Emily Wolahan explores the interstitial space between words and between people. She notes, “The electrical charge of an encounterâ€”with another or with oneselfâ€”creeps into and charges my work. I like to explore the action of thinking and the action of looking.”
An open mic follows.
Jerry Ferraz, m.c.
BY EMILY WOLAHAN
(forthcoming from National Poetry Review Press, 2014)
Hinge is a book fixated on contingency and what it might mean to live in it. These meditative lyrics are radically, at times painfully aware that anything could happen, that â€œThe only guarantee is the world / in transition.â€ This awareness walks hand in hand with Wolahanâ€™s almost preternatural sensitivity to cause and effect, the syntax of the physical and the interplay of the parts that make up any given whole. More than any younger poet I can think of, Wolahan is attuned to the engineering of the world she walks through as well as to the musical possibilities it suggests; she notices when â€œThe dunes of Dhaharan shift one centimeterâ€ and comes to the ocean â€œTo watch it differ.â€ Moreover, she is a student not merely of the worldâ€™s design per se, but also of the ways it affects our own composite structures, the shaping hand it has on her self and othersâ€™: â€œRecall the marigold,â€ she writes, â€œa ï¬‚ower that breaks / into a thousand pieces / leaving us to pine for its solid gathering.â€ Hinge is a startlingly mature, refined debut. If it is also a cerebral one (hardly a criticism), it is no less intimate or personable for thatâ€”in fact, reading the book, you feel made privy to the inner workings of an exemplary mind, one not so committed to scrutiny and analysis that it canâ€™t also find in, among, or through its obsessions at least one key to happiness, even to love: â€œWhen I look at you I desire / to be known. / And, in this, / reuniï¬ed.â€
â€”Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation
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