The Kissing of Kissing

Hannah Emerson. Milkweed, $16 trade paper (112p) ISBN 978-1-57131-549-6

Emerson’s startling, inventive debut—the first entry in Milkweed’s new Multiverse series dedicated to neurodivergent writers—finds joy in negotiating different understandings of the world. Emerson’s subjects and themes include the difficulties of communication, the possibilities of repetition, and the pleasures of striving. Almost every piece in the collection includes one of two refrains, lines or phrases which begin with the exhortation “please”—often “please try”—and end with the affirmation “yes yes.” “Please try to be heroic and not give it/ away to unconscious mess yes yes,” Emerson writes in one, and “please try/ to melt yes yes,” in another. The collection is propelled by an imperative mood and voice, though it is no less meditative for it. Details are scant, but images repeat on a scale that shifts from the immediate, worldly, and intimate to the cosmic. “Please try// to imagine how big you are yes yes,” Emerson suggests, challenging the reader to expand their perception and vision through this unusual and intriguing approach to form. (Mar.)