“Emma Simon’s Smith|Doorstop pamphlet competition winner The Odds (2020) imbue[s] the everyday with a shining radiance. The juxtaposition of the quotidian and the fabular recurs throughout this impressive collection, whether in a lexically-dissolving library, an astral fun-fair, or the liminal world of a car break-down on a motorway hard-shoulder. There is a grace of restrained emotion in these poems, though heightened emotions break through the conventions of this suburban milieu where the work deals with the loss of a close one. ‘Bears’ is both an ode to the delightful, multifarious oddity of words, and a recognition of their limitations when dealing with loss. Words are, ‘difficult to hold – like knives and keys… Nothing will make this better. So we stick/to this week and the next… enjoy the unreasonable sun.’ These are knowing poems, name-checking the canon at times, while adding something fresh and vital.” – The Manchester Review, 2020 (Read full review).
The Odds examines how we are all juggling with fate, luck and chance, both good and bad — and sometimes grab the wrong end of the lighted torch. Peopled with odd characters: psychic bookies, vicious magpies, a modern day Lady Macbeth, some miracle frogs, and the owner of a dark laboratory; the poems remain rooted in friendship, family and sense of how important it is to make the most of what we have.
Emma Simon grew up in Northamptonshire, but now lives and works in London as a freelance journalist and copywriter. She has been widely published in anthologies and magazines including The Rialto, The North, and Under the Radar. She has won both the Ver Poets and Prole Laureate competitions and her debut pamphlet, Dragonish, was published by The Emma Press in 2017.