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Publisher's Summary

A lively and imaginative debut, Neoteny explores blindness, family, and birdsong. In these poems, Emily K. Michael meditates on literary and personal heroes like Jo March, her beloved grandmother, and her guide dog. This collection is rich with treasures from childhood - the honey-colored piano Michael played, the fig tree in her front yard, and the trays of fresh mint drying on her grandmother's table. 

The poems move between a child mind and an adult's perspective as Michael contemplates the rich emotional power of commonplace objects and the way her own blindness complicates everyday situations. Emily K. Michael is a blind poet, musician, and writing instructor from Jacksonville, FL. Since 2016, she has worked as the associate poetry editor for Wordgathering: A Journal of Disability Poetry and Literature. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Wordgathering, The Hopper, Artemis Journal, The South Carolina Review, The Deaf Poets Society, Nine Mile Magazine, Bridge Eight, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog, Barriers and Belonging, and AWP Writer's Notebook

Her first chapbook manuscript Natural Compliance won Honorable Mention in The Hopper's 2016 Prize for Young Poets. Emily's work centers on ecology, disability, and music. She develops grammar workshops for multilingual learners and delivers poetry workshops for writers at all levels. She regularly reads at Jax By Jax, a yearly literary festival celebrating Jacksonville writers. Emily is passionate about grammar, singing, birding, and guide dogs. Find more of her work at http://emilykmichael.com.

©2019 Emily K. Michael (P)2020 Emily K. Michael

What listeners say about Neoteny: Poems

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Poems Shed Light on Life

I don’t recommend starting this collection on an empty stomach. The author’s descriptions of delectable delights in "Ajeen" and other poems about food at the beginning will make your mouth water, and you’ll abandon any plans to enjoy some poetry before lunch. But if you download the Audible version, you can eat and read poetry simultaneously if you wish.
I love the way Emily Michael narrates her own poetry here. The piano interlude at the end gives the production a nice touch. I could identify with “Blindness Locked Me Out” and her poems about playing music and attending concerts. I also appreciate how she tells us what being blind is not. This collection isn’t just about blindness. Even if you are experiencing vision loss, it will enlighten you on a variety of topics.

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A Collection of Astonishing Beauty

In “Mint,” the second poem of Emily K. Michael’s brilliant collection, Neoteny, she recalls the scent of her grandmother’s dining room “bunches of mint still damp from washing afford the house their fragrance.” In the poem’s final line she states, “I hail the commonplace: dewy and sharp.”

The gift Michael gives her readers is contained in that line. The 34 expertly crafted poems in this book make the world feel fresher, newer as we all hail the commonplace along with her.

Michael relishes the sound of “a wood thrush trilling to the amphitheater of storm-trashed limbs,” the “hint of sea salt” in the “warm half moon” of fresh peanut butter on her tongue, and the “quiet jingle” of her guide dog’s collar.

In “Sap” she praises:

Tides rushing under rough curtain
My ear pressed quiet to the bark
No shining shell to catch the ocean.

There’s musicality and passion in Michael’s voice which makes Neoteny a joy to listen to, something I plan to do many times.

A collection and a reading of astonishing beauty.

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Wonderful Poetry Collection 5 stars

Neoteny: Poems was a 5 star read!

The 34 poems in this collection are all impressive, no duds or fillers! Emily covers daily life, shares anecdotes, features her guide dog York, and family tales.

I especially enjoyed the various poems about her love story. We can all relate to the beautiful moments & feelings her poems evoke.
I now NEED her to write a screenplay or fun sweet romantic comedy novel!

Neoteny: Poems is a wonderful collection of poems centering on ecology, disability, and music.

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