In her debut collection, Made Holy (forthcoming from University of Georgia Press, 2019), Emily Arnason Casey explores loss, longing, and the ever-shifting lens of time. Memory and the art of noticing form the basis of these lyric essays that meditate on family, addiction, motherhood, and home. Shifting nimbly between time and place—from the lakes of her childhood in Minnesota to the landscape of her adult life in Vermont—Casey returns to certain memories as though worrying a stone in search of answers. How does a woman navigate the violence of the world? How does a mother teach her children to love this world? How do the places we inhabit speak to us, shape our language, and offer refuge?
Whether reflecting on the nature of objects, mourning the loss of a woman murdered in her neighborhood, or delighting in the inquisitive nature of her two young sons, the author’s willingness to honestly examine the past and present with contemplative lyricism offers fresh perspective and new understanding. I know this feeling, she writes. We travel along the surface of time and then suddenly the layers give way and we are in another year, another body, another place. In this way, her focus, like the mullein plant she invokes in the final essay, seems to be as “guardian to the lost”.