The Buzz

Head of the English Department, Emily Kingery, Releases A Chapbook

“When the doctor says safe, he means the way turtleneck sweaters are safe, the way carrying a flour sack for a week is safe. He asks about her habits: hemlines, perfumes, candy-flavored glosses. She plays along with yeses; she understands that sweetness attracts bees. Worse than the stings, the gloss never lasts, smeared off on some upholstery, some floor. The magazines don’t tell you that.

She recites her catalog of pain. Some of it is precise (surgeries, bees), though most of it is unsayable (disappointment, hers; disappointment, mother’s). The doctor nods a slow-pounding gavel. You have admirers, he says, and isn’t it thrilling to be admired? His smile resembles zipper teeth. On the nearby chair, her clothes are layered, neat as cake. Yes, she concedes. She hallucinates pink frosting.

At home, she takes her Cosmopolitan quiz. Each pump of her heart becomes a pulse of syrup, of yes, of no smothered in yes, like children’s medicine. When she sleeps, she savors a dream of decadent cake and a man’s teeth rotting. They loosen and fall from his wide, wet maw. There are teeth by the hundreds, clicking a floor. Some are knifed out from the jawbones.” 

– SEVENTEEN by Emily Kingery

Here at St. Ambrose, we have a budding amount of creatives both students and faculty, and staff. Dr. Emily Kingery is head of the English Department and recently announced her new book being published later this month. Kingery works hands-on with students daily in and outside of class. She teaches various courses in creative writing and also is the faculty advisor for the campus’s student-run art magazine, Quercus. Kingery’s love for her students and their art can be seen in every class she teaches. Kingery shared the following about her experience at SAU, 

“I love the variety of what I teach. It runs the gamut from the British Romantic poets to contemporary experimental novelists, from the nuts and bolts of morphology to big sociolinguistic questions, from “Put a comma here” to “The question at the heart of your essay is blowing me away!” 

Kingery shared that creating the book has been a long process as some poems were first drafted a decade ago. The project itself has come to life, curating, editing, submitting, and publishing, within the past couple of years. Kingery shares how the process of creating this book has been,

 “I often return to familiar subjects and themes in my work, so it made sense to start bringing together individual pieces into a cohesive collection. For Invasives, the narrative arc emerged naturally; a lot of the book is grounded in personal experience. The poems stand on their own (and several from the book have appeared this way in literary journals), but taken together, they give the reader something new. I wanted to give that something to readers.

The Book’s synopsis is as follows: INVASIVES is a dark daydream in a small Midwestern town: a place of hunger, dizzying narcotics, and dormant lies in children’s minds. Here, a coming-of-age story emerges in delectable scenes, words that open and close like petals, and images that knife as easily as if through stems. INVASIVES conjures familiar dangers, then slices them open and enchants them. It softens into myth a love that refuses to disappear.

Kingery later stated, 

“The book turned out to be an elegy for someone I love, and I love that I have something tangible to put into the world in his honor.”
The book “Invasives” can be purchased at the author’s website and on the publisher’s site