ABP- Thank you for taking this interview, Emma. This past spring we had the privilege of publishing “In Case I Live Forever”, a chapbook that ended up being our best selling title for the month of May.
What can you tell us about the process of writing this collection?
EM- Absolutely! I started this project in the spring of 2021, and I worked on it off and on over the next year. Because this collection takes place on a chronological timeline, and my character had no time constraints, the sky was the limit for what I wanted to research and write. The process for me really looked like picking a time period and a place, and then researching the poetic forms most popular there at that time. Then I would look at my timeline, see the mood of the other poems around it, and go from there. It was like putting together a big puzzle, and it made it so much more fun following the same character the entire time.
ABP– Can you share a poem from In Case I Live Forever with us here?
EM- I think one of my favorite poems from the collection is “She Who Saw the Deep.” It’s a ballad inspired by the old English epic poems like Beowulf, and it’s eight pages (much too long to print here, I’m afraid). It took me about five hours to write in one sitting, and it’s my favorite because I really was crafting this huge story and I knew I could only let the reader see it through a small window. I used a lot of what are called “kennings” which are old English poetic conventions where two nouns are squished together to make a new noun. So I have words like “king-graves” and “warrior-gods” sprinkled throughout in an homage to the style.
ABP- Who is your favorite writer? What is your favorite book?
EM- Oooh tough question. I think when it comes to poetry I love the poetry of Naomi Shihab-Nye and Luci Shaw. They both have their own distinct style that really inspires me in my own work. And I’m also super lucky to have two lovely women in my life who inspire me every day with their poetry: Katie Manning and Margarita Pintado-Burgos. They teach at my university, and their work is so amazing and they’re great people to be around. As for my favorite book, I’d have to say the Martian by Andy Weir. I can’t get enough of it, and I re-read it all the time!
ABP– What is the art/lit scene like in San Diego, CA these days?
EM- It’s fantastic! There are so many cool writers and poets and artists to get connected with. I recently was a featured reader at the San Diego Festival of Books hosted by UCSD, and I got to hear from some really amazing poets like Rudy Fransisco. I’m looking forward to getting more involved with open mics and book launches and celebrations this year, because there’s a lot happening.
ABP– Do you have any works in progress, or upcoming events that you would like to mention? Any plans for 2023?
EM- So many plans! I’m one of those insufferable writers who always has to be working on something. I have a chapbook that’s completed and is currently in the review process at a few presses, so I’m hoping that will happen this year or next year. I’m also most of the way done with a full length book on Biblical prophecy, and I’m just so excited about that. It’s the biggest poetry project I’ve undertaken, and so much work is going into it I just know that when it’s done I’ll be really proud of it. So look out for it in 2023!
Additionally, I’ve been trying to stretch myself this year, so I’m one draft into a fantasy novel. Prose is a very different process than poetry, but I’m enjoying the challenge.
ABP- Thank you again for taking this interview, Emma. If there is anything else that we did not cover, please feel free to tell us about it.
EM- Thanks for having me! It was really such a treat to be able to publish “In Case I Live Forever” with ABP. For any fans of narrative poetry, old fashioned epics, or a plain old fun story, be sure to head to ABP to check out “In Case I Live Forever”!