UNDER YOUR INFLUENCE by Ben Westlie
“Ben Westlie’s Under Your Influence is a plaintive meditation on loneliness, love, and longing. These poems are direct and unadorned, fragile and tender, exposed and trembling. They are what this artificial world needs to hear about the vulnerable and real within us all.” – Daniel Nathan Terry, author of City of Starlings and Waxwings
“Through Under Your Influence, Ben Westlie leads us in a reinvestigation of the world and ourselves. Guided by Westlie’s strong grasp of narrative and his unflinching articulation of pain and loneliness, we sing, shout, traverse the mountainous and unforgiving terrain of memory, and even catch occasional glimmers of the future. Perhaps, as Westlie asserts, it’s happening all over again—but we’ve never experienced any of it quite like this.” – Peter LaBerge, author ofHook
“These are deeply personal and vulnerable poems that capture well what it’s like to seek and flee from intimacy, sometimes simultaneously. Be careful when reading Ben Westlie’s poems—it’s easy to feel like “your chest holds a larger heart,” as if your “small life may be shining.” – Ashley Seitz Kramer, author of Museum of Distance “
“These poems are electric with danger and beauty and surprise. Under Your Influence is a work of great, haunted heart, and Ben Westlie is a sensational talent.” – Laura van den Berg, Find Me
Ben Westlie holds an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has appeared in the anthology Time You Let Me In: 25 Poets Under 25selected and edited by Naomi Shihab Nye, Third Coast, The Fourth River, Atlas and Alice and The Battered Suitcase. He is the author of three previous chapbooksSometimes Out of Turn, Extraordinary Construction and The Performance all published by Finishing Line Press. His poetry had been featured on the radio station KAXE as an author on The Beat and has been a guest editor for Split Rock Review. Ben writes and works in St. Cloud, MN.