Arrhythmia (Persea Books, 2022)

Written in the years following the sudden death of a cherished friend, Arrhythmia traces the shock doctrine of grief as it electrifies the lives of those left behind. Alliances shift. Loss multiplies. Poems call out from the body, wrestling the twin impossibilities of memory and meaning in language that is by turns starkly simple and twistingly inventive. A tribute to queer friendship, these poems weave chronic grief (a damaged planet, social injustice) with the stab of a loved one’s sudden absence–of what happens to the vibrant particulars of a life when it ends.


“These poems are shimmering and musical and gorgeous on the page, where they maneuver like a woman suspended in silk, or made of it.”

Maya Jewell Zeller

The Cold and the Rust (Persea Books, 2018) Winner of the 2017 Lexi Rudnitsky Prize

The Cold and the Rust is a tender portrait of a queer girlhood on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In this lyrical and unflinching debut, a landscape of staggering beauty abuts industrial towns in the throes of economic decay. Emily Van Kley explores notions of home, estrangement, isolation, and longing against a backdrop of crystalline winters, Lake Superior’s mythic tempers, and forests as vast as they are close.


“…listen to this poet tell so beautifully the cold and brutal truth. An astonishing and brilliant debut.”

Brenda Shaughnessy


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