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  • Writer's pictureBelle Kenyon

Elisabeth Horan brings Sylvia Plath to a 2021 audience

Just to the Right of the Stove by Elisabeth Horan, released on February 12th 2021 by TwistIT Press, is an exploration of Elisabeth's life and writing influences, interweaved with a deep affinity for Sylvia Plath's life, mental health and writing processes. This is a conversation for the modern reader and will fascinate those who enjoy Plath's work.

About the Author -

Elisabeth Horan is a poet, mother, and small press publisher living in the wilds of Vermont. She is the author of numerous poetry chapbooks and collections, and the Editor-In-Chief of Animal Heart Press. Elisabeth is passionate about discovering new voices and mentoring emerging poets. She is also a fierce advocate for those impacted by mental illness. Follow her @ehoranpoet and

Extract: Just To The Right Of The Stove

You are so brilliant.

That million filament line;

The gold baby, all the teeth

How do you know those words – the death,

I’ve a call, you know… I once wrote that,

You should remember, if anything, that.

You have two boys, yes?

Two boys, yes, may I ask –

Do you think about it –

Think about what,

Think about the oven, of course – I mean, not Auschwitz –

The little one? she said –

Changing subjects – do you have a Ted?

She interrupts me more than I had previously considered –

Kari Flickinger Reviews:

Elisabeth Horan is a pioneer in remaking the concept of a persona poem with this collection. In “Godammit! Just Hurl That Sink Already”, she plays with meter, rhythm—the building-blocks of language to evoke a feeling both playful and dangerous, “belly all swoll’d up like a capybara in a python.” These tricks evoke a stream-of-conscious dissociation or dismantling of language in “An Interlude” which is starkly contrasted by the instruction to “Just let go” in the poem that follows, “Thankful”. This results in a handful of poems which visually splice along the page, mimicking the process they describe. In “Dabbing the Corners of Our Mouths Like Ladies” Horan makes a questioning assertion that left me breathless, “Did I die, like Sylvia - / or did I survive, / Like Elisabeth.” The sentence forms a question, but the poem ends there. Period. The intention is poignantly aware. This is not a question. Horan has survived, and she gives us so much evidence of her depth of living, “For two hours I laid there with a button under my thumb / Magnets clanging in and around my skull.” This shows us how it feels to be reduced to scientific measurement. Yet, in the first line, “I secretly think I am better than you.” Horan finds a way to burn her reader, (which could be us, or could be Sylvia,) while confiding her most intimate inner-workings, which makes us feel like a trusted friend—as if we are in on the secret and loved, even though it might be about us all.

Her brave, biting words ring on every page of this creation. Telling a story that even Sylvia could not quite get to the heart of, in a voice that hints at Sylvia’s life, but tells it in a way that is uniquely Horan’s voice.

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