The Augment Review

A Review of Isuara Ren's Debut Chapbook Interlucent

Posted December 13, 2020

Something interlucent shines in the midst of other things—a beacon among the dark. To this end, Isaura Ren’s debut chapbook Interlucent reads like the calm in the eye of the storm, every poem illuminating moments both beautiful and tragic. Captivated by each word’s glow, we watch “sheer-drop cliffs turn jagged mouths” and clouds become a “pantheon” that “tufts the air like soft, bulging flesh.” The poems bring us on a journey through seascapes and storms, kitchens and cliffs, each setting illustrated in gorgeously precise language.

Ren guides us gently into the chapbook with “aubade / alba,” depicting a warm yet devastating scene of two lovers at daybreak. From the safety of their room, they create their own kingdom, shielding themselves from the judgment of their neighbors as “dusk shrugs off its velvet.” Each line brings us closer to the speaker and their partner as we zoom in from a description of the scene to the speaker’s inner monologue as they assert that “I’ll draw my wings against the coup of dawn, a shield for you and me.” And yet, underlying the tenderness of the moment is a desperation, an imploration that “you could stay forever if we time this right.”

This opening effectively sets the tone for the rest of the chapbook, which carries this longing for intimacy as the speakers “want to bottle this instant, swallow it, tuck it beside my hollow spine to warm me” but fear that “what if this ends if it was? what if we ended?”

Throughout the chapbook, Ren presents each scene with vivid imagery that draws us in and doesn’t let go. The poems feel intense and profound, grounded in private moments and historical events as Ren traverses topics like heritage, religion, and grief with masterful skill. Every line carries both weight and musicality, their words singing “such a serene song.”