Gnashing Teeth Publishing

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the catastrophe of after: a short-stay diary

the catastrophe of after: a short-stay diary by Emily Kay MacGriff, is a chapbook written in response to the (unpublished) full manuscript, Catastrophic States of Water. The latter investigates the collapse of identity and memory in geographical and temporal distance. the catastrophe of after furthers this investigation as it interacts with the eccentricities, loss and wildness of pregnancy and new life.

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Emily's work speaks with a directness to me, the images deepen as I read them, I feel their physical presence ... there are stories in these poems, tight, humane, compassionate for the moment she catches ...excellent work.

Emily MacGriff’s poems circle the globe, moving almost deliriously from life in the arctic to intimate scenes between a mother and a baby, teetering all the while on dangerous emotional precipices. Through these dizzying moves, they craft startling “shapes like sour passion / fruit or sunken garlic,” as if attempting to find the right snack to maintain equilibrium, “to not upset the sea / and keep my nose above water.

Emily Kay MacGriff writes with precision; her lines stand alone. Each image is a complex repository of soul. In this work, Emily unlocks the taste of acorns and their mystery along with the bitterness of ashes and what frigid sea water feels like in the dark. An enjoyable, deep and enriching work of art. She engulfs the human form, highlighting the active contrasts of human nature, life and death, love and need.

Meet the Author

Emily is a writer and bookmaker living in Detroit. She’s heavily guided by her work aboard expedition vessels as a naturalist in the polar regions, South Pacific and British Isles. Since retiring from shipboard life, Emily has focused on navigating her world as a woman, artist and mother. In 2022 she earned an MFA in Writing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, founded the MacGriff Writing Studio and joined the MA/MFA Design for Climate Action faculty at the College for Creative Studies.

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