Smoking With Emma Sovich

by Simon Jacobs Read the Story March 24, 2014

I’m always curious about contexts and habits. Where did you write this piece? Which lines came first?

I bought a gorgeous little juice glass that had an image of a nude fairy woman on it. (I have a juice glass collection.) The image niggled at me until I wrote about her. I was writing about Peter Pan and Wendy at the time, so I needed a Tinkerbell anyway, and here was this woman right in front of me. The first lines came first, descriptive. I think I wrote this piece in bed, surrounded by my two cats. Sadly, just the other day, I broke the glass.

You transmit tone so well; one of the aspects I love about this piece is the way it feels like it’s being addressed to the reader, little flashes of narration like “But don’t worry they are soft small breasts”—as if to adjust the reader’s perception of this image. You’re sneaky. Could you explain at all how you build this kind of self-reflective stuff into your work? How you create tone? (This may be an impossible question.)

Aww, thank you. I think in those moments, I’m often talking to myself, reassuring myself.

I ALSO love how vividly you write texture; we’ve got mouths filled with stones, cotton, and I can feel it all. I know that you’re also a student of book-binding and book arts, generally—is there some sort of relation here? The tactility and physicality of words, or something?

I have been hyper-focused on texture thanks to my book arts adventures. I’m learning to determine by feel alone whether I’ve pared leather evenly, to the appropriate thickness for a task, for example. Letterpress printing also demands an awareness of materiality, and certainly the press physically pushes words (and images) into a sheet of paper, giving words a third dimension, physicality, tactility, yes.

This is, I think it’s fair to say, a very corporal piece. Can you talk a little bit about your writing + bodies?

Bodies both disgust and fascinate me. Have you ever stared at your own chest, your breath held, long enough to watch your heartbeat jostle it a while? There are so many gross things that a body does, particularly (arguably) a woman’s body… Part of becoming a whole person, I think, is to struggle to find the beauty in our bodies’ disgustingness.

Based on what I’ve seen of your other writing, this is a part of something bigger, something with the Lost Boys. Could you share anything about this larger project? If you dare?

I stole the light, Wendy, and the Lost Boys from Peter Pan, and all are part of a chapbook that, happily, dancing girl press will be publishing this fall. It is concerned about making and materiality and bodies.

About the Author:

Emma Sovich studies creative writing and book arts in MFA programs at the University of Alabama. Her chapbook, None of Us Know Any Stories, will be published by Dancing Girl Press in 2014. Find more of her work published or forthcoming in Hayden's Ferry Review, Fairy Tale Review, and Handsome, among others. She blogs at