Asbury Poet-Educator Debuts New Book – Asbury University
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Asbury Poet-Educator Debuts New Book

January 31, 2024

Alumna Kristina Rader ’06 Erny recently published a book of poems with Solum Literary Press entitled Elijah Fed by Ravens. In meditations set within imagery in 1 Kings, Erny deftly borrows the voices of long-dead prophets, widows, and ravens to explore her own contemporary faith-life, becoming the angel nudging herself forward. In this full-length poetry debut, Erny “questions whether sustenance will come in the desert places in her faith and what it might mean to journey forward anyway.” The book is available through Bookshop and Barnes and Noble.

“I use these Elijah stories in my poems as a means for meditation and contemplation of the everyday and the divine,” Erny said. “Anyone who has been in a dry desert place and wondered if their help would ever come could find themselves and their own longing mirrored back to them in these poems.”

Erny shares that her poems are “real, raw, and human” with various forms including acrostics, sonnets, contrapuntals, and a form she calls a “resurrection” to explore these spiritual truths. 

“Erny announces her central trope of sustenance in her title Elijah Fed by Ravens and confirms for us page after page that poetry is one of the things that can nourish us,” said author Dr. Kristi Maxwell, who serves as Associate Professor of English at the University of Louisville. “In these deeply empathetic poems, the use of poetry to question and console—to help us better see the world and each other—serves as an implicit response to one of the book’s queries: ‘Why are we still here?’”

Erny’s book reveals the sacredness found in simple moments.

“Everyday human moments of grief, longing, desire, and doubt sit alongside celebrations of simple life,” Erny said. “Empty boxes, kids’ drawings, buzzards and drives to school become laced with the Divine. They are the remaking of a world in which the smallest of things can be holy, and joy comes from watching for the bread that shows up in the most bloody of beaks.”

Erny shares her inspiration for writing the book.

“I wrote these poems starting in 2016, after moving back to South Korea (where I grew up) as an adult for work,” she said. “I was struggling, and it was a dark time in my life. I became somewhat obsessed with the stories of Elijah and the Ravens and started writing poems in response to them.”

After writing one poem per day for the Tupelo Press 30/30 Project, Erny continued writing poems from 2016-2022. Gathering a collection of poems for her book, she explored questions and ideas from her experiences during a turbulent cross-cultural move, transitions, a global pandemic, and a three-year separation from her parents and siblings.

“The poems allowed for a holy space of transformation and a place for God to really speak to me,” she said. “I hope they will speak to readers, too.”

Erny teaches creative writing, science fiction literature, and drama at Concordia International School Shanghai, in Shanghai, China, where she lives with her husband and children. Before moving to China, Erny served for four years as Professor and Director of the Creative Writing program at Asbury University.

The Asbury University English Department offers majors in English, Creative Writing, and English (Grades 8-12) and a minor in Creative Writing. Learn more: