Off Coldwater Canyon
by C.W. Emerson
Scheduled Release Date: Jan 21, 2021
A Poetry Box Chapbook Prize Winner – 3rd Place
Off Coldwater Canyon explores the emergence of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in Los Angeles. The poems contained in this small volume hold a haunting, unmistakable relevance for those living through today’s near-universal experience of global pandemic. Echoing an era described by the poet as “the impossible time,” they hold out the possibility of survival in the midst of great sorrow and loss, and the attribution of meaning and purpose to the life that remains.
“Tender is the word I thought of while reading Off Coldwater Canyon. This is the story of a young man, a paradise he found, and how that paradise—the gay community of Los Angeles in the early ’80s—was destroyed by the AIDS epidemic. Emerson’s poetry is so honest, its narrative so clear, that his compassion runs through every line: in the care he gave to his dying friends, the comfort he later tried to offer as a caregiver for strangers, and the blunt descriptions of the hollow aftermath and long road to recovery. This is a big-hearted poet, and a book that remembers and doesn’t look away.”
—Amy Miller, Contest Judge, 2020
and author of The Trouble with New England Girls
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