Emilie Lindemann holds a Ph.D. in English--Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin—Milwaukee. She is the author of several chapbooks, including Small Adult Trees/Small Adulteries and Queen of the Milky Way (both from dancing girl press). Emilie’s poems have appeared in Arsenic Lobster Poetry Journal, Columbia Poetry Review, Hummingbird Magazine of the Short Poem, PANK, Stoneboat, Verse Wisconsin, and other journals. An associate professor of English at Silver Lake College, she lives on a farm with her husband and their son in rural Wisconsin. mother-mailbox is her first full-length collection.
The protean, inner life of the keenest of observers is made visible in mother-mailbox. The dimorphic yet winsome tone of these poems—swelling with sentiment but bereft of sentimentality—lends credence to two Wallace Stevens dictums that there is no poetry without the personality of the poet and that the poet’s purpose is to push back against reality. Emilie Lindemann’s unique work here, as well as defends, haunts, an air of mystery pervasive at first, the apparition itself that of tangible loss, then the afterbirth of that void she so adroitly buries—not so much with sarcasm, not with black humor, but beneath a deepest blue aesthetic of the absurd.
—Karl Elder, Lorine Niedecker Award recipient and author of Gilgamesh at the Bellagio.
It’s a challenge to find words for a book that addresses silence(s) as adeptly as does Emilie Lindemann’s mother-mailbox. But there are things you need to know about this collection. For instance, how Lindemann uses formal devices such as the zuihitsu form and intentional space between brackets to explore gaps and patterns in the textures and contexts of women’s lives. And how she draws not only on personal experience with miscarriage, pregnancy and postpartum depression, but also turns to the lives and examples of two other Wisconsin women, poet Lorine Niedecker and artist Lavija Patikne, to suggest the all-but-invisible, all-but-inaudible sympathies that vibrate between us across distance and time. These poems emerge from that moment when life presses us right up sharp against the surfaces of things. Following Lindemann through such well crafted mazes, the reader goes “leaking or tearing or stretching or / entering / the unknown.” It is a trip well worth the taking.
—Sarah Sadie, author of We Are Traveling Through Dark at Tremendous Speeds
With a poignant blend of heartbreak and amusement, the imaginative epistles that fill Emilie Lindemann’s mother-mailbox explore the peculiarities, wonder, and at times, acute loss experienced in motherhood, both realized and missed, as the poems’ speakers share embodied perceptions of pregnancy, childbirth, miscarriage, and postpartum depression. Lindemann’s technicolor imagery, unorthodox humor, and inventive word play subvert expectations at every turn making us wish that expressions like “blighted o[h!]vum” and stories about fireflies boogying past Zukofsky’s “Brooklyn window in shiny skirts” were tucked into the letters that land each day in our own expectant mailboxes.
—Brenda Cárdenas, Associate Professor of English, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee