Microbursts (2nd edition)

Elizabeth Reeder & Amanda Thomson

Amanda Thomson & Traven T. Croves (Design) KOPA, Lithuania (Printer)




ISBN: 9781913513061


Publication date: 8 February 2021



microbursts is a collection of hybrid, lyric essays about the places between life and death; memoir and poetry; making and letting go. Originally written by Reeder as an intense text-based collection of lyric and experimental essays responding to the illnesses and deaths of her parents, it confronts the raw emotions of crisis, grief and creativity. Through collaboration with Thomson, the project expanded to consider how design and visual intervention might alter the nature and impact of the text.

The outcome is a book which explores the subjects of illness, crisis, creativity, caring, death and grief, alongside the aesthetic and formal concerns of cross-genre writing, including how image, formatting and text work together to create tension, understanding and pace, expanding the possibilities of the essay and the artist’s book.

Formally audacious, linguistically fluid, sensitive and intricate in its visual presentation, microbursts uses the potential and elasticity of the essay form to explore intensely personal, yet universal, experiences and considers the ways in which we can express and communicate these through spatial and linguistic form. Crucially, it achieves these things effortlessly, with its accessible, poetic language and engaging narrative of family, love, care, grief, dying, death and creativity.

microbursts is a sparklingly original, tender book that remakes language with delicacy and verve – finding new ways to speak loss, change and the many layered movements of the self.’ – Rebecca Tamás

microbursts shows that grief is communal, that love is experimental, that forms are yet to be decided. This book is a generous lesson in living and dying.’ – Maria Fusco

‘Reeder writes of grief and its siblings, anger and not knowing, with the surety of an initiate. The in-between time of illness shatters and scatters language. Thomson creates a cohesive reading space to contain these fragments. Shadows of past and future texts ghost expanses of white paper. Punctuation hangs in the balance. In these soft absences. Language has time. To regroup. To recover.’ – J. R. Carpenter

microbursts is… a map of loss and wonder that charts the tectonic plates of life and death at the places where they rub together.’ – Sophie Ward

microbursts is a master-class in the necessary constructedness of fine elegy that renders the heart-wrenching buoyant… Under the fierce beams of its fateful subject, the willingness of language to move freely, poetically, in bird-like hoverings and escapes, produces a rare haunting resonance.’ – Jeffrey Robinson

‘It’s a magical act to make something from the fragments of two lives crumbling. It might be called a work of art. To make a piece of paper out of fragments of a tree, it is necessary first to break them down into microbursts. Reconstructed it is never a tree, but it might be a map. Reeder and Thomson have made a map of grief from the fragments of two lives crumbling, a map we might be able to find our way by.’ – Joanna Walsh

microbursts is as elegant as it is daring, a “needlesharp” interdisciplinary primer on how to communicate the quiet discoveries and sublime pains of the lived experience. The project presents stirring testimony to the crucial roles of inquiry, Queer collaboration, and experimentation in 21st-century artmaking.’ – Margot Douaihy

‘Haunting, beautiful, honest. This is an incredibly relatable and carefully curated collection of writing and imagery about love, grief and creativity. It is a wholly original, truthful and sensitive portrayal of life and loss’ – Annie Lyons