Since Emily Corwin and I are Brain Mill Press family, I have been so pleased to see the successes that continue to come her way. Her work has or will appear . . . everywhere. Also, last year, she and JD Thornton (and Soup) started Bad Pony magazine, which you should most definitely read and admire.
Corwin’s poetry is consistent in terms of style and themes. Her language — the words she chooses and the way she lets them play on the page — makes the poems immediately recognizable as hers. Many of the poems read like modern day retellings of fairy tales, stories of girls who have wishes that may or may not come true.
Darkling (Platypus Press, 2016)
Feelings while reading: Imagine digging in your grandmother’s garden, finding a buried box, opening it up, and discovering some short messages. You know they were written to be found. That’s what reading these felt like.
Favorite poems: hex, trellis
Favorite lines: “maybe / some shortbread, maybe a screech and madness, like doll / blood, doll in a pale sheet, cords tied at the back.” (covet)
My Tall Handsome (Brain Mill Press, 2016)
Feelings while reading: Like I was reading spells that have been cast against (and by) the poems’ speaker. Like a witness.
Favorite poems: bramble, part 5 of pretty pretty princess vs. the underworld
Favorite lines: “my tall handsome, you are always / hydrangea in my rib, popped open / always dazzle of salt on my punched lip” (pretty pretty princess vs. the underworld)
Tenderling (Stalking Horse Press, 2018)
Feelings while reading: Drenched in girl-ness: this is a book full of a girl. The voice is young and strong. I love the way the speaker’s actions are described: “I catch coldness here,” “I move like infection,” “I misread the hours,” “I fill a particular dark.” The title of this collection is perfection in terms of the poems inside, tender and fragile.
Favorite poems: smoulder, gutshot, apparition, tenderling, trellis
Favorite image: “no four-chambered heart / just an heirloom tomato” (girl/creature)
Favorite line: “I have been in the / ground, seen the warm milk from a shadow. / when it was after dark, my eyes shone like / insects – horrific, moving too much” (apparition)
Final Thought: Read these books and then give them to a girl to read and then give to another girl and so on.