Tania Runyan

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from Relief Books

Making Peace with Paradise: Essays



What Will Soon Take Place

What Will Soon Take Place is an imaginative journey through the book of Revelation. It offers a poet’s view of the prophetic, not in the sense of seeking out clues to the “end times,” but a means of taking this strange, fantastic book of scripture and letting it read its way into personal lives. This is not prophecy as foretelling, but forth-telling: telling us the truths of our lives in the light of God’s light. But rather than escape into some safe, heavenly realm, the poems return to our homes and meet us in the form of our neighbors, persecuted believers, and in shopping malls with vivid, edged-up language and the authority to believe and doubt at once.


How to Write a College Application Essay

For over 15 years, Tania Runyan has guided thousands of students in understanding, exploring, and crafting the college application essay—with winning results. This guide explains what the college application essay is all about: why a student has to write it, the nature of this special writing project, when and how a student should start, and what can be learned about writing itself through this milestone process. Providing everything a student needs to go from draft to polished essay, the instruction is straightforward, easy to apply, and inspiring. Woven throughout this engaging guide are illuminating quotes from admissions counselors who want to read just the kind of essays this book can help a student write. Includes sample essays from students who got into the colleges of their dreams. Also features helpful samples for special situations like transfers. Invaluable resource! 


How to Write a Poem

—Based on the Billy Collins Poem "Introduction to Poetry": (Field Guide Series)

Is it possible to teach someone how to write a poem? Or does poetry simply “come from the heart” or from a special talent only some can ever hope to have? Of course there’s no formula for writing an amazing poem. If poems came with instructions like IKEA® coffee tables, we'd all be missing the point. But this book will give you some strategies—some tools, if you will—to assemble your personal, imaginative raw materials into poems that will surprise and intrigue. These strategies are focused primarily on free verse, yet many of the concepts can also be applied to form poetry, at both the inception and revision stages. How to Write a Poem uses images like the buzz, the switch, the wave—from the Billy Collins poem “Introduction to Poetry”—to guide writers into new ways of writing poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology and prompts included.


How to Read a Poem                                     

Based on the Billy Collins Poem "Introduction to Poetry": (Field Guide Series)

How to read a poem. A lot of books want to teach you just that. How is this one different? Think of it less as an instructional book and more as an invitation. For the reader new to poetry, this guide will open your senses to the combined craft and magic known as "poems". For the well versed, if you will, this book might make you fall in love again. How to Read a Poem uses images like the mouse, the hive, the switch (from the Billy Collins poem "Introduction to Poetry")—to guide readers into new ways of understanding poems. Excellent teaching tool. Anthology included.


Second Sky

From Cascade's Poiema Series

A personal response to Paul

In Second Sky, Runyan intertwines the life and writings of the Apostle Paul with the spiritual journey of a modern suburban woman confronting the broken world. Second Sky wrestles with the deeply personal challenges presented in Paul's letters and experiences: putting on the new self, burying oneself with Christ, and counting all as loss while driving through snowstorms, reading horrific headlines, and bathing the family dog. These are not simple poems of religious inspiration; they are steely encounters with the living God. Runyan invites us to work out our salvation in rusted Cadillacs, operating rooms, and packs of wild coyotes. Meanwhile, Paul runs from the collapsing walls of his prison cell toward shipwrecks and vipers, meeting us on our own roads to Damascus, the earth breaking open to a second sky of faith.


"While these poems are anchored by Paul's familiar words, his directives and admonishments, Tania Runyan's plucky responses challenge traditional pictures of the believer's life. God's grace appears in many guises in her poems—from a frisbee laid bare in the melting snow to a drive on icy roads with a carload of children. These are spirited and intimate pictures of a suburban woman's encounter with holy mystery, often both unpredictable and oddly comforting."

—Jill Palaez Baumgaertner, Professor of English, Wheaton College


"This is a remarkable book. The poems are brief posts about the fissures—cataclysms—emergencies in the daily life of a parent, a spouse, a friend. It was only after devouring the book that I went back to check on how each poem glosses a passage of Scripture. 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."

—Jeanne Murray Walker, Professor of English, University of Delaware


A Thousand Vessels

Poems inspired by the women of the Bible

“I found myself turning the pages of A Thousand Vessels as compulsively as if it were fiction”—Jeanne Murray Walker

"It only takes some fifty poems to fill A Thousand Vessels to a wild and welcome overflowing. The water of the written word is turned into the wine of verse with Tania Runyan's miraculous touch. . . . To read her is to gain a taste of what it is to be fully human."—Paul Willis

"A Thousand Vessels seems close to bursting with a thousand voices—or rather, one major overriding voice that names a thousand things throughout these ambitious, quick-eyed, heart-wrenching poems.”—Brett Foster

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Simple Weight

poems inspired by the Beatitudes

“In her debut full-length poetry collection, Simple Weight, a finalist for the 2010 FutureCycle Poetry Book Prize, Tania Runyan distills, explores, and expands the weighty promise encapsulated in the Beatitudes and the relevance of that promise in our lives today. Her carefully arranged poems force us to slowly enter the complexities of Matthew 5 while serving as a guide and confidant for the rigors and revelations we will undoubtedly discover on our journey to the center.”—Kristin George


Delicious air book cover

Delicious Air

Tania’s award-winning chapbook

Winner, Book of the Year, Conference on Christianity and Literature, 2007

 “Few literary pleasures rival the discovery of a new poetic talent; and when the discovered poems also feature vigorous and intriguing reflections on contemporary and historical Christian themes, it becomes our business as CCL scholars and litterateurs to spread the news abroad.”—Conference on Christianity and Literature