Here's Hoping You Never See This // An Interview with Emma Bleker

March 04, 2016


Emma Bleker is a college student and writer attending George Mason University. I first met Emma during my first semester at GMU, when we had a class on "Recent American Poetry" together. When she told me she was publishing a book, I knew I had to get my hands on it. She has a way with words like no other, is wise way beyond her years, and her work has the power to lighten even the darkest days. I am extremely proud to know her, to own a copy of her book, and to have her featured on my blog! Emma was kind enough to answer a few questions about herself and the publishing process. Stick around, you're going to want to read this!

So you just wrote a book! How do you feel?
EB: It's still kind of settling in, to be entirely honest! It's simultaneously pretty nerve-racking and fantastic, knowing that I now have absolutely no control over whose hands my work ends up in. It's a terrifying thing. A lot of my work is pretty deeply rooted in my own personal experiences, so putting that out into the world is something I've come to be very proud of, but also required a lot of examination on a personal level.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
I find a lot of my inspiration through reading, specifically the works of female poets that focus a lot on empowerment and survival. I feel that I'm often more inclined to write on my own more difficult experiences after I've read of the ways others have survived their own. The experience of the female survivor, in the form of poetry, has made itself essential in encouraging me to keep working, as a writer. If only to give strength, through words, to my own survival. Aside from inspiration through reading, I also find a great deal of inspiration through music. Of all kinds. If it can make me feel, I'm likely to be inspired by it. 

What do you want people who read your poems to know?
I hope to make the people reading my work feel valued, and supported, and familiar to themselves. Writing has brought me closer to myself, to put it very simply. So, if someone can recognize their self, for good or not, within my poetry, if I can make that connection, I have accomplished more than I ever could have hoped for.

How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Curious, Protective, Empathetic 

What were the hardest parts of putting your book together?
It would have to be somewhere in between choosing which poems to include and the actual, physical structuring and formatting of the book itself. Because the book is constructed in three parts, each with their own connotation, the formatting was essential for me in creating the work that I wanted to create. Though it's definitely understood that I cannot control the way others perceive or take in my work once it leaves my hands, constructing the book so that it would ultimately communicate what I strived to communicate with the collection, as a whole, was definitely a challenge.

Do you have any advice for someone that is planning to write a book and/or self publish?
Don't be afraid to ask people questions!! It's difficult to do, sometimes, but it's important, especially if you're self-publishing. I would also say, if you don't have an editor, to find a few people who can help make sure you're staying consistent, and keep you accountable when it comes to content and intention. I can't tell you how many times I asked a friend to read the manuscript before I released it. Peers were invaluable in the process, for me. After publishing, it's also good to remind yourself that you can be proud of yourself. That's forgotten a lot in this process, and through the process of self-promotion upon release. You deserve to be proud of what you've created. 

Favorite movies?
I'm a sucker for the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, if we're being entirely honest. Other than that, Rushmore is a longtime favorite, but it changes so often. My taste ranges pretty vastly from How To Train Your Dragon to Amelie to Ma Vie En Rose (not to ignore La) to Pulp Fiction. 

Favorite bands/musicians?
Noah and the Whale and Bright Eyes have held the top two spots for about five years now. Music that sounds like poetry is generally the kind that keeps my attention for a long time. I'm currently more than a little infatuated with the music of Adam Green, You Won't, and Courtney Barnett.

What are your favorite books?
As for specifically poetry books, Birthday Girl With Possum by Brendan Constantine is pretty fantastic, as is Write About An Empty Birdcage by Elaina M. Ellis. However, my favorite book of all-time is House of Leaves. I could talk about it for days without stopping. I'm also a big fan of Miranda July's prose!

What are 3 material objects you can't live without?
This pretty incredible locket I was given by someone very close to me this past year, a journal or something to write on (provided that includes a pen...), and a pair of earrings my mother gave me. All of them have some kind of important function or emotional context for me that makes it pretty special to me. For the record, though, the fourth would generally be snacks. Snacks of all kinds.

What are writing / art goals you have for the future?
Short term, I would love to release another book in the next year. More generally, though, I hope to continue writing and reading and involving myself even more in advocacy through writing. It's such an incredible medium through which people can be reached out to, so I hope to continue reaching, as far as I can.

If you were a color, what color would you be?
An olive green or some kind of softer purple, definitely!


Be sure to find Emma on: Facebook // Tumblr 
You can also buy the book and check out her RedBubble store!
Thanks Emma!

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