Please join us on May 15 from 6:30 - 8:00 at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco to celebrate the publication of Emily Wolahan’s poetry collection, “Hinge.”
Emily Wolahan and Claire Marie Stancek will read and Corissa Bragg will perform music. Enjoy refreshments and the wonderful bookstore, Alley Cat Books. Families welcome.
Claire Marie Stancek is a PhD candidate in the English Department at UC Berkeley, where she teaches classes on nineteenth century literature and creative writing. Her most recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Oversound, RealPoetik, Berkeley Poetry Review, Animal, Typo, and elsewhere.
Corrissa Bragg is a singer songwriter from Cleveland, OH. Her songs focus on emotive lyrics, strong vocals, and simple, yet, melodious guitar playing. She’s sung all across the USA, Central American and India. The adventures continue now that she lives in California. Bragg was named one of the top artists to watch in 2010 by Cleveland’s Scene magazine after she debuted her first full length album: “This Is Everything I Own.”
Emily Wolahan’s poetry has been published in Boston Review, Omniverse, Gulf Coast and DIAGRAM. She is an Editor of JERRY Magazine and a member of the San Francisco Writer’s Grotto. She lives in San Francisco and teaches writing in the Bay Area. Hinge is her first collection of poetry.
Hinge, National Poetry Review Press, January 30, 2015
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 “The only guarantee is the world / in transition.” This awareness walks hand in hand with Wolahan’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 “The dunes of Dhaharan shift one centimeter” and comes to the ocean “To watch it differ.” Moreover, she is a student not merely of the world’s design per se, but also of the ways it affects our own composite structures, the shaping hand it has on her self and others’: “Recall the marigold,” she writes, “a ﬂower that breaks / into a thousand pieces / leaving us to pine for its solid gathering.” 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 that—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 can’t also find in, among, or through its obsessions at least one key to happiness, even to love: “When I look at you I desire / to be known. / And, in this, / reuniﬁed.”
—Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation
Presiding over Hinge is a fierce and forwandering intelligence, one that preserves the traces of its coming to consciousness of all that surrounds it and that it surrounds. These poems know that something is exchanged for apprehension, the way a wave removes part of what it reveals of the beach that understands it. This book is full of arguments, poems with “Argument” in their titles, but also arguments conducted between interiors and exteriors, what Woolf called “moments of being” and “moments of non-being,” images and afterimages: “Sifted, slated to routine, / a sunless morning, banked fire, / the diadem of hedge dew. // Oh, no—thank you. // You are convenient, I can afford you— / but no thank you all the same.” Also “wound and winding” in these poems is an honest and gorgeous treatment of motherhood—the arguments it has with, and in common with, other forms of work. Simone Weil, writing of factory work and women’s work, talked about “the kind of suffering no laborer talks about.” So too does Wolahan. She renders it, agitates it, so that it lifts: “It seems phenomenal an animal / can still hold in that air. / That some solutions / become answers, their spatial disclosure / a forklift of readiness. And the rest: / our unseen day / carried on and up and away.”
––Jane Gregory, author of My Enemies
Emily Wolahan's debut, Hinge, positions the reader at water’s edge, yes, but also: the edge of morning, edge of sleep, edge of house, and marks these borders: “from my back door/I see plot./Wall. Swallows/collecting grass seeds.” Wolahan accounts for the delicate hinges between pronouns, and through this poet’s attentive gaze, we see the seams between the known and unknown, the there, not yet there, and Wolahan reminds us: the ever there: their. By simultaneously seeing and asking what is seen, Wolahan performs the stakes in the hinges, the: “Here is evidence I’ve been working” where “The solution’s just there.”
––Michelle Taranksy, author of Sorry Was In The Woods