In This Great Turtle Heart, Charlotte Renk fuses scholarship and artistry, the scientist's precision, and the poets rapture, as she charts the arduous odyssey of a larger-than-life box turtle. Drawing on biology, myth, folklore, history and literature, Renk examines meticulously every facet of her subject's journey to capture both "the beauty and the burden of earth," its "dust-covered deserts" as well as the "Golden gasps of light" creating in the process a vision that enfolds and ultimately transforms the reader. In an epoch of division and rancor, this work affirms the necessity of connections and compassion. These truly are poems for our time.
Carol Coffee-Reposa Poet Laureate of Texas 2018Read more
About the Author
After completing her Ph.D. from L.S.U. and teaching there for five years, Charlotte Renk moved to Athens, Texas and found inspiration for poetry and stories that come from long walks in the woods behind her East Texas cabin and from reflections accumulated over many years while teaching English, Humanities, and Creative Writing at Trinity Valley Community College.
For many years, I have followed the poetry of Charlotte Renk with interest and deeprespect. Her poems are intriguingly paradoxical: rich with mythological allusions yet "down-home" and accessible; musical and aesthetically appealing yet layered with psychological depth. In These Holy Hungers, Renk probes the complexities of the human heart with the clarity and insight of a shaman, and with consummate poetic skill, offers up the "nourishment" of highest art.
Some poets are safe. Some poets write poems that are sweet and easy and don't keep us up at night. Charlotte Renk is not that type of poet. Charlotte writes poems that are dangerous, poems that are piercing, dynamic, full of sleeve-grabbing images and sounds, poems that are full of fury and passion and desire. Somehow her poems are raw and polished simultaneously. Charlotte's poems will keep you up at night-but only because they are so, so good.
This poet is having a thrilling, heart-stopping, pulse-racing affair with the English language and we're all invited to join in. What lover would not want to be caressed and crooned over the way this author does with every poem, every word? Not only is this writer incredibly gifted with language, she is a highly-accomplished storyteller as well, with an amazing knack of pulling the reader into the story itself The combination of these two things makes this collection one that evtry true aficionado of poetry will want on his or her shelf.