Recently I had the pleasure of reading an inquiry concerning a novel by Gleah Powers. Because Canopic Publishing is already committed to publishing a novel in the coming months (more on that elsewhere) I was forced to put my response on hold—regrettably. And I say regrettably because I explored the work of the author and was immediately pulled in by her grasp of prose style and the general energy of her work. But that was just one thread of many. Gleah Powers is an artist with many avenues of expression. Most of my artistic friends and colleagues have more than one genre in which they indulge. But usually there is an obvious primary hat to wear: an actor who paints, a painter who writes poetry, a poet who dances, a dancer who writes short stories. Gleah wears all of these hats, and more, and damned if I can identify the main hat. To my sensibilities her voice is remarkably strong in whatever media she fancies. So I invited her to share some of that art with Canopic Jar, and, fortunately, she agreed.
Gleah Powers was born in Chicago and grew up in Phoenix, Dallas and Ft. Lauderdale. In her mid-teens she began studying art, working for a professional artist in exchange for classes. She traveled to Mexico City in her early 20s to attend art school and worked as a performer dancing on top of a baby grand piano in a nightclub act.
When she returned to the States, she continued her art studies at California Institute of the Arts. Later, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in theatre, studying acting, singing and dance.
Gleah has supported herself in a number of ways—as a model, a bartender, a shoeshine girl, a salesperson, a clown, a secretary, an administrative assistant to a wealthy philanthropist, and as an explorer and teacher of alternative therapies.
In her early 30s she returned to making art, exhibiting and selling her work. Some years later, when the content of her paintings became more and more narrative, she turned to writing. At first, she wrote plays: monologues and one-acts which she staged with actors and directors or performed herself in a series of dramatic readings. This was a natural step after her experience in theatre. Diane Ladd, Emma Thompson and Gordon Davidson, among others, strongly supported and expressed admiration for her work.
For more than a decade, Gleah has devoted herself to fiction and poetry, receiving an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University Los Angeles where she is an adjunct faculty member. Her work has appeared in print and online in KYSO Flash, riverSedge, The Best of Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Red Savina Review, Southwestern American Literature, Prime Number Magazine and other literary journals. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and a three-time shortlisted finalist in the Summer Literary Seminars Contest. Her hybrid collection of poetry, prose and monologues, In the Valley of the Sun, was a finalist in Split Lip Press’ Turnbuckle Chapbook Contest. Her story, “Art Lessons,” was recognized in “Notable Stories” in the Million Writers Award. She has been awarded writing residencies from Vermont Studio Center, Rancho Linda Vista arts community, Starry Night Retreat/Artist Residency; and she is also the recipient of a grant from the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund.