POPfeatures: Erin Elizabeth Smith
Erin Elizabeth Smith’s full-length poetry collection, Down, is available through SFA Press
Erin Elizabeth Smith’s Down is immediately a delight. Refreshing in its take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the reader discovers here the odd world and new experience that Smith draws them “down” into. The fall that seems endless takes us into Tennessee, where “petals doodle lawns / like the drawings of girls” or where “grey squirrels / chase themselves into their trees.” This isn’t exactly Lewis Carroll surrealism, but the narrator of these poems takes us into her incantations and dreamscapes, where suddenly she looks at her spouse lying on the sofa and sees “a foreign // thing, a stammering king / made kitten in the shaking.”
Waking does not necessarily relieve the narrator, nor us. Rather, she writes, “I am still falling / through the slippery leaves / every bit of anorexic ice, / still waking like a child roused / in the backseat, unsure where I am / in the fragile, new dark.” And, like Alice, curiouser and curiouser, the trip down means we may rise up, that “it can heal us again.”
Erin Elizabeth Smith is the Creative Director at the Sundress Academy for the Arts and the Managing Editor of Sundress Publications. Her third full-length poetry collection, Down, was released in 2020 by Stephen F. Austin State University Press. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Guernica, Ecotone, Mid-American, Tupelo Quarterly, Crab Orchard Review, and Willow Springs, among others. She is a Distinguished Lecturer in the English Department at the University of Tennessee, and in 2017 she was inducted into the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame.
Twitter: @SundressErin https://twitter.com/SundressErin
Instagram: @sundresserin https://www.instagram.com/sundresserin/?hl=en
Personal site: http://www.sundresspublications.com/erin/