In Many Ways by Emily Simon / ISBN 9781959708018 / 76-page paperback published in 2023 by Winter Editions
At once a log of pandemic life in New York City and a meditation on selfhood, memory, and language, Emily Simon’s first book is a lyrical and timely experiment in prose fragments.
In Many Ways describes a self in process, at odds, and enthralled, in search of the origins of her unsatisfiable pursuit of meaning. The writerly drive to fix the fleeting moment comes up against a contradictory impulse to escape—through writing—the binds of formal codes and conventions. Simon’s shifts and disjunctions map the unsteady flow of pandemic time, observing the clash of interior experience with the social world.
Sharp, witty, heartfelt, and alarmingly thought-provoking, In Many Ways is unique in form, profound of mind, fiercely intelligent, and the prose is jaw-droppingly exquisite.—Binnie Kirshenbaum
“Embarrassment is a lesson in size.” Emily Simon’s In Many Ways pursues the tributaries of embarrassment through daily life and discovers ways to walk beside them. “Ecstasy,” she reminds us, is “a condition of standing beside oneself.” Her candor moves us and moves, I think, herself—in this book we feel the writer is taking herself into confidence. We listen, lucky, like a trinket on the desk, like someone who too must survive and think the quotidian, its pulsing dulling sharpening depleting soaring never-arrivingness. A lovely work of writing at the pace of living.—Hilary Plum
Emily Simon is a writer and teacher living in New York City. She is the author of the chapbook Reign is Over (Choo Choo Press, 2021). Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Florida Review, Salt Hill, and Some Kind of Opening. She is a graduate of the Columbia University Writing Program in poetry.