Local author, Emily Zogbi (pictured left) of Commack has published her first work of poetry: all the time more than anything, a collection of poems being released on October 20, 2023.

The seventy-six-page collection of poems blur the dimensions of reality, fantasy, imagination, and possibility. According to Zogbi, it “is an interrogation of memory and ghosts, family and time, magic and fear.”  

The author draws the focus of the poems from women and the experience that being a woman is. “The book is populated by a chorus of women, talking all at once, who appear at the supermarket, on the beach, in a 7-11 parking lot, waiting for someone to come home, or hoping no one comes home at all.”  

The collection consists of women who walk in all different lives, experiencing all different things and connecting with all different people, yet each poem is sewn together by one common thread, they all only have themselves looking after them. Some seem to be by choice, others by circumstance. These voices of women feel familiar, relatable, yet explore the idea of things unknown.  


“A lot of the poems are personal pieces, where I write from the voice or perspective of a particular character or person, fictional or otherwise,” Zogbi tells The Messenger. “These poems feature the voices of Medea (Mythology), Cheryl Crane (Cheryl Crane Remembers the Flowers), Kitty Genovese (Things We Do and Have Always Done), Emma Hauck (Hypergraphia), Sarah Connor (Dream Cataclysm), even a corpse in a particularly dark poem called Before Being Found. Sometimes we hear from women I know, like my mother, my grandmother, a favorite teacher, or a childhood friend. The voices and the women vary: other figures include Janis Joplin, Emily Dickinson, and Anneliese Michel. All of these women populate the book, because they populate my life, either because I know them, or because of the books I’ve read, experiences I’ve had, or stories I’ve been told. “ 

Zogbi, who is a graduate of New Paltz and The New School has a B.A. in English and a MFA in Creative Writing (Poetry). She has earned multiple collegiate awards and has been published in a multitude of journals and publications. In her free time, she enjoys bad movies, estate sales, and collecting rocks.  

“I’ve always considered myself a writer, and I’d say that my interest in poetry began in middle school. But what middle schooler going through an emo phase isn’t somewhat interested in poetry, right?” Zogbi truly leaned into her craft in high school and college where her interest in spoken word and slam poetry flourished. At SUNY New Paltz, Zogbi competed in national poetry slam competition and decided to continue with the craft as she pursued her MFA. While obtaining her MFA, Zogbi was able to meet other writers and receive advice from other mentors.  

The Messenger was given the opportunity to read a few excerpts of the collection. In their own thought-provoking manner, each and every poem takes on a new persona. Lost Things is an organized frenzy of emotion, while Ode to a Scene in Moonstruck elicits nostalgia in its most complicated form.  

Lost Things is special to me for a lot of reasons, mostly because it is very personal and close to my family,” Zogbi tells The Messenger that while she does not have a favorite of her poems, she does really like Ode to a Scene in Moonstruck. “That one is particularly fun to read out loud, just like it was fun to write, which isn’t true for all poems.” 

Zogbi has been working on all the time more than anything for many years. Some of the poems were written while she was in college, then reworked for the collection. “The collection sort of came together when I realized I had been writing a lot of poems around some consistent themes: family, womanhood, violence, memory, mental illness, etc. I had a solid pile of poems I felt complimented each other, and I did start writing poems specifically for the collection,” says Zogbi.  

Much of her inspiration for the collection comes from a simple question asked by Selah Saterstrom: “Can you write a haunted book?” 

“I liked the idea of writing haunted poems, but as I was building the book, the definition of ‘haunted’ started to broaden,” says Zogbi. “Those ideas wove together with stories of my family, folklore, and the fragile nature of memory and time. ’Haunted’ doesn’t necessarily mean scary and not all ghosts are bad. It’s more about the things and people we carry with us across generations, be it through trauma, grief, recipes, remedies, stories, heirlooms, and so on. “ 

“If you like poems about family, haunted houses, angry women, and superstitions, this is the book for you,” says Zogbi. 

These poems will entice the reader to explore their own existence, and imagine what their afterlife, and before-life, may have looked like. Throughout all the time more than anything, you will befriend spirits you didn’t know occupied your life and see yourself in characters otherworldly.  

Emily Zogbi’s debut collection of poems entitled all the time more than anything can be pre-ordered online via Finishing Line Press and will be officially released on October 20, 2023. The cover was brilliantly designed by Victoria D’Esposito.  

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Kaitlyn Foley is an Entertainment and Lifestyle Reporter and Staff Writer for the Messenger Papers. She is the weekly author of our Seasonal Column on Page 17. As a graduate of The Fashion Institute of Technology, Kaitlyn has a passion for fashion journalism and creative writing. In addition to writing, Kaitlyn also works as one of our Media and Website Associates.