The Weekend Read: Emma Healey

You exist but don’t get too excited you exist next to Jersey Shore chain bookstores the emergence of the soy latte as a cultural signifier, the word “unlike.” The slow consonance of billboards leading out. Your sulk makes our air taste like teeth and our libraries nasal with stuck fines we all want our roads back so try to be Other to shake it off here: Get a haircut. Resolve. Name your cat Morrissey after Morrissey and a bad day at work, stick your head in the fridge, call up other cities and fall apart when asked to hold. Locate your spine and then teach it new traffic collect lanes brakelights and keep it in clusters. Get complicated. At parties do way too close a reading of white wine corner someone and tell them populous has nothing to do with actual numbers. Get caught leaving a suburban Home Depot with two left taps and an unmatched faucet down your pants. Go on strike. Crush glasses in your sleep with the weight of your citizenry. Get a headache so hard it blooms a whole highway. Weigh your signage compile it and pull in a border; maybe try to let sprawling decide where the signs end for once. Heat your ambitions with every room, blush a new suburb when your airport gets a B+ in McLeans. Impress yourself. Be at once possessed of knees and unraised; break a bridge for the fuck of it, push dissent with new trash cans and more karaoke bars. Breathe in – stray receipts, lighter-shells, bike tires like details, resent – and trace back routes. Weather it.

“Civil” was read at the inaugural Synapse reading at Concordia and appeared on the reading series’ blog. Here’s a brief conversation. Emma, why prose poetry?

EH: In general: Not sure yet. But for me: I like how a prose poem sounds things. I like that kind of forward rhythm you can get, I like when something looks huge and brickish and imposing and then you look again and it turns out it’s tiny and delicate and strange. Plus I tend toward listing, and I’m less cautious about things than I should be. It fits.

LH: When and where and how did you fall under the spell of the prose poem?

EH: In the summer after the 10th grade I took this English/poetry class with a bunch of other high school kids, and we had this amazing, crazy teacher who assigned readings from Tender Buttons but also, like, Letters to Wendy’s, and I thought they were pretty awesome but I guess I may have been the only one. We got assigned prose poems for homework – each student was supposed to write one of their own and then read it in front of the class the next day, and for some reason all the other kids just hated that. Everyone was just completely and thoroughly unimpressed by the prose poem, in every possible way. I remember one girl saying to me: “These aren’t real. This isn’t a real thing. I’m refusing to write one.” Which, I mean, it’s pretty impossible not to fall in love with something like that.

LH: Favorite prose poet?

EH: Tie: Frank O’Hara, Donald Barthelme, my mother.

LH: What we should know about you?
EH: This is a terrifying question! Um. That I’m blind in one eye and make excellent curry. That I do this. That I just googled the phrase “what should we know about you?” to see if there was a good answer I could steal but all that came up was an interview with Tila Tequila where she says: “They have to understand that everything I’ve done I’ve done on my own […] It’s just all me and I did it myself. It takes a lot of work and energy. I definitely did it on my own.” That I am secretly Tila Tequila, and it takes a lot of work and energy but I definitely did it on my own.

Emma Healey is a Creative Writing major and Philosophy minor at Concordia University. She is from Toronto but now lives in the plateau of Montreal. Her fiction has appeared in Joyland, Broken Pencil, Cellstories, Can’tLit and Gulch. She is the founder and editor in chief of the Incongruous Quarterly.

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