Search

A Conversation with Auther Emmett Ferree

Nymeria Publishing is thrilled to welcome author Emmett Ferree to our family. The author of one previous work — Beeswax and Other Sticky Things — Emmett will pull on your heartstrings with this new, wrenching collection.


A Citrus Kind of Love follows Emmett’s experiences with love, loss, and personal healing after the loss of a loved one. This collection does not hold back as it takes you on a journey as Emmett relearns how to love not only himself but those around him. Bold and hauntingly beautiful these poems will seep into your soul and fill the empty spaces, just with the slight lingering sting of citrus, so you walk away knowing you truly felt something.


Prior to the release of A Citrus Kind of Love, we sat down with Emmett to discuss his new collection, the importance of healing, and what he hopes readers take away from his work. Check out the conversation below and preorder A Citrus Kind of Love starting April 7th at barnesandnoble.com.



Nymeria: What inspirations were behind your collection?


Emmett: The biggest inspiration behind A Citrus Kind of Love is somebody named Ayden. Ayden was an amazing human being and someone I was incredibly close with. Unfortunately, he passed away five years ago from complications related to a heart defect. We had been dating for a few months when he died—I hadn’t even told my parents we were dating at that point—and it genuinely felt as though my entire world was falling apart.


Fast forward to 2020, where it was my senior year of college. I had made the decision to take the fall semester off after an absolutely disastrous student teaching experience. My mental health was a wreck, I’d recently broken my hand, and I was cluelessly trying to navigate my medical transition. Overall, I wasn’t exactly thriving. However, after one incredibly emotional therapy session, I found myself journaling about everything Ayden and I never had the chance to talk about.


Over the next few months, I kept coming back to that journal and drafting poem after poem about everything I’d experienced in the years since Ayden’s death. I quickly realized that my journal was becoming a way for me to have a conversation with myself about my healing process, which allowed me to finally start to grow again. By the time I had made the decision that I was willing to share this book with the world, it had blossomed into this beautifully emotional exploration of myself and of the society we live in.



“He talked about food like he was talking about God—

spoke about the yolk

running from the center of a perfectly poached egg

as if it was the blood of Christ dripping from a crucifix.

He found his faith through cooking,

found Jesus in the warped reflections

on the bottom of an old copper kettle,

and he baptized himself with white wine every Thursday evening

when he locked himself away to worship.”

-an excerpt from A Citrus Kind of Love by Emmett Ferree



N: What themes do you cover in your collection?


E: The main focus of this collection is the concept of learning how to love again. I speak about romantic love, self-love, familial love, lust, and the guilt that comes with it all. But I also talk a lot about trauma in the contexts of mental health, family, and religion. This book isn’t exactly the most chipper, but there’s a lot of pieces that focus on growth and healing, too.



N: How do you see yourself in your work?


E: I’m very much the type of writer that uses poetry (and other genres/styles) as a tool for self-exploration. So everything I write about draws upon my own experiences, whether it be a direct recollection of something I experienced or more of a social commentary.


There are a lot of moments throughout A Citrus Kind of Love that ask those existential questions, and I see myself in those moments the most. I struggle with anxiety, and my mind is constantly inundated with those big “what ifs” as I explore the meaning of my own existence.


As Carma Barre puts it, “We write about ourselves to make sense of our chaos.” And the same goes for leaving little bits of ourselves behind in everything we write.



N: What do you want readers to take away from this collection?


E: A sense of peace and the knowledge that they’re not alone. There’s a lot of heavy stuff that goes on in the world every single day. We are constantly bombarded with news and images of violence, hatred, discrimination, death, illness, poverty—the list goes on and on. But this is all we see from the moment we get out of bed in the morning right up to the moment we decide to go to sleep. It’s an overwhelming flood of intense emotion and unrealistic expectations, and we never seem to get a reprieve. A lot of those same emotions occur within my writing, but I made it a point to open and close the collection with a breath of calmness. Sometimes, that’s all we need to tell ourselves that everything will be okay, even when everything seems to be falling apart.



“they called it blasphemy

because they never knew what


love


could look like

outside of heterosexuality


and abuse.”

-an excerpt from A Citrus Kind of Love by Emmett Ferree



N: How do you feel your experiences in life have shaped your writing?


E: My style has been heavily influenced by my work as a musician. I play a lot of orchestral percussion, drum set, and bass guitar, which are all rhythm-centric instruments. Because my ear is naturally trained to be able to quickly pinpoint different rhythms and beats, I find myself creating a lot of unique cadences within my writing. I’ve discovered that this also helps me create different soundscapes as well.


In general, my life and my writing are very much intertwined. I’ve endured and experienced a lot of things that have pushed me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Every obstacle I’ve faced has provided me with new perspectives and challenges that I’m able to approach within my writing. And without writing, I don’t think I would have ever been able to work through the majority of my emotional trauma.



“I could have hopped between asteroids and danced across the Milky Way and painted my face with glitter from the stars; now it barely takes me fifty stories high, and I can only dream of touching the sky while I sit beneath the sycamore and wait for the sun to set so that I can maybe see the stars for just one more night.”

-an excerpt from A Citrus Kind of Love by Emmett Ferree



N: What can readers expect next from you?


E: That’s a fantastic question, haha! Currently, I’m working on another poetry collection. This one has a lot more self-exploration from an identity standpoint, and it’s been a blast to work on. I’ve been pushing myself a lot as a poet, and I’ve really enjoyed watching myself grow as I’ve worked on it.


I’m also preparing to start a memoir-ish project. I’m beyond excited to have another chance to work with my friend Sam Shotzberger, who is the incredibly talented artist that designed the cover for A Citrus Kind of Love. This book is going to be an illustrated account of how I navigated my transition and some of the incredibly weird things I wasn’t prepared to handle. Think of it like a very Queer, very adult version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.


Additionally, I’ve been working on my first full-length play. It’s been a bit of an off-and-on type of project, so I have no idea of a timeline. But it’s been a fantastic way for me to stretch my skills (and patience) and stay connected to theatre.




A Citrus Kind of Love will be published in July 2022 by Nymeria Publishing. You can visit nymeriapublishing.com and follow @nymeriapublishing on social media for updates about A Citrus Kind of Love's release.

80 views0 comments