ISBN: 978-1-62557-150-2
Categories Chapbooks, Poetry


Publication Date: October 2024


When a local teen drowns and comes back as more river than girl, it dawns on residents that there is something very wrong in Steubenville. Emma Sloan’s debut chapbook, Opheliac, intertwines modern mythology and one of literature’s most enduring figures, Shakespeare’s Ophelia–using both as a vessel to explore betrayal and grief. It is a collection that wields evocative language, intertwining narratives, and the framing of the gothic American South to instill a thoughtful melancholy that lasts long after the last page has been turned.


no more breaking in the word sorry ‘til it’s tired, no more only rearing when tread on, no more gunshot-soft one-night stands, no more hoarding words like sharp things during a manic episode, no more repurposing your throat for vomiting, no more maybe he’s not guilty, he seemed like a nice kid, no more scraping your tongue bleeding-raw in the shower, no more faux smiles in the courtroom, no more no more no more no more no more girl tongue, pry it out with nail clippers, flush it down the toilet like your childhood fish, sprout a replacement that’s more cobra than garden snake.


Opheliac invites lovers of both Shakespeare and wordplay with vivid imagery that invokes a sensory experience throughout. This modern retelling of the literary figure of Ophelia leaves room to ponder femininity, fragility, and the haunting impact of tragedy–and is a collection to read again and again.

–Natasha Silva, author of North Star Heart

In Opheliac Emma Sloan shatters memory and rearranges its pieces into arresting shapes. Beginning “in Steubenville,” these poems approach violence, adolescence, and the wretched magic of adolescence with a deep understanding that surviving it all can feel like a kind of betrayal. The past is never far away in Opheliac—but that doesn’t stop Sloan from trying to grow a new “girl tongue,” a voice with which to tell overlooked and necessary truths: “This is a reel of film / on the cutting room floor.”

–Lucy Wainger, author of In Life There Are Many Things

About the Author

Emma Sloan

Emma Sloan is a poet, short fiction author, and journalist with works published across 300+ international digital and print publications—including, but not limited to, The Writer Magazine, The Vancouver Island Poetry Collective, Her Umbrella Magazine, Alopecia UK, and LandLocked Literary Journal. She is the author of "Foxglove" (Chapter House, 2022). As a Writing and Publishing graduate of the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada, Emma works as a professional copywriter and content writer in a multitude of industries. Her creative writing orbits around the intersection between modern mythology and grief. Her chapbook Opheliac was named a runner-up in the Black River Chapbook Competition and is forthcoming with Black Lawrence Press in fall 2024.

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