Emily & Elspeth

By Catherine McNeil

Categories: Poetry, LGBTQ+
Imprint: Dagger Editions
Paperback : 9781773860992, 80 pages, February 2023


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.


“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