Best friends die — and that really sucks. Author Emma Alford explores such a loss on her own terms in a new chapbook, Stamped. In the book’s poems, she taps into the experience of losing her best friend in a car accident at the age of 20, while they both teetered between adolescence and adulthood.
Alford began writing these poems five years ago in a college poetry workshop class immediately after the death of her friend and completed the collection earlier this year. Some of the poems were written in response to actual postcards from her friend — with the book displaying reproductions of the postcards next to their corresponding poems.
“I found these postcards from Cassidy, some I had responded to and some I hadn’t,” Alford explains. “I had these things I needed to say to her and about her. Finding the postcards pushed me to start writing these poems.”
Almost all of the poems are constructed as a conversation of sorts with her deceased friend, directing each line toward her. The poems capture the experience of loss, but also the humor and subtleties of a friendship cut short much too early.
“You can’t make new, old friends, and I think that’s what’s most crushing about losing them at a young age,” she says. “Any friends I make as an adult won’t have grown up next door, they’ll never know 14-year-old me. Addressing and exploring that fact through these poems has been very important and therapeutic for me.”
“Emma Alford’s first book, Stamped, is a beautiful elegy,” Mike Smith, author of Byron In Baghdad and Multiverse, says. “Expertly rendered through a series of poems that transforms a friend’s postcards into a means of coming to terms with loss, this collection participates in the great tradition of English-language poems that celebrate and mourn best friends lost too soon. This is a deeply moving book and one I will read and reread for years to come.”
Stamped, from Finishing Line Press, is Alford’s first published work of poetry. The book will be available online at www.finishinglinepress.com. Some of the poems have previously appeared in Delta State University’s literary magazine, Confidante. She hails from the Mississippi Delta, but now lives in Nashville, Tenn. with her overweight, orange tabby. She is an editor and contributor for The East Nashvillian magazine.
Media Contact: Leah Maines, Editor
Finishing Line Press P.O. Box 1626 Georgetown, KY 40324
Author Contact: Emma Alford