As you’ll discover in this conversation with Tania Runyan, she’s experimented with being a screenwriter and playwright and written several nonfiction books, including How to Read a Poem, How to Write a Poem, and one for college-bound high school students, called How to Write a College Application Essay.
But Tania thinks of herself first and foremost as a poet. Her poems have appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Image, Harvard Divinity Bulletin, The Christian Century, Saint Katherine Review and the Paraclete book Light upon Light: A Literary Guide to Prayer for Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany.
Here are a few snippets of our chat:
“I write blog posts and articles for companies…and I realize that poetry and that kind of writing are not at odds with one another. In fact, I have found they complement one another really well because poetry is all about condensing language, and the efficiency of language, and audience and emotion, and when you’re writing for businesses…tailoring my language to a certain audience, a certain emotion, and trying to do that in an efficient manner, I find has been easier to do because of my background as a poet.”
“This is very important. The very first thing I bought with my NEA grant, was a Roomba. To this day, I still use it every day. It’s responsible for a lot of my writing.”
Advice for new poets: “When I work with newer poets, it seems they’re consistently surprised with how much time I spend on my poems and how much time I think they should spend on their poems. So my advice would be to slow down and enjoy the process…You want to write, you want to produce, you want to publish…but really there’s no reason to rush. You need to give yourself to the process and enjoy it.”
Enjoy learning about all the ways a writer can write as you get to know Tania Runyan.
Tania Runyan is the author of the poetry collections What Will Soon Take Place, Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature in 2007. Her guides How to Read a Poem, How to Write a Poem, and How to Write a College Application Essay are used in classrooms across the country. Tania was awarded an NEA Literature Fellowship in 2011. When not writing, Tania plays fiddle and mandolin, drives kids to appointments, and gets lost in her Midwestern garden.
- Website: TaniaRunyan.com
- Facebook Page: Tania Runyan Poet
- What Will Soon Take Place, Tania’s most recent poetry collection, celebrating its one-year anniversary (affiliate link)
- How to Write a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry”, by Tania Runyan (affiliate link)
- How to Read a Poem: Based on the Billy Collins Poem “Introduction to Poetry”, by Tania Runyan (affiliate link)
- Book that mentioned Nabakov in the bathtub: Process: The Writing Lives of Great Authors, by Sarah Stodola (affiliate link)
- Writing book Tania recommends for poets, an anthology with simple explanations of forms: Strong Measures: Contemporary American Poetry in Traditional Forms (not affiliate link; only available used)
- Jennifer Dukes Lee interview
- Alison Hodgson interview
- Shawn Smucker interview
- Patrice Gopo interview
- Ann’s Patreon account
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