Emily Critchley

Theo Inglis (Design) TJ Books (Printer)




ISBN: 9781913513085


Publication date: 3 May 2021



Home, the latest collection from writer Emily Critchley, is part experimental confession, part elegiac plea. It is an exploration of the damage done by, in and to many different manifestations of ‘home’: with poetry about child abuse, wrongful imprisonment, #MeToo, borders, Brexit, ‘our lost biophilia’ and global warming, among other issues. It is also an attempt to work through the pieces of a broken family, a broken society and a broken planet, with the only tools the poet can summon.

Whatever shards of hope we may pick out of the wreckage must be in the understanding that we are capable of doing more – as individuals and collectively – to write a different future for ourselves and those with whom we share, indeed create, ‘home’. This collection looks to a new ‘binding ground’ – something stabler beneath all our feet – and hopes a turning point, a ‘being otherwise’, may be under way.

‘Emily Critchley lets us in on the odyssey of a brilliant mind as it swerves through the measuring, drawing of lines, borders, pointed guns of a relationship – its “thousand spilled birds” – back home, to that ability to “cut out all the things / that speak us wrongly”. She offers an urgent reminder that a sense of home, like the soul, is “capacity, & not the thing”, and that our greatest defense against others wielding power over us is to maintain our connection to this fundamental source that exists in each of us.’ – Nuar Alsadir

‘To be taken through this collection is to move with buoyant and original poetics, politically and linguistically looking towards experimentation, but an experiment that situates itself firmly in an idea of friendship, radical empathy, and community. This poetry holds a generosity of self at its heart. Self here is refracted and stitched back together through a capable and masterful poetry, and understanding that poems can create wayward routes away from and towards knowing ourselves and knowing others. The networked power of these poems travels deep into the groundwork of this collection, like a mesh, as we are told in the beginning: “Everything is a part of everything that is a part of everything else”.’ – Rachael Allen

‘In Home Emily Critchley presents the paradox of extreme subtlety; the poems are almost unbearably apt. They make us experience language as the body of thought. They force us to acknowledge words as cause and effect, as part of the how of home, and to examine what it means to make sense of things. Home is an important work of ethical urgency and aesthetic renewal.’ – Edward Doegar

‘Invaluable, brave, brilliant, this book is care work. Home, in Critchley’s telling, is as dangerous and wild as anywhere. Family is a structure to unfold. The wolf, the she-wolf, is at the door, gazing out, not in. She’ll carry the polis to safety gently, in her teeth.’ – Catherine Wagner

‘The titular Home of Emily Critchley’s collection is not so much a place as a direction and an invocation, its verse epigraph from Denise Riley asking forbearance for “these animals of unease”. Home cannot promise a safe place, however, either from reduction to property or the threat of violence. Whether wayward or domestic, these poems, together with their dedicatees, invoke the moon as “part of a shared / sky”. Love must be protected from panic, doubt and petrifaction; love must still sing as Emily Critchley’s descant rises from its congregation, between the poetical moon and “this binding ground”.’ – John Wilkinson

‘A generous collection, full of outward gestures to an expansive poetic community and lineage, inlaid with paths into situatedness and belonging. Critchley’s imaginings, awakenings and dismantlings of home brim with intellectual curiosity, taking the reader up to, and into, the boundaries, allowing them to move – and read – with increased spaciousness.’ – Elizabeth-Jane Burnett