Finalist for ForeWord Magazine’s 1999 Poetry Book of the Year
A reader and a writer don their respective roles and embark on the journey of a book. This is their story–ultimately a love story–darkly funny, mournful, testy. It is about a reader who at times presides over the page like a god, and at others follows the leash of the author's voice through the dark streets of the book like a dog, and it is about a writer of determined slipperiness. As we read, we think that each of us is The Reader, the one who knows the Real Story. But the more we think we understand, the more the story moves away from us—all is not what it seems.
This eagerly awaited third volume by the poet whose work The New York Times described as “at once charmed and frightening” is a book of high-spirited subversiveness, a work of argument, seduction, and a relentless devotion to language. Then, Suddenly— bristles with the sound of the author's voice–insistent, vital, hilarious, and iconoclastic–tearing away at the confinement of the page and at the distance between the page and the reader. Emanuel's images are dazzling. She creates a performance that is fearsome and funny in its portrayal of the argument between the work of the text and the world of the body. The Gettsyburg Review has called her a writer of “exquisite craftsmanship” who can “strike from language . . . images chiseled clean as bas-relief.” Then, Suddenly— is a book of spectacle and verve, part elegy, part vaudeville.