Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Review by Toni Colleen - Impermanence by Ren Powell

I try to review Poetry writings and read them because I need to.  I believe we all need to.     My mind is so literal sometimes that it is hard for me to get carried away in poetry.   But the more you read, the more you feel what you are reading.

This book was not like some of the poetry that is too much for me. 

I am just going to say it up front this collection was utterly mesmerizing and is completely beautifully written.  It is a cohesive collection  of poems that had a meaning for me in almost every single one.    I reviewed the pdf, so I did not get the tactile part of the art actually in my hands.  However even without that the artistry stands on fine ground digitally.    The collection reads perfectly all together and also individually. 

My mind was absorbed in writing and the nature and the themes "The stories we tell." I found it to be an elevating read and personally grounding in the words and some of the  plain and simple truths of our human existence and connection to nature and the inanimate world. 

I became engrossed in thought about the stories we tell for people to understand, and how we can not actually land that story because it can and most likely will morph along the way -  out of our control in our very short existence. 

It has stunning, creative and thought provoking artwork with a touch of hand writing, and photos of a bust that reoccur throughout the book.  I didn't seem to "get it" until as I was watching this bust as a part of everything in the universe and the connectivity of everything in life.  By the end of the book it was alive and thinking along with me.   It showed up for me in the journey into this book.  I was not alone.

My favorite parts: ( I will only pick two

"You are
an origami box
in a soft rain.

Who turned you over 
and over - running a
bone folder along
your once-open body
to close you in
on yourself?"

"And when the Storm passes
it will have dropped lizards
from faraway lands 
into your lap"

I have no regrets on reading this book except I don't have it in my hands, that I did not read it outside, or on a mountain or at the coffee shop.   I will be reading this over and over again. 

About The  Book

Impermanence by Ren Powell
A Mad Orphan Lit. Publication
A Conceptual Multimedia Artwork:
42 Poems
Plaster/paper mache bust (video) and photography
Acrylic Monoprints
Moroccan handmade paper (hardcover)

"We are the stories, and our bodies books...

This project began with meditation on the idea of impermanence. And with this image, with
the body-as-story slowly losing shape. With our.narratives falling apart, becoming loose
elements that can/will be rearranged in another story. Which is what history is, after all.
The bust was made of plaster and paper mache and was photographed in various locations in the Jæren landscape of Norway. It was supposed to break up slowly in the waterfall during filming. However, it was taken by the current and slipped under an old mill house - trapped by the torrent of water, the wooden
beams, and the rocks.

But, well, this is what happens when we try to plan our stories. Isn’t it?"

Double-Needle Coptic Stitching
(note: this intentionally loose stitch allows for an open-back and “lay flat” binding)
15 X 20 cm, 64 pages
Text block: 160 gsm acid-free, ethically resourced paper
Limited series of 10
April 2021
120 EURO plus shipping.
Ships from Norway.
Paperback facsimiles available at
for 15 USD plus shipping. (link includes preview)


“Ren Powell’s Impermanence acts as a reminder, both visual and visceral–in its
physiological meaning (the heart, the gut)–that we live in and through the stories we tell.
The cursive in her illustrations operates as one of several connectors that loop through
her poems until these pictures and words combine to create, as she puts it, origami boxes: 
“your stories/ folding in on themselves.”


– Ann E. Michael, poet and novelist

“... you look up day after day surprised by the foreign landscapes of your own making”
Ren Powell’s seventh poetry collection dissects the minutiae of life, and puts it back
together in different unfamiliar shapes. Impermanence is what we are. In this collection of
new poems, Ren Powell turns the human condition into a collage of words, drawings, and
the blank spaces between breaths."


-Richard Pierce, poet/novelist/radio personality


Ren Powell is a writer and teaching artist. She is a native Californian – now a Norwegian
citizen settled on the west coast of Norway. Ren has been a member of The Norwegian
Author’s Union since 2005 and has published six full-length collections of poetry and more
than two dozen books of translations with traditional publishing houses. Her poetry
collections have been purchased by the Norwegian Arts Council for national library
distribution, and her poems have been translated and published in eight languages. Ren is
currently focusing on handbound poetry collections and mixed media experimentation as
Mad Orphan Lit.


After twenty-two years of publishing poetry and translations through traditional publishing
houses, Ren Powell wanted to take a literal hands-on approach to bookmaking. With two
years of university studio-art classes under her belt, and private bookbinding workshops
with an award-winning binder, she has finally taken the step to pull it all together as the
Mad Orphan Literature project. Impermanence is the first of many projects including
broadsides and gift books.

For more information 
Ren Powell can be reached at 
Twitter as @madorphanlit 
Insta as @madorphanlit_poetry 

To hear a reading:

Thank you Serena @ Poetic Book Tours for the opportunity to read such a fine book. 

Friday, February 5, 2021

 Hello 2021 - I think.

Whether we like it or not isn't really an option, and whether things got better is all a matter of very strict personal opinion by many.  

But welcome back to my blog.   I have been busy  through December 2020 finishing up my photography degree at Sierra College.  I started with my first photography class in 2018 and pushed through graduation in two years with  my full time job and that included SUMMER classes.  And if you know about summer school, well you know what I am talking about.   Two classes - 6 units - 8 weeks.  And my Fall semester was two classes and independent study for 7 units.

When I was not studying or working in 2020, I was COOKing... boy oh boy was I ever. Over time I will share my food projects, dumplings, egg rolls, and homemade noodles.  I was already making sour dough bread 7 years pre pandemic so that was a no brainer for me.  But I did get interested in some fancier techniques etc. 

Well - I know I have always posted so many pictures of San Francisco, but I can not help it.  So here are a few captures from a quick visit, stroll and lunch last Sunday.

Have a fantastic weekend!


Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Photo Shoots from the Tiny Studio by Toni

In the late  part of stage two going toward stage 3 of Shelter in Place due to Covid19 - Almost June 2020.
We finally got to see the kiddos inside our home. It was a blissful almost three hours and slowly we trekked into the Tiny Studio, which had been closed up, so the white backing was all wrinkled and there was no prep for a photo shoot.   But it was better than No pictures.   We got to take end of School pictures for the girls and some fun family pictures.  Tiny Studio Lives on and is quite happy with good memories.    

Monday, June 1, 2020

Delicious Monster omelette for two - Recipe

What I did:

One large potato - diced and seasoned and cooked in the air fryer at 400 for about 8 minutes.  (you could skillet fry them...and they's probably even yummier)

2 cups spinach chopped, one small red onion diced up.

I fried five slices of bacon and put to the side. Later chopped up.  I poured most of the grease out and then sautéed the onion and spinach and added chopped onion.  I set it to the side.

I whipped up 5-6 eggs and poured into the skillet and let cook.  I roll the pan around and  push the omelette to the side to get all the inside cooked.

I also roll it around high on the sides of the pan to give a nice crepe edge.  I added the spinach mixture and a layer of potatoes and about 1/4 cup cheese. I folded the omelette over and topped with a sprinkle of cheese and green onions.

I used onion powder, garlic powder and parsley on my potatoes in the air fryer with 1 tablespoon olive oil.

I use salt and pepper here and there.  It was a beautiful omelette for two. There was a little cup of left over potatoes for hubby and we didn't even finish it.

It is a great way to start the day with some spinach and onions...