Reviews, Links, and Interviews
The San Francisco Chronicle, Review by Diana Whitney
The New Yorker "Books We Love 2016" http://www.newyorker.com/books/page-turner/the-books-we-loved-in-2016
Verse, Review by Nancy Mitchell, http://versemag.blogspot.com/2017/01/
The Florida Review, Review by Dana Roeser, https://floridareview.cah.ucf.edu/article/the-double-under-the-bed/
Sugarhouse Review, Review by Jamie Wendt, https://sugarhousereviews.blogspot.com/2017_02_01_archive.html
Vermont Public Radio Interview with Elizabeth Powell about Willy Loman's Reckless Daughter http://digital.vpr.net/post/vermont-poet-elizabeth-powell-explores-death-salesman-feminist-perspective#stream/0
Review in Washington Independent Review of Books by Grace Cavalieri: http://www.washingtonindependentreviewofbooks.com/features/september-2016-exemplars-poet-ry-reviews-by-grace-cavalieri
Review in Ploughshares by Matthew Lippman:
Interview in The Common with S. Tremaine Nelson: http://www.thecommononline.org/features/drama-will-interview-elizabeth-i-powell
The Best American Poetry Blog, Review by Anna Maria Hong
Review in Rain Taxi
Review in Vol.1 Brooklyn, by Tobias Carroll
Accolades as Top Editor, Best American Poetry Blog
Interview with Julianna Baggott on her Blog
Review in The Rusty Toque by Kateri Lanthier
Review in Jet Fuel Review by Steven Seum http://www.jetfuelreview.com/elizabeth-a-i-powells-willy-lomans-reckless-daughter.html
Review in VT Seven Days
Interview in The Book Jam
Article in The Vermont Cynic
Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter: Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances
"Elizabeth Powell’s theatrical book of poems plays out against the backdrop of Arthur Miller’s signature play, which is at once a guidepost and a foil for this drama of the self, this poetic meditation on the intermixed American family. Powell’s self-correcting poems are smart and high-spirited, vacillating wildly between feelings, between lyric and prose, moving in a short space from high comedy to dark grief. I can’t think of another book of poems that is quite like Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter, which keeps bravely crossing “the line no one wants to write or live.”"
"Rarely in American poetry do we see the psyche turned loose with the kind of unrestrained wildness in Liz Powell's new collection Willy Loman's Reckless Daughter. In a textual mixture of memoir, mythology, lyric poetry, andpostmodern interrogations, Powell makes aflying leap into the theatrical realities of her family history and her own identity. The background of this ambitious poem is America.
Powell's often brilliant dislocations and ventriloquisms have a mad velocity, abundant creative cunning, and aspire to a compassionate vision of all the characters in the theatrical chaos of one family's life. Or as she says, with a characteristic panopticon-style logic: "The whole of America is a poem on how to read Death of a Salesman." This is a wild, entertaining and ambitious book.:
"Put Liz Powell’s book on your must list. It’s smart, bountiful word-luscious poems explore the fractious connections between daughters and parents, and men and women, and actors and audience, with a daredevil’s brio and a philosopher’s introspection; and the ambitious long poem that revisits/extends/unpacks “Death of a Salesman” is surely one of the finer pieces to come from Powell’s generation of poets. It’s a book to not just read, but to live in for a while."
"These poems are pure METHOD, pure MADNESS: i.e. truth uncoupled from truth's invarience, self-evidence, and relativity. Powell is daughter, mother, and x-wife, and the f-ing man: Miller and Miesner and Baron and Strasberg (and Strasberg) and Stanislavski and Diderot and Duse and Boleskavsky and Adler and Rowlands and, yeah, a little Loman, too."
-Olena Kalytiak Davis
"Whether constructing a metaphysical set design or deconstructing the human body into a question mark, Elizabeth Powell is an alchemist of letters. This book is a reminder of how many forms the poem can take--not only textually, but in the mind, the physical body and the spirit."
"Elizabeth Powell brilliantly mines the psychodynamics of family life in WILLY LOMAN’S RECKLESS DAUGHTER. These ambitious and deeply felt poems cohere through Powell’s innovative adaptation of that mythic American narrative, Death of a Salesman. Powell’s gift for strange and stunning turns of phrase and unexpected off-rhymes energizes the collection, and the recurring themes and motifs enhance its cumulative power."
