a SPD poetry bestseller
“In her latest collection, the fiercely gifted Emilia Phillips offers a breviary of film noir kōans (‘public cases’) that interrogate, singly and collectively, what John Keats called the ‘vale of soul-making.’ Each key- or peep-hole-shaped lyric presents a riddle, a ‘scene,’ in and across which a fluid cast of characters (the vagrant, a child, the citizen, the lover, the diplomat, the mannequin, the archaeologist, the parade, the neighbors), including a host of animals (owl, snake, dog, cat, mice), appear and reappear in relation to recurring sites of possibility, most of them empty or dangerously inhabited—a metal chair, the crematory, a dairy, a heap of snow, a discarded tire, musical instruments, mouths, an abandoned house, a frozen pond. By playing with the discourse and tropes of clues, proofs, and evidence, Phillips remains true to the ineffability that haunts the crux of the body/soul mystery.” —Lisa Russ Spaar
“In this collection, Emilia Phillips speaks with stunning eloquence for the mute and inanimate; with her singular lyric power reveals the dream-life of objects and travails of animal-souls. Strange, disquieting and wonderful.” —Amy Beeder
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