Signaletics (University of Akron Press, 2013) by Emilia Phillips, cover design by Amy Freels
by Emilia Phillips
University of Akron Press
forthcoming March 2016


Groundspeed moves and doesn’t stop moving. From pastorals on American highways to self-reckonings after a cancer diagnosis to examinations on grief and transience after the death of a brother, this collection of poems asks readers not only to size up threats but anxieties. Phillips witnesses a small plane crash and examines roadside attractions. She reckons with sexuality after a partner asks for a threesome, and renders a candid portrait of a nude, post-surgery body in a mirror. In this raw and personal book, Phillips insists upon one’s own preservation through and beyond grief and trauma with the warning “creation is only // myth; destruction narrative.” Groundspeed features original cover art by Hollie Chastain and design by Amy Freels.



“Out of this ‘scatter plot’ of recollections crowding into travel’s liminal space, Phillips articulates the paradox of her own personal — as well as our century’s — limbo: ‘We are,’ she writes, buckling her seatbelt for landing, ‘flying back in time, to the new world.’…Language, both Broumas and Phillips imply, is itself a form of time travel, lodging and dislodging us, bringing together the impossibly disparate, and, if we’re lucky, renewing our broken, searching selves.”
Lisa Russ Spaar, Los Angeles Review of Books

“The insightful poems of Emilia Phillips’ Groundspeed juxtapose the frail and sensuous human body with the detached, projected image: television show, airplane entertainment system, YouTube, hospital monitor. “This is America,” she observes, “where no one witnesses and everyone watches.” When more and more of the horrors of contemporary life seem to reach us through electronic screens, Phillips examines how what we see and how we’re seeing it is redefining what it means to be human. That she does so with wit, compassion, and the eye of an exquisite cinematographer is a great gift to her readers. This is a timely and indispensable book.”
Nicky Beer, author of The Octopus Game

“In her powerful new collection, Emilia Phillips gives us a world that refuses to be stilled. Exploring the blurred boundaries of a cartographer’s spinning globe, Groundspeed offers a dynamic exploration of the liminal physical and psychological landscapes in which our tentative and transient identities flicker. We are reminded again and again that there is no present moment that does not send its roots far back into the past, no being that is not marked by what it bears. These wide-ranging, muscular poems are as much a stop action study of our present, complex political and social moment as they are a primal record of what it means to be mortal, to be a body and soul capable of tremendous pleasure, love, grief, fear, and pain.”
Kathleen Graber, author of The Eternal City

“To seek is to live: this is the motto of Groundspeed, Emilia Phillips’ striking new collection of poetry. Even through the death of a brother and a cancer diagnosis, Phillips travels interstates and states of being with eyes and mind wide open. She makes a case for attention: as succor and faith, as the Virgil that can help us travel the infernos and purgatorios of all bodies: our own, our loved ones’, the body of the nation and the body of the past. There will be signs along the way: look and see.”
Dana Levin, author of Sky Burial

Groundspeed, a collection forthcoming in 2016 from Emilia Phillips, fulfills the promise of her first book. The poems in Groundspeed have all the energy of a rollercoaster. When you finish this book, you immediately want to return to the first page for another ride.”
Tomás Q. Morín, author of A Larger Country, on the October 2015 Poetry magazine Reading List

Phillips full cover_final

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