Announcing My First Book!

Are you ready for some great news?

I am thrilled to announce that Finishing Line Press is publishing my first book! Neoteny: Poems is a poetry chapbook (a collection of about 35 poems) — and it’s my first solo book! Neoteny will be released at the end of this year!

Here is my beautiful cover, with art by Chelsea Whiteman.

Neoteny will soon be available for pre-order through Amazon and through the Finishing Line website.

Why Neoteny?

This collection is named after a biological term that has always stayed with me ever since I heard it. Some words have their own music, and “neoteny” has always sounded powerful to me. I first heard of this concept in Dr. Stuart Brown’s 2018 TED Talk, “Play is more than just fun.” Brown describes the importance of knowing our “play histories” – the games we played as children and the activities that delighted our imagination. He puts the word “neoteny” up on the screen and explains how humans are the most “neotenous” species.

What is neoteny? It is when a species retains the playfulness, imagination, and plasticity of childhood into adulthood. Biologically, it helps species adapt and survive because they are willing to imagine and explore. Psychologically, it is keeping your child-mind. One wise man said “Become like little children.” Another called it “beginner’s mind.” Neoteny is the willingness to admit we don’t know everything and the eagerness to dwell in possibility.

For me, neoteny is about humility, playfulness, and, most of all, hope. I have built this collection with poems of remembering, love, laughter, and occasional sadness. They are poems that play with even the most serious feelings and experiences. Perhaps these poems are my play history.

Here’s what other poets are saying about Neoteny:

Neoteny is a remarkable chapbook of ars poeticas, Blind pride and love poems. One poem has me thinking of Edna St. Vincent Millay; another of John Milton. This is an impressive debut.”

Jillian Weise, author of The Book of Goodbyes

Emily K. Michael’s poems are, to borrow her own phrase, ‘Spoken with brave sweetness.’ Refreshingly lyrical and non-didactic, her work represents a new voice in disability writing, one that is addressed to friends and loved ones rather than to an anonymous and hostile public. This collection creates an intimate space in which insiders and outsiders alike can feel at home.

John Lee Clark, author of Where I Stand

A vital magic occurs when Michael folds the bloom of young romance into the intimacy of care and care-taking that people with disabilities do for each other. This collection has a quiet intense power. The poems will sneak up on you. They don’t shout.

Jill Khoury, author of Suites for the Modern Dancer

Are you just as excited as I am?

Do you want to read these poems for yourself?

Stay tuned! I’ll be sharing updates, interviews, and insights into the publishing process right up until our release date!


2 thoughts on “Announcing My First Book!

  1. This is so wonderful, Emily. I absolutely do want the chance to reach your newly published poems. Keep m,e posted so I can purchase a copy as soon as it’s available. Lois

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