House Is an Enigma (Mini) Book Tour

House New Reading Tour-1

I’m taking House on the road for a miniature book tour this fall, and I hope to see you at one of these stops!

I’m also looking to schedule readings and/or lectures and/or appearances for 2019. If you’re teaching House Is an Enigma or just interested in having a writer talk to your students, I’m happy to schedule class visits, whether IRL or via Skype. You can contact me through this form or send an e-mail to emmaboldenwrites at gmail dot com.

Hear Me on WBHM!

I think I wanted to give language to the kinds of experiences that women rarely talk about and the kind of introspection that I think is necessary to, I suppose, find the life that you really want rather than the life that other people tell you you should want. Maybe there’s somebody out here that’s experiencing what I experienced and if they pick up this book they won’t have to go through it and feel as lonely as I did.


As long as I can remember living, public radio has been part of my life. I grew up listening to WBHM 90.3, our local NPR station. I always dreamed of some day, one day, talking about my writing on WBHM. That dream came true last week, when I sat down with Andrew Yeager, a remarkably kind, patient, and brilliant reader and interviewer, to talk about my new book, House Is an Enigma

If you missed the story today or you’re not in the ‘Ham, the interview’s now up on their website. You can hear me read and talk about two poems in the collection, “House Is the Word My Doctors Used For My Body” and “Beyond Love.”

And I wouldn’t be a public radio nerd if I didn’t mention that you should definitely donate to your local NPR station. I’ve always appreciated public radio — at this point in my life, I listen to NPR more than I watch television — but, after being in the studio, I realized that I never quite appreciated it as much as I should have. Andrew’s a brilliant interviewer and editor, and watching the team in motion in the midst of a fundraiser was beyond inspiring. These people are doing the real work, y’all, and it’s really important — now more than ever — that listeners support it.

House Is an Enigma is now available!


Today is the day! House Is an Enigma is now available from Southeast Missouri State University Press. I own a depth of gratitude to Susan Swartwout, James Brubaker (who is one of the best editors out there), and all of the editors and readers at SEMO Press — not to mention my own dear readers, family, and friends. Here’s what people are saying about the collection (and I am infinitely grateful for their beautiful words):

House Is An Enigma is a staggering achievement. These poems worry several stones in their pockets—grief and the body, certainly, rubbing both until they gleam—but also language and its deliciously endless possibilities. What can I say but that the mind whirring inside these poems, this beautiful lyric-building mind, is one I wish were housed in my own skull? What can I say but give yourself over to these poems, and if you’re very, very lucky, some of Emma Bolden’s genius may seep into you—and leave you, too, irrevocably changed.

Maggie Smith, author of Good Bones

“Emma Bolden’s gorgeous poems brilliantly remind me of learning to draw with colored pencils. To make a pencil drawing really stand out, one must begin with the lightest of touches and unexpected colors—like say, lavender—for a banana. Her poems ache with intelligence while layering desire, melancholy, and a delicate grief—and before you know it, we are transported to years where “we wore leather & guitar music sweet with distortion,” and savored “the taste of peppermint bright as teeth.” Bolden’s poems are visceral and profoundly precise— all while balancing a quiet playfulness and dazzle of color that I know I’ll return to again and again.”

-— Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Oceanic

Emma Bolden writes: “House doesn’t care about your intentions, your repairs. House dares/you.” Every poem in House is an Enigma is a dare –a window opening to a gorgeous room or century, a terrifying or luminous sky. It is also a brilliant, inventive, and deeply-felt exploration of loss – namely, the potential for motherhood and all that future-imagining might entail. Filled with ghosts, skywriters, skulls, mouths, and fragile crinoline beauty, these poems dwell in the liminal space of self-questioning and what it means to inhabit an imperfect female body. Can one separate the body’s lost creative potential from language itself? What are we without our imagining? If the poet is cut off from the metaphor of the body as a home/house, what is there? But Bolden’s questioning is not devoid of life, love, or longing – quite the opposite. Please open yourself to Bolden’s witchy, wise, and breath-taking vision — what’s possible for all of us in the long hallways of our hearts.

-— Sarah Messer, author of Dress Made of Mice

Emma Bolden’s House is an Enigma is a masterful book that serves as map through the dark museum of loss. “After great pain, a formal feeling comes,” Emily Dickinson writes, and Emma Bolden’s poems are the light that we, as readers, will “wonder out towards” after the formal feeling has gone: “Let grief be the song that troubles down // the keys of your spine.” The music that emanates from these poems can fill even the largest room that loss can build. These poems boldly become light even in the face of the darkest of darks.

-— Adam Clay, author of Stranger

You can order House Is an Enigma from your local bookstore, from Southeast Missouri State University Press (support them — they’re amazing!), IndieBoundAmazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, and Target.

House Poem JPEG