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Poetry Lgbt

Emily & Elspeth

by (author) Catherine McNeil

Caitlin Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2023
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Feb 2023
    List Price

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Emily & Elspeth follows two women and their unique paths to love… and each other. Catherine McNeil’s latest collection is a delightful romp through Mexico, the imagined inner-workings of Frida Kahlo’s relationship(s), and Vancouver bedrooms. Through poems that flirt with the intersections of desire, art, and commitment, she pieces together Emily and Elspeth’s relationship as playfully as she takes it apart.

Along the way, Emily & Elspeth brings you to places both intimate and unexpected: a belly where a uterus used to be; a girl matador facing off against a bull; and “fat, honeyed days, swollen with desire” that risk being destroyed by the nefarious aims of a government spy.

Weird, wonderful, and slightly dangerous, this is a queer love story that’s anything but typical.

About the author


  • Short-listed, Sunshine Coast Writers and Editors Society Awards, Sunshine Coast Voices
  • Short-listed, Sunshine Coast Writers and Editors Society Awards, Diverse Voices

Contributor Notes

catherine mcneil is the author of under the influence (Bedazzled Ink) 2016 which won Milieu’s National Emerging Writers Competition. She has been widely published in literary magazines, including Event, Queer Chroma, Sinister Wisdom, and the Capilano Review, and in anthologies throughout Canada, the United States & England for the past thirty years. emily & elspeth is coming out with Dagger Editions in the fall of 2022. She lives in Halfmoon Bay, BC, with her dog, Gaia and her cat, Lavender. She is also a singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

Editorial Reviews

“In her inaugural poetry collection, Catherine McNeil presents a strong poetic voice: clear, quirky, full of the west wind. Spanning Vancouver, Mexico, and the Sunshine Coast, McNeil tells the story of two women who fall in love. The pace is lightening fast, ultra cool, urban, almost urbane, and in a good way. This collection is hot-wired. Oo la la, be ready for a lyrical phantasmagorical read. It won’t disappoint you. You won’t be able to put it down.”

—Arleen Paré, author of Time Out of Time

emily watches her body get up / salutes the sun / someone spies on her. In, before leaving the west coast, we get our first glimpse into the fact that someone is documenting emily’s days as she challenges the belief that disabled people need to be laying down / at home at all times. She journeys to a writers’ conference in San Miguel where she finds another writer, Elspeth (Lizzy) a woman who stays where her hands are. emily hopes lizzy’s planet is in her galaxy. She is. This collection contains delightful and punchy honesty about love, and the way we wobble towards healing."

—Jónína Kirton, author of Standing in a River of Time