Fives logo – a stylised number five

with Emilia Phillips

The last thing that made you smile

The memory of a friend, hot buttered toast, setting up and writing in my office nook in my new home, my first cup of coffee this morning, the low-sixties temperature when I let my dog out.

A secret

Sometimes I’m afraid of the fact that I'm a writer. Sometimes I feel I didn’t have a say in the matter, that I couldn’t live without writing. I worry this makes me weak, even self-indulgent.

The last thing you wrote

This morning, I got several pages in on a lyric essay. It’s an essay with which I’ve been struggling for months, worried as I am to get the tone right, to charge its meditations. I don’t want this essay to just be a confession. Not a call out. I would like to claim ownership over my story.

Your favourite city

Every city I’ve thought about naming, I’ve thought, no, that’s not it. I love Reykjavik, and Edinburgh, and San José in Costa Rica. I have a long, conflicted love of Richmond, Virginia, and I’m ready to get to know my new city of Greensboro, North Carolina. And I feel like I love the ideas of cities I’ve never been to or don’t know that well. I love arriving in a new city. I love cities loved by those who live there, who show me what they love about those cities.

What you’d place in a time capsule

Szymborska poems. A lock of hair. A letterbox. A future-person. Something from the earth I dug up to place the capsule—maybe a rock, a root, a beetle that would eat through the other things inside before anyone saw them.

Emilia Phillips is the author of two poetry collections from the University of Akron Press, Signaletics (2013) and Groundspeed (2016), and three chapbooks, most recently Beneath the Ice Fish Like Souls Look Alike (Bull City Press, 2015). Her poems and lyric essays appear widely in literary publications including Agni, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, and elsewhere. She’s an assistant professor in the MFA Writing Program and the Department of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her third book, Empty Clip, will be published by the University of Akron Press Spring 2018.