Emily Skaja was born and raised in rural Illinois. Her first book, BRUTE, won the Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets. Emily is the recipient of a 2019-2020 Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. She holds an MFA in Poetry from Purdue University and a PhD in Creative Writing and Literature at the University of Cincinnati, where she was a Taft Summer Research Fellow and also earned a certificate in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Her poems have been published in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Gulf Coast, among other journals. She is the Poetry Co-Editor of Southern Indiana Review. She lives in Memphis.
[In Brute], the anguish comes from an emotionally abusive lover and the abrupt end of a relationship. As the speaker excavates her grief and disbelief, she slowly moves from self-condemnation to a fiery insistence that she can overcome her boyfriend's damaging assessments of her worth and reclaim the power she once had . . . The speaker's brutal honesty and emotional transformation offer an engrossing guide for anyone dealing with a devastating loss - The Washington Post Emily Skaja's [Brute] is lyrical, visceral, sharp like a fang, and filled witJh lines that pierce and prod and stay embedded inside your skin - NYLON Brute is an unflinching exploration of gender, violence, and recovery . . . Within the pain of Skaja's poetry is an unrelenting force, a brutish will to survive that bursts forth with every stanza, announcing her resilience - Paris Review Skaja's poems are both primal scream-songs and elegies to the end of a relationship . . . With relentless, driving energy, Skaja's poems seek brutal truths while searching for meaningful transformation - Booklist