"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
Renée Ashley is the author of four books of poetry, Salt, Winner of the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, The Various Reasons of Light, The Revisionist’s Dream, Basic Heart 2008 Winner X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press and two chapbooks,The Museum of Lost Wings and The Verbs of Desiring, as well as a novel, Someplace Like This. A portion of her poem, "First Book of the Moon," from The Revisionist's Dream is engraved in a permanent installation at New York's Penn Station: "Artist Larry Kirkland’s unique marble etchings also draw plenty of attention. His engraved scenes include the New Jersey Shore... text accompanying the images include work from New Jersey poets Renée Ashley, Amiri Baraka/Leroi Jones, William Carlos Williams and Walt Whitman."
Renée is poetry editor at The Literary Review and on the faculty of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s two low-residency graduate programs, the MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators. Her awards include a Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award, a Pushcart Prize, a Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence, the Charles Angoff Award, an American Literary Review Poetry Prize, the Chelsea Poetry Award, and the Robert H. Winner Award and the Ruth Lake Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and the Vermont Studio Center, and has received an NEA fellowship in poetry as well as fellowships in both poetry and prose from NJSCA. Her essay “Writing on the Brink: Peripheral Vision and the Personal Essay” will appear in the May/Summer issue of AWP’sWriter’s Chronicle. Renee's new poem, “Verbs of Desiring,” is used to discuss a new opera, Synetic’s Romeo and Juliet.
Visit Renee's website.
Banner Photo by Kerry O'Gorman