thing."
               — Jack Myers, Series Judge


The Museum of Lost Wings
Winner of the Sunken Garden Poetry Prize

Hill-Stead Museum, Farmington, CT
ISBN 0-9744245-5-2

"In The Museum of Lost Wings, Renée Ashley realizes, with one of her alter egos, 'That she has no wings.  That she too must fly.' and she does. Not quite so isolate as Emily Dickinson, Ashley explores the similarly deep territory of the self, or selves; the poems alternate between first, second, and third persons as the poet, much like Dickinson  ... The joy, for the reader, is often in the language; these are poems in which all words count, and many surprise. Tight, resonant, lyrical, edgy, marked by paradox and reversals of linguistic expectation, they are poems that might themselves be called, in the words of one of Ashley's titles, Such Threads of Light as Exist in Deep Pools."
                —Martha Collins, Final Judge



The Revisionist's Dream

Avocet Press
ISBN 0-9705049-2-6

"Ms Ashley reminds us with a sweet succinctness that originality has to do with what is very old, with origins indeed, in order to have much truck with the NEW—always a doubtful proposition.  The dreams she attributes to her Revisionist are indeed the ordering of ancient visions, made new with a full heart, a clear mind."
               —Richard Howard


The Various Reasons of Light

Avocet Press
ISBN 0-9661073-1-7

"In Renée Ashley's remarkable new collection, her delicate meditations are lit by the steady —if solitary— flame of the human spirit. These poems celebrate the most ephemeral aspects of human desires and aspirations as the volume moves toward what the poet calls, with typical grace, the profound 'generosity of souls.'  Like a secular prayer book, this collection illumines our apprehensions of the encroaching dark with the fierce exigencies of (divine) light; their conflict, if not mortal, is clearly moral. In this wise and deeply consoling book, every angel grows necessary."
           —David St. John


Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry

The University of Wisconsin Press
ISBN 0-299-13144-0

"What a wonderful debut for Renée Ashley. She's so immediately and clearly her own poet. Her poems are full of a sensuality that is as gritty as it is idiosyncratic. 'Salt,' the powerful title poem, separates her from almost everybody in her generation."
              — Stephen Dunn



cv       poetry        fiction        nonfiction      periodicals        contact     home