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Willy Loman's Reckless Daughter or Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances
Willy Loman's Reckless Daughter or Living Truthfully under Imaginary Circumstances by
Publication Date: 2016-09-10
From its introductory high-flying, free-wheeling, wildly-penned lyric essay to its final elegy in somber rhymed couplets; with its plays within poems and its prose within plays; with its kaleidoscopes and side-trips and its one woman producer-director who shines in her own theater of the imagination, Elizabeth Powell’s Willy Loman’s Restless Daughter defies genre categorizations in so many ways, it may be invited to dwell at the top of a mountain in a land so mysterious and so magical, with sun bouncing off its spires and mirrors and roller coasters, that we who are tethered below and lucky enough to enter its pages in wonder, can only call it brilliant. — Maureen Seaton, Judge, 2015 Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry
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 poeticmeditation on the intermixed American family. Powell’s self-correcting poems are smart andhigh-spirited, vacillating wildly between feelings, between lyric and prose, moving in a shortspace 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.” — Edward Hirsch, author of Gabriel: A Poem
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, and postmodern interrogations, Powell makes a flying 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 poem. — Tony Hoagland, author of Unincorporated Persons in the Late Honda Dynasty
Elizabeth A.I. Powell was born in New York City. She earned her BA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She is the author of the poetry collections The Republic of Self (2001), which won a New Issues Poetry Prize, and Willy Loman’s Reckless Daughter or Living Truthfully Under Imaginary Circumstances (2016), winner of an Anhinga-Robert Dana Prize for Poetry and a “Books We Love 2016” pick by the New Yorker.
Powell is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a grant from the Vermont Arts Council, and a fellowship from Yaddo. An editor of Green Mountains Review, she is associate professor of writing and literature at Northern Vermont University and on the faculty of the low-residency MFA programs at the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
Source: Poetry Foundation
Interview with Elizabeth Powell