• Danielle Holian

Book Feature: Emily Perkovich ‘Expulsion’


“And I woefully realise, the honey-moon’s over”


BOOK REVIEW


Expulsion, content is jaw dropping as each piece is a gripping read and page turner for more excellent storytelling written by Emily Perovich.


From the first page of the poetry book, the powerful writing is present especially in ‘Sweet Tooth’ where she describes how she hates their name comparing it to eating cavities in her teeth and how it haunts her.


There’s great metaphors running through each piece that is pleasantly refreshing with thought-provoking words that demand to be felt.


From writing her heart stops when trying to prove herself to someone in ‘DNR’, to the emotional realisation of never being chosen in ‘I’m Sorry Kid’, parts of the book are depthful, heavy reads that pull on the reader’s heartstrings.


Moving along to daring someone to let her go in ‘Bet’, the cruel confidence acknowledges her skin is etched to theirs, her words ring in their ears, overall consumed every inch of them knowing they will never purge themselves of that feeling that they lost.


The book is incredibly intriguing with writing how poetry spills from her lungs in ‘The Poet is an Open Book’ while the other person is soaked in sweet, poisoned ink that displays she’s let someone in far enough to know her.


It’s a weighing down type of read in the best way possible showing the passionate stories come to life with excellent imagery.


The unfortunate development of their relationship writing as it goes from tangle-entangled, to shaking and aching, to acknowledging they leave her empty, making her feel not enough.


Being themed around letting go of all the ways that she worked through tragedy and loss, Expulsion, deals with heavy emotions of anger and grief that often come with trauma in-turn helping the reader to acknowledge the ache and work towards healing, all with the awareness that healing may never fully come.


The intriguing poetry that evokes emotion with her raw authentic imagery. The poems centralise around toxic love were represented in a reading manner in the destructive writing taking the reader on an emotionally charged journey. It’s an outstanding debut with incredible insight to her craft.


Emily Perkovich is from the Chicago-land area. She is an Art Evaluator for Persephone's Daughters and she spends her free time in the city with her family. Her work strives to erase the stigma surrounding trauma victims and their responses. Her piece This is Performance-Art was a finalist for the 50th New Millennium Writings Award and she was featured in The Divine Feminist Anthology from Get Fresh Books Publishing. She has previously published with Wide Eyes Publishing, Sunday Mornings at the River, Coffin Bell Journal, and Awakened Voices among others. Her chapbook Expulsion was released in April 2020 with Witches N Pink and her novella Swallow is forthcoming with Pegasus Publishers. You can find more of her work on IG @undermeyou


Words by Danielle Holian

INTERVIEW


Tell us a bit about your writing background.


I have no formal background outside of AP classes in high school. My writing love was born from obsessive reading, a vivid imagination, and a sarcastic sense of humor that left me feeling smarter than I actually am.


What, or who, inspired you to start writing?


I get asked this a lot, and I hope I’ve given consistent answers to it. My grandfather was an impressive story teller and I have always loved reading and writing because of him, but I think that the first time I really felt inspired to write in the whole “I want to BE a writer” way was after reading A Wrinkle In Time.


And what influenced your poetry book ‘Expulsion?


Mostly. A string of bad relationships leading into one bad relationship that was a replay of too many of my prior traumas. Honestly, I wrote Expulsion for me. I decided to publish it because I was getting sick of seeing that every poetry book that was written with any amount of narrative had the linear trajectory of a traumatic experience, a sharp outburst of anger, and a complete healing and self acceptance. I don’t think that’s realistic for most people. A lot of it becomes toxic positivity and people should be allowed to have realistic expectations of their emotions surrounding trauma.


How has your life in general influenced your work in general?


I don’t know that there is a part of my life that I really keep off limits. If I haven’t written it, it’s because I’m still searching for the right words. I had a difficult amount of trauma in my life (sometimes self-inflicted, sometimes merely assumed, sometimes real and extreme), and I went to a lot of therapy because of it. It’s made me very observant and very self-aware. I feel it’s important to share the good and the bad realities. I share a lot more of the heavy, difficult emotions surrounding trauma, relationships, and mental health because I think more people have a hard time allowing themselves to feel those.


And how do you find the balance between writing about your own personal experiences and exploring topics that may not necessarily be autobiographical, but still speak to many people?


This probably sounds like a cliche, but I greatly subscribe to writing what I know. Even if a piece is fiction the metaphor tends to be autobiographical or based on observations of society that deeply speak to me. I think that people are so much more similar to each other than they even realize. If you’re writing with empathy for yourself or for others, even if someone doesn’t understand the metaphor or the meaning, it’s likely to still speak to them on the level that they need it.


What makes a piece of your writing right to post on your Instagram, versus the ones that stay in the book?


This question is hard. I went into Expulsion with a definitive purpose— to release my anger and hurt about a relationship. I knew it was going to be short and 99% of the pieces in it were written specifically for the chapbook. My writing style has changed immensely since I wrote Expulsion and at the time I wasn’t posting much online to begin with because of the type of writing I was doing. It was a lot of micro and a lot of cathartic, emotional outbursts. Since I’ve been working on my full length collection I’ve used the rule that if it is written with the book in mind, don’t post it. But about 1/3 of the pieces have seen publication on social media or in zines and journals and were added in because they fit the theme I was writing to. What I’m saying is that I don’t hold back on IG, but if I write something with intent, IG doesn’t get to have it.


And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?


Don’t write for social media. Write because you have to. Social media should be your marketing space, your creative outlet, but it doesn’t need to be your endgame or your certificate of achievement. I see so many amazing writers that stop because they aren’t “producing enough content” or gaining likes and followers. That’s irrelevant. Write because you have to.

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