A recent release from Finishing Line Press, all the time more than anything by Emily Zogbi can be summed up by merely plucking two words from its title: all and more. Within this volume, Zogbi’s language and, thereby, poems blur their edges and consistently expand. She wears the skins of many other women, allowing her to reach outside of herself while remaining personal, an aspect seldom mastered.
This collection moves forward like one is walking through the shifting landscape of a dream, at once familiar and strange. Its terrain is populated by ghosts and memories which wend in and out of frame without losing their intimacy. One such specter is a moment from childhood when a father’s mythological story of his own past becomes an anchor point in the poet’s life. As a reader, there are a number of anchor points to connect with, including family, mental health, and the familiar lullaby of women’s voices including Sylvia Plath, Emily Dickenson, and St. Lucy.
“I Help Lara Croft with Her First Kill”, my favorite piece, shows a mastery of both story and structure as the speaker explores her relationship with Lara Croft. The boundaries between her and the character blend in opposition to the broken visuals of the lines:
Me + Lara
learn to / see in the dark / be invisible / weep
From this melding comes the writer’s commentary of a woman’s experience. Rife with trials of physical and mental strain, the intermingled experience is hauntingly hopeful as the poem concludes with “I think she’s not gonna make it / then she does.”
In another poem, “Kings Park Psychiatric Center”, recounts a visit to the abandoned hospital with a friend to see this giant’s corpse. The personified building is female and eerie, described as “ancient,” “hunched,” and “mayhemed”. Like the building, the girls reflect on their likely entry into the chasm of her jaws has they lived in the 1950’s, triggering the speaker to ask “How many of me lie inside her, / harpooned into submission”?
Here is a work which smolders, smearing reality into a conglomeration of voices, limbs and defining moments. Zogbi’s is a world to take your time exploring.
Purchase your copy today at Finishing Line Press