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What Will Soon Take Place: Poems

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  45 ratings  ·  23 reviews
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 ...more
Paperback, 96 pages
Published December 5th 2017 by Paraclete Press
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Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Reading Tania Runyan’s What Will Soon Take Place brought me back to the moment I discovered the Book of Revelation in my early 20s—I didn’t “believe” it in some literal way, so much as recognize in it a terrifying mirror of my own interior anxiety—a strange visitation, of course, but also an outward manifestation, in sacred language, of the personal apocalypse I’d experienced of panic, fear, and grief. Its images spoke to me, though I didn’t know what to do with their fearsome poetry, or how to ...more
Katie Karnehm-Esh
Dec 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Full disclosure: I adore Tania. I want to be like her when I grow up. So I am biased about how much I love this book. But also I love this book. The language and imagery and jokes are spectacular, and so is the heartwrench in some of the tougher poems. This is, after all, a book of poetry about Revelations. One of my favorite poems, which I read at an open mic night and which my students always request now, is the "Book of the Dead". But there's literally no poems that I don't love in this book. ...more
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
Should someone who barely ever reads poetry review this book? I admit, in the last couple years I have begun to meditate on more and more poetry, choosing to line more shelves with poets of all kinds.
I found I was blown away by the serious, and humorous words. I saw hunger, tormented souls, the will to survive, depravity of mankind, the violence of end times, love and grace.
Powerful-read-it-slowly book.

I was given a copy of this to review for publication Dec. 5, 2017.
Joshua Gage
Oct 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a really powerful book of poems. At their best, these poems are politically engaged, resonant works of lyric potency. Runyan takes the language and imagery of the Book of Revelations and weaves it with the everyday and mundane of modern life, creating startling juxtapositions. Occasionally, the poems are merely clever, and lack the depth I want from poetry; however, these poems are, for the most part, striking. Lovers of contemporary poetry will thoroughly enjoy this collection.
Benjamin Myers
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Another great collection by one of our best Christian poets.
Chad Johnston
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tania Runyan has conjured up a strange school of apocalyptic fish with "What Will Soon Take Place" (Paraclete Press). Each of the poems in this collection, which explores the book of Revelation through a personal lens, wriggles with wit, catches light like so many shining rainbow scales, and sets ripples in motion in the reader’s mind. “What is the book of Revelation,” Runyan forces us to ask, “to me?”

The book opens with a poem called “Patmos” that immediately sets the tone for the whole thing:

Dave Milbrandt
Nov 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
I received a complimentary copy of What Will Soon Take Place in exchange for an honest evaluation of its merits.

One of the things about the Book of Revelation is that it is a hard book to process no matter what translation you read or view of the End Times you hold. If John Calvin wasn’t willing to write a commentary on Revelation, what can us relatively religious neophytes be able to discern from the book. Is it a true account of the Apocalypse written that employs imagery to cover for the fact
Katie Andraski
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Tania Runyan’s WHAT WILL SOON TAKE PLACE is an edgy, vulnerable, prophetic work of very fine poetry. Runyan imagines what it might be like to be the writer of Revelation if he lived nowadays. In a poem called “Things that Will Soon Take Place,” she writes, “But you must steady yourself/on the purse hook, nauseated by the spirit/burying inside you like a tick. Soon you will see//seraph wings in the price tags/hear trumpets in the vents.” She captures how it might feel to slip between earth and he ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
My Little Pony, Dunkin Donuts, Selfies, Jell-O, Revlon, Wonder bread, Thomas Kindade, The Mall. Tania Runyan sees the world through the lens of suburban America; the images of middle-class mundanity provide the touchstones on which she grounds What Will Soon Take Place, her exploration of the strangest book of the Christian Bible. In addition to following the always good advice to write what you know and to use imagery your audience is likely to know, the ass cracks, Nikes, ice creams, and "hour ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Don't be deceived by the apparent "accessibility" of these poems. Tania Runyan's poems are often deceptive. They're not "difficult" if by that you mean "hard to get" because the language tends to be familiar. Still, they are "difficult" if you mean "complex" and "challenging."

When you read them slowly, you will be struck with how honest and candid these poems are. She struggles openly with Revelation, she bares her rebellious soul. As always, she is good at perceiving the numinous within the pro
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
I've enjoyed Tania Runyan's previous three excellent collections (Simple Weight, A Thousand Vessels, and Second Sky); however, the poems in What Will Soon Take Place show her ambition and skill at an even higher level. While her earlier books covered The Beatitudes, women of the Bible, and St. Paul, this new volume tackles The Book of Revelation, surely a brave undertaking. These poems take readers on a journey through this confounding and wonderful biblical text while mingling in contemporary l ...more
Dec 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
Few sacred texts have weathered so much controversy, endured so much misuse, and engendered such diverse interpretations as the last book of the New Testament. Filled with difficult passages and dangerous moments, the Book of Revelation is a place careful exegetes fear to tread.

Fortunately for us, Tania Runyan approaches it not as not as a text to be explicated but as a field of play for the faithful imagination. Runyan skillfully braids the apocalyptic with the mundane, humor with deadly serio
Sarah Wells
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Tania Runyan makes an otherworldly, ancient letter modern and equally strange in this collection of poems in response to the book of Revelation. Tania leans into the difficult passages and breaks through to deliver surprising connections to the everyday, connections to her life, and connections to a very different looking Jesus. Her poems both deepen and challenge faith, inviting another journey through Revelation and another look at the world through its shattered kaleidoscope lens.
Andrew David
Jul 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
the book of revelation gets funny and freaky and poetic // irreverent, disquieting, heterogeneous // biblical violence, sexual abuse, god acting poorly // 3.7 to 4.4 // an essential companion to the book of revelation that makes me want to chuckle-run far from the book of revelation, even if rereading said book of revelation might enlighten me about some of these poems. i dug the poems i understood.

Jan 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Religious faith has inspired poets for likely as long as faith and poetry have existed. About a third of the Old Testament is written in poetic form. The Greek and Roman poets were inspired by their pantheon of gods. In Christian times, a considerable amount of poetry made its way into church liturgy and popular culture as well; the Christmas carol “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is only one of many songs and poems that come from what are called the “O Antiphons,” songs of appeal sung at the vespers ...more
Sandra Vander Schaaf
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
What happens when a poet contemplates a first century classic of Christian apocalyptic literature while taking out the garbage, snacking on a burrito on a road trip, or sitting on the couch watching the Weather Channel? When the poet is Tania Runyan, the result is a collection of poems that bears witness to the unspeakable pain and ineffable love that infuse the human experience—whether we live in the first century or the twenty-first.

I keep coming back to the final line of The Rider on a White
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry
The book of Revelation is esoteric and strange and if you grew up evangelical you likely have at least some baggage about the books contents (think rapture, Russian and identifying the beasts). But it is also a book of evocative symbol and image. Tania Runyan's poems play in the land of Apocalypse. They enter into the imagery, turning it over, sometimes with tongue-in-cheek renderings (such as the poem entitled "The whore of Babylon takes a selfie"), but I hesitate to say irreverently. There is ...more
Steven Robertson
Dec 16, 2018 rated it liked it
In terms of art/poetry, it was in turns powerful, beautiful, frustrating, and angering. So in that regard, a success.

Some of the pieces were amazing. Some of the pieces didn't do much for me. Some were weird (fitting, I suppose, given the collection is a response to Revelation). Some pushed boundaries that toed the lines of orthodoxy and propriety.

It's at least worth coming back to, especially for the ones I enjoyed the most.
Alyssa Foll
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is my first time to read a collection of Tania Runyan’s poems and her ambitious work on Revelation did not disappoint. I appreciated how she looked at the “end of all things” not as the future but as something that is unfolding all around us: at the mall, on our phones, and certainly as Christians are being martyred around the world.
John Ham
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Raw, open, compelling walk through the Book of Revelation, linking its apocalyptic imagery to life here and now. The collection has renewed my love of poetry and its power to make sense of both the big and small.
Emily Millikan
Jun 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
I haven't read Revelation for a long time, and this gives me hope that the next time I read it, something new will happen. These poems are sharp, jangly, insistent. ...more
Aug 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Modern poetry is so much more effective when delivered in the poet's voice than when read on the page. ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it liked it
“What Will Soon Take Place” is the perfect Christmas gift for those of us living in the now and not yet. Perfect, if at times the overstimulation of the holiday season has you “wanting nothing more than to pull a preshrunk T/over your head in peace.” The images and observations of the most complicated book of the Bible will lift your head with observations of the numinous and “nudge you like a dog in the street./a matted earthbound begging for your touch.” Skating through the sacred and the mund ...more
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Tania Runyan is the author of the poetry collections What Will Soon Take Place, Second Sky, A Thousand Vessels, Simple Weight, and Delicious Air, which was awarded Book of the Year by the Conference on Christianity and Literature in 2007. Her guides How to Read a Poem, How to Write a Poem, and How to Write a College Application Essay are used in classrooms across the country. Her poems have appear ...more

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