Rona Shaffran, poet

About Ignite:

Speaking a language we understand, Rona Shaffran's poems tell the book length story of remarkable things that can happen in a broken relationship. These poems inhabit the sharp edges and rich depths of a union too long untended. Ignite begins in wintry suburbia with a man and woman who have lost emotional and physical connection. A magic-realist plunge into the atavistic tropics of desire breaks this barren matrix. The exotic landscape sparks resurgent passion, which leads to a dramatic and healing turn-around for the couple. The poems of disappointment don't waste a word. The poems of arousal are sensual, succinct and poignant. The garden grows. The transformation is real.


Straightforward on the surface, yet taking us to deeper levels, the poems are unflinchingly honest, with imagist clarity. Individually, they startle, and evoke primal recognitions. When read in sequence, the poems of Ignite impel us to the story's conclusion. The man and woman come alive as their joy and sadness meld together, just as joy and sadness do in our own lives. There is dignity in this progression, and the restraint that comes with dignity.

These are poems for readers and lovers in all their seasons, yet there is hard-won maturity to the lovers in Ignite. Everyday gestures transform into universal experiences, taking us to the heart of emotions and experiences of a lifetime's duration. The language, refined to bone-essential elements, almost disappears to create an intimacy with the reader, a collective energy, a human experience that we all share.

"As contemporary and sensuous as the Song of Songs, Ignite subtly reimagines the passion and compassion of middle-aged love. Rona Shaffran's poetry collection narrates an intimacy of language and longing so intense that the reader unconsciously holds her breath for fear of disturbing these lovers in their locked rooms of estrangement and joyful collision."

                                        - Méira Cook

"In Ignite, Rona Shaffran exposes to the very bone the complex realities of desire. These poems, in thumbnail glimpses, explore a dramatic landscape, both physical and internal, with candid directness, turmoil and hope."

                                         -David O'Meara