Photo by Monica Robinson
"curious,/isn't it?/ — such a serene song."
Merriam-Webster as cited at the beginning of this collection defines interlucent (adj.) as: shining or glowing between or in the midst of other things. More fitting a title could not have been had for this collection. In the midst of a pandemic, a quarantine, a political revolution, there is the shining space that is "interlucent": a love letter to being alive and every joy and ache that this existence entails.
Isaura Ren's debut poetry chapbook weaves two narratives throughout its pages. The first is an intimate conversation with the reader. These works are dedicated to figures in the poet's life, but they read as though the poet and the reader are sitting together beneath a familiar quilt, trading quiet words with one another. Through poignant language and skilled evocation, Ren is speaking as much to their own life as they are to the reader's; a fact that is comforting in light of this past year.
It is a talented poet who can make their readers feel known and understood within a space that speaks of such raw, personal emotions and experiences, and yet this is exactly what I experienced while reading "interlucent", which I must admit I did twice through, fearful of missing the careful meanings tucked between each line. The care and craftsmanship in this work is evident in every line, many of which read like a whispered confession.
"there isn't much i wouldn't do. i'd crack/this plexiglass and dive if i saw you/below."
The second narrative is a conversation with the Earth itself. Ren evokes the dusk, the dawn, the sea, the sky, and every nature-bloomed beauty in-between, and they curve effortlessly in and out of these poems. "lost coast" is my favorite example of this, but each piece feels borne of Earth and drawn from a special relationship between the poet, the universe, and the reader. There is a greater sense of a measured and meaningful existence woven between these words.
If this sounds like a rave review, it is. Ren’s writing is both fierce and quietly sincere, a collection that resonates with me on both a personal and creative level. With this literary debut, they carve their own unique space as both an appreciator of the classics before them, and a creator of their own, instantly recognizable style. This collection is a force to be reckoned with, one that will stand singularly timeless.
"if flame spares us blight,/what a mercy to burn"
"Ren is a queer poet, writer, & editor. In spring 2020, they founded the online literary magazine perhappened mag, of which they are the Editor-in-Chief & Poetry Editor.
Their poems have been internationally published online."