As seen on Basement Medicine:
“2016 is shaping up to be an exciting year for Associate Professor of Writing and Literature Liz Powell. An accomplished poet, Powell has been awarded the 2015 Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for poetry for her second book of poems, “Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter: Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances.” In addition to having her new book published by one of the United States’ premiere poetry presses in Anhinga Press later this year, Powell will embark on a reading tour of several Floridian colleges. The Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry was established in 1983, more than a decade after the inception of Anhinga Press in Tallahassee, Florida, for all poets interested in submitting an original 48- to 80-page manuscript in English. The Robert Dana-Anhinga award recognizes the most compelling works from the manuscripts received during the designated months for submission, Feb. 15 through May 20, 2015. Fellow poet and Yale alumna Anna Maria Hong culled the title poem of Powell’s book, “Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter: A Story in Couplets,” for the Best American Poetry Series blog on Nov. 20, 2015. Within the post, Hong lauds Powell’s work for her marriage of different elements such as drama, essay, and verse to convey the message of her poems. Even with her recent accomplishments, Powell remains humble upon receiving her award. “I think a lifetime is a process, and in all processes there are steps. Sometimes the steps are ordered and sometimes they’re meandering,” says Powell. “I don’t tend to compare one thing to another. I think each thing we do in our lives is its own.” As for the prize itself, Powell understands the significance of her award and what it entails. “I’m thrilled that this book won the Robert Dana prize, it was a long time in the making.” The inspiration for Powell’s new book has its roots in playwright Arthur Miller’s seminal work, “Death of a Salesman.” In addition to Miller, Powell cites contemporary playwright David Mamet for his own recurring motifs involving American business. “‘Death of a Salesman’ has always stood out to me as sort of larger than life,” says Powell. “I grew up with a travelling salesman; everyone in my family was in business. I just thought that Willy Loman was such an iconic character. But then I wondered, what’s the female role in that road warrior narrative? Because there’s Linda Loman, the wife, and she’s especially submissive and in many ways part of the larger problem, but she’s not given much of a voice at all. So, I wondered, what is the female voice of the American dream gone wrong?” According to Powell, the foundation for her new book was laid while writing a few initial persona poems. “I wasn’t sure who the voice was, and I suddenly started to realize that the voice was of the daughter of the American businessman, the daughter of somebody much like Willy Loman. I started to think about the erasure of the female voice and the silencing of the female voice,” she adds. “I wanted to come up with an erased character. This imagines that when Willy Loman has an affair with the woman in the play, that there is a daughter from that union; the long poem in the book speaks from that voice.” Powell’s new book also calls upon American actor Sanford Meisner for its subtitle and influence of method acting. “That’s where the other part of the book’s title comes from. Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances, that’s what he defined acting was,” says Powell. “I think that’s also a metaphor for life and disillusionment, learning to live truthfully under imaginary circumstances. It’s true of acting, but maybe in some way reality is imaginary and in what ways is that so? And how do we act out of that?” Powell cites fellow writers Claudia Rankine and current Green Mountains Review Nonfiction and Managing Editor Jessica Hendry Nelson as inspiration for their innovation on their respective works. “This [book] is a way to bring many different genres that I find compelling into one place, looking at an issue from many different sides,” Powell said. Powell’s influences as a poet are as eclectic as the 2016 Coachella music festival lineup. Her references include Kenneth Koch, the aforementioned Rankine, Eileen Myles, Elizabeth Bishop, and Frank O’Hara. Powell also divulges her interest in several confessional poets such as Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell, and Anne Sexton, among others. As Powell looks into her future endeavors, she insists that any pressure to out-do her previous successes are not from any external source, but internal. “I think the pressure comes from having a question that arises in one’s soul, and then having to answer that question,” says Powell. “I think that’s where the pressure is for the artist or the writer.” “I know that this world is a temporary place and all things in it in some ways are temporary. So I choose not to succumb to the pressures of the workaday world and the insistence of social media and all those voices that ultimately aren’t that important,” Powell says. “What’s important are the real questions of what it means to lead an examined life. That’s where I feel the pressure from, I don’t know if I’d call it pressure exactly. “How am I going to lead an examined life given all of the constraints I have? Also, how can I have the time to think about those questions and explore those questions through my art? That’s where the pressure comes from. The meditative quality of it is if I don’t get to it, there’s an internal pressure that builds up because one is not doing one’s work.” Even with her recent success, Powell remains hard at work on new material for the future, providing details on another book she’s in the process of writing. “I’ve been writing a lot of lyric essays lately, I’m interested in that form where the lyricism meets poetry, having a fragmented lyric and how that is poetic but also can be essayistic,” says Powell. “So I’ve been working on some projects like that, and also finishing up a third collection of poetry called ‘Object and Experience: “If” is Further than You Think,’” Powell says of her new works. “It looks at all the objects in our lives and how we experience them, [and] how those experiences create ideas we have about life.” For Powell, the demands of teaching creative writing complement her own work. “When I’m teaching creative writing, the worlds coincide well,” says Powell. “Because the creative writing exercises I give my students, I do them, too. I try and write along with them at home. So that inspires me and helps me look at my own work with a sharper eye. By doing and teaching the craft, I’m constantly having to think about it.” “Of course there is a balance between being an educator and an artist. To be an educator you need to use your extroverted self, and the writer and artist needs introspective time,” Powell says. “The speed of society is what makes the balance difficult.” With a new award for her mantel and a new book being published in September, Powell’s year has had an excellent beginning. Even so, she remains cognizant of the need for young artists and creative thinkers to step forth to have a presence in Vermont’s workforce. “At the Vermont State College’s retreat a couple of summers ago, we had Vermont business saying ‘We need creative thinkers in Vermont to be the workers of Vermont,’” Powell says. “To know how to do a job well takes creativity and imagination.” Powell remains confident that the humanities and fine arts are ever relevant in today’s society. “Start a revolution, be an artist. Learn for learning’s sake. I like what Joseph Campbell said, you know, ‘follow your bliss.’ I think when human beings are creating things and thinking about things, it makes the world a safer, more peaceful place for all of us.” –