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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
Though the Walls Are Lit poems by Emily Holt  
  Emily Holt

ISBN 978-0-9991994-9-7     $18  /  $21 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

66 pp      
PUB DATE: March 2020       Featured Poetry


The voice in Though The Walls Are Lit is mesmerizing, unsettling, and profoundly honest. Emily Holt has found what poetry at its best can be: a way of speaking—which is also a way of surviving. With two homelands, she distills a language to confront the demons of memory, the mysteries of identity, the inheritance of a history of violence and losses (Know where you are Here No where/No place the dead won’t go). Reading the first part of the collection is like following someone through a waking dream edged by nightmare. The untitled poems are as urgent as a whisper, yet image after image detonates. The second part centers on the poet’s return to her Irish town of Arklow, carrying the burden of the past and the exile of the present with her. Though the Walls Are Lit explores geographies of the soul, evoking a tradition of hunger strikes, imprisonment, and pain borne by bodies, notably female:

[And I could sing but—
only this kind of body
can have water break from it]

This is not the work of a newcomer, but a smart and accomplished artist, unafraid of darkness. Holt’s extended elegy for her past, her family, and her people has almost the force of liturgy. This remarkable collection shines with Yeats’s “terrible beauty.”

—Stan Sanvel Rubin

About the Author

Emily Holt


Raised in northern California, Emily Holt has worked as a journalist in the U.S. and Ireland. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Rainier Writing Workshop at Pacific Lutheran University and a Master of Letters in Literature from Trinity College University of Dublin. Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry Ireland Review, The Best New British and Irish Poets, Talking River, and other publications. She lives in Seattle, Washington.


To Thee Do I Come

  December and other months
to cleanse. Cedar-bodies
to sway. Remember Cyprus Avenue?
Child-like in our suede coats
fur boots, us all light-
strings, you with your camera
Why bother with drink
or bleeding when neither
are a sign of what’s to come?
I will listen. I will listen
and you will search each crease
in your hand, and I shall see the rubble
for the house and the wanting
shall be enough

—Emily Holt