Ghost Box is based on the story of Emily. In the fall of 2012, Emily arrived in the parking lot of a vacant big-box store, or “ghost box,” near downtown Los Angeles with 45-pound bags of cat food. She converted the otherwise vacant property into an impromptu bird sanctuary, and evaded arrest by the LAPD for months. Emerson Whitney adventures into the weirdness of Emily’s story and the strangeness of vacant urban space, writing wildness and ferocity into the strip mall. Ghost Box is gross and wry, gorgeous and feral, a hoarse cry from abandoned city space: “we want to be beautiful too.”
“Poetry where everyone gets the Love is rare. Something like being stroked by the still-warm hands of a freshly collapsed empire, or maybe it’s warmth from the fire building around it, but Emerson Whitney has slapped us into the frame with the other way to belong here. ‘And I wanted to shout, but I whispered what looks like almost nothing is wild.’ I love these poems so much, making me be nowhere but Whitney’s brand new way of being present. I’m grateful to be alive with them!”
– CAConrad, Author of ECODEVIANCE
“Emerson Whitney’s Ghost Box is a poetic detective story whose scene of the crime is nothing less than contemporary capitalism and its threat to—or decimation of—wilderness, wildness. That said, this is an intimate tale, populated by our (intrepid, lucid, sly) narrator, “the man with the rake,” wheeling birds, and most importantly, “Emily,” placeholder for / ghost of disobedience, conscience, craziness, and beauty. From the detritus of a vacant lot, Whitney wrestles a poetic document that bears witness, winks, invents, and soars.”
– Maggie Nelson, Author of Bluets and The Art of Cruelty
EMERSON WHITNEY is a poet, writer, and journalist based in Los Angeles. Emerson’s work has been featured in The Huffington Post, NPR, New York Observer, and has been widely anthologized, most recently in Troubling the Line: Trans and Genderqueer Poetry and Poetics, Bombay Gin, and &Now Awards: Best Innovative Writing. Emerson is a kari edwards fellow and a professor at Los Angeles City College. This is Emerson’s first book.
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