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The Emma Press





Dragonish is the debut pamphlet of poems by Emma Simon. With an introduction by Caroline Bird.

“The milk cried on the doorstep. We toasted blackbirds,
crunched their burnt wings. Watched jam drip
through the egg timer.


Was it eight already? Outside overcoats
and umbrellas quick-stepped the wind.
No-one could tell the time from the telephone


having done its worst, it bit its tongue. We washed faces
in cold light that rained from the ceiling,
knew you could drown in an empty bath.


The great tractor wheels of the day lay on their side.
The engine rusted in parts, like a jigsaw we’d had
of The Haywain. It was all corners. No-one knew where to start.


We cut up newspapers for small talk. Snapped lumps
off the morning and evening stars,
dissolved them in the multiplying flower vases


overflowering with black tea. Our hands
clumsy as hooks as we pinned headaches
to our faces for smiles.”

Page count: 36

Publication date: 16th March 2017

Paperback ISBN: 9781910139646

GTIN: N/A SKU: 978-1-910139-64-6 Categories: , , , Tag:

The Emma Press

The Emma Press is an independent publisher specialising in poetry, short fiction and children’s books. We are trying to make publishing and literature as welcoming and accessible as possible.


Loss, love and various severed body parts are scattered throughout Dragonish. The poems are rooted in family, friends and home while also reaching into other worlds: the circus of possibilities, an earth-bound heavenly host, London’s dryads and a nineteenth-century French brothel. Infused with a warm humour, tinged with darkness, the poems tempt the reader to peep beneath the surface of things.

Emma Simon is from Northamptonshire and now lives in London, where she works part-time as a copywriter and journalist. She was one of the poets chosen for the 2015 Jerwood/Arvon Mentoring scheme and she has been published widely, including in The Very Best of 52 (Nine Arches Press, 2015) and Writing Motherhood (Seren, 2017). She won the Prole Laureate Poetry Competition in 2013 and won third prize in the Manchester Cathedral Poetry Competition in 2016.

‘There is a heady blend of the reassuring and the unnerving, poems that oscillate between a world where everything is fixed and known, and one where ordinary objects and occurrences are extensions of us. […] Dragonish is the work of a talented and versatile poet whose poems successfully create recognisable worlds made strange.’ – Pam Thompson, Sabotage Reviews

‘Emma Simon’s debut pamphlet Dragonish (The Emma Press) introduces a poet who is adept at finding the extraordinary in the everyday and the everyday in the extraordinary. Dragonish really whets the appetite for the full debut collection that will no doubt be warmly greeted in a few years.’ – Jonathan Edwards, Poetry School

‘There’s a lot of strange things bursting or slinking out of the lines when you open her pamphlet….though you’d expect this from a book with this title. To give you a flavour, there are severed limbs, the language of cat, milk that cries on the doorstep, angels, ghostly hitch-hikers, cockroaches etc. The poems inhabit a liminal space, between sleeping and waking, between what we think we see and what it might really be, the depths under our feet, the wonders we don’t notice like the London Planes’ dryads.’ Rachel Gethin

‘Emma Simon’s pamphlet delves into the liminal space between reality and illusion with stark originality. The reader embarks on a surreal journey through raining light, talking weighing scales, egg timers full of jam and “toasted blackbirds”. In Simon’s dream-like lyricism nothing is as it seems, as time, space and emotions are granted new dimensions. Dragonish is a refreshing reminder to let loose our inner creativity and to approach the world with fresh, eccentric eyes.’ PBS Bulletin

Additional information

Dimensions 12.9 × 19.8 cm

Print, eBook
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