New Books Network

Emily Skaja

Brute

Graywolf Press 2019

New Books in Arts & LettersNew Books in LiteratureNew Books in PoetryNew Books Network November 15, 2019 Andrea Blythe

Winner of the Walt Whitman Award, Emily Skaja’s Brute (Graywolf Press, 2019) is a stunning collection of poetry that navigates the dark corridors of trauma...

Winner of the Walt Whitman Award, Emily Skaja’s Brute (Graywolf Press, 2019) is a stunning collection of poetry that navigates the dark corridors of trauma found at the end of an abusive relationship. “Everyone if we’re going to talk about love please we have to talk about violence,” writes Skaja in the poem “remarkable the litter of birds.” She indeed talks about the intersections of both love and violence, evoking a range of emotional experiences ranging from sorrow and loss to rage, guilt, hope, self discovery, and reinvention. These poems reflect the present moment — ripe with cell phones, social media, and technologies that shift the way humans interact with each other — while maintaining a mythic quality, with the speaker feeling like a character struggling to survive in a surreal fairytale world.

Skaja recommends: Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik, My Dark Vanessa by Kate Russel, Long Live the Tribe of Fatherless Girls by T Kira Madden, and Sabrina & Corina: Stories by Kali Fajardo-Anstine.

Emily Skaja was born and raised in rural Illinois. Her first book, BRUTE, won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets (and was published by Graywolf Press in 2019). She holds an MFA from Purdue University and a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Cincinnati. Emily is the recipient of a 2019 Literature Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. Her poems have been published in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Gulf Coast, among other journals. She is also the Poetry Co-Editor of Southern Indiana Review, and she lives in Memphis.

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Andrea Blythe bides her time waiting for the apocalypse by writing speculative poetry and fiction. She is the author of Your Molten Heart / A Seed to Hatch (2018) a collection of erasure poems created from the pages of Trader Joe’s Fearless Flyers, and coauthor of Every Girl Becomes the Wolf (Finishing Line Press, 2018), a collaborative chapbook written with Laura Madeline Wiseman. She is a cohost of the New Books in Poetry podcast and is a member of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association and the Horror Writers Association. Learn more at: www.andreablythe.com