This Woman is Haunted, by Betsy Littrell
Betsy Littrell’s debut collection explores the secrets that women keep. Using both lyrical and narrative styles, her voice is strong and real as she searches for peace through childhood, relationships, womanhood and motherhood. The experiences are often shared universally, but not often spoken about, from infidelity to rape to miscarriage and loss. This honest and unafraid collection dives deep into the haunting that can’t help to rise to the surface, despite the strength of someone trying to push the ghosts away. In the end, there is always hope, and the resiliency of women can lead to joy despite, or perhaps because of, the reality and vulnerability that has shaped them.
In THIS WOMAN IS HAUNTED Betsy Littrell has created a world we think we know and yet one that surprises us with its nuances and lyric details. Elegies, songs of praise to daily life, meditations and portrait poems here all want to give us a dwelling space, to fortify, to solace, while highlighting that mystery and clarity are our companions, taking us on the journey that is this life. Beautiful debut.
—Ilya Kaminsky, Dancing In Odessa and Deaf Republic
A series of intimate narrative monologues reveals the story of a woman of a certain age who frets over her hair, her weight, her place in a world that whirls about her. She could be any woman, and she knows more than you think…if you push her hair aside/next to her right ear//you might notice/a small tattoo of a lock with no key; in other words,as every woman, she remains, perhaps,even to herself, enigmatic, a woman without a key. Amen, she says in the poem that closes and blesses this collection, so be it.
—Sandra Alcosser, Except by Nature
Betsy Littrell’s debut collection, THIS WOMAN IS HAUNTED, brings opposing forces—the public and the private self, the past and the present, the refined and the coarse—together into the compressed lyric mode until the poems begin to vibrate with urgency.
—Blas Falconer, Forgive the Body This Failure