Emmanuella's debut poetry collection documents the birth and death of a relationship, and the death of her sister. Each poem is an emotional time-stamp that plunges the reader into the depths of the author’s feelings as they burgeon and wane. The book reads like a diary and chronicles the boundaries of the things that we all feel: love, heartache, and pain that gives way to hope.
"It reads like a diary because at one point it was my diary,” said Emmanuella Hristova of Bay Point, a local author and poet, who recently published her first book of poems entitled, The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder...
During her time in graduate school, Hristova melded her raw emotion and inner turmoil into a book-length collection of poems, but decided to let them sit for a while until she had fully processed her feelings. When she revisited her work nearly a year later, one of her close friends urged Hristova to publish her poems. After finding an editor and assembling the manuscript for an e-book, Hristova’s work became reality."
"Poet Emmanuella Hristova shares her very personal journey about loss and how poetry and writing saw her through some very tough life events. So, can poetry help you through dark times?
There was once a time I wanted to die. Sorry, I guess this post should come with trigger warnings for a few sensitive topics. I assure you, no attempts were actually made on my life. But I will give you a trigger warning for suicidal thoughts—because that much was true.
When I think back on the worst period of my life, it often comes back to me a bit faded in memory. As if I had blacked out repeatedly after drinking too much, or as if my doctor had prescribed me heavy sedatives that affected my brain. The pressure of what I faced was like a printing press—pressing me down underneath a weight until I was crushed, with the stain of my body leaving some beautiful markings on paper."
"What’s the book about and who would benefit or like to read it?
The poems in The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder are about love, heartbreak, depression, and grief. The collection begins with the relationship—falling in love, hesitation, turmoil. Eventually, I chronicle the end of the relationship and dwell on the breakup. Two weeks later I find out my sister is dying from stage 4 cancer. And depression unfolds as a result.
Although I began writing about sexism, I chose to leave those poems for the final chapter. There, I tackle sexual harassment, sexual assault, and oppression. The poems move through all the emotions I’ve felt as a result—torment, sadness, anger and reveling glee. The final chapter is dedicated to grieving and healing women."
"It’s no secret that throughout my so-far short life, I have not been a stranger to pain. That is, after experiencing five familial deaths before the time I was twenty-five, among other brokenhearted experiences, the pain became far-too-familiar to me. But I also learned that during these moments, when I felt the weight of life crushing me, was when dark, reflective creativity flowed out of me the most. I learned that in order to create—one must go through pain. My recent self-published poetry collection The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder, was wrought from such a time in my life. Less than three years ago, I watched my sister die from cancer. She was diagnosed and gone within less than nine months’ time. It was also during this time that I fell in love for the first time. And, experienced my first heartbreak too. This all happened when I was in graduate school becoming an English teacher, where I was given way too much work for no pay. And it was through this crushing that I began to compartmentalize; or rather, spill my emotions into a notebook that documented this nine-month period of hell for me."
"I never intended to be a poet. And I never set out to write a poetry book either. What happened instead, was a series of tragic events that forced me to turn inward—into a diary. What began as feminist musings into a green Moleskin notebook after I graduated with my bachelor’s degree, turned into page after page about an unfolding romance. For, I was falling in love for the first time.
However, in the turbulent and unsettling times of our twenties and fresh out of college, this love didn’t last, when he dumped me on the prospect of taking a job in another state. Two weeks later, I found out my sister was dying. Her cancer had progressed to stage four, which had metastasized to her liver and the rest of her body. I was crushed; utterly devastated at this relationship that had slipped out of my fingers and that I would lose my sister."
"My personal guidelines, when doing any review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. For communication of personal events, this is about as strong as I can remember. Five stars it is, and highly recommended."
"Through truly heartfelt, gut-wrenching poetry, Emmanuella tells the deeply personal story of the rise and fall of a relationship, against the backdrop of the devastating sadness of loss. She is a lovely poet, who feels every word, not so much writing them as sobbing, then eventually roaring them onto the page. Written like a journal, its entries in prose, you do find yourself suspecting this book is the direct publication of a genuine diary this author composed. Whilst feeling somewhat voyeuristic, if this were indeed the case, you realize that she has a strong message toward the end of it, and does indeed want it to be read."
"Even the encroaching heartbreak is beautifully rendered, and I find that the poems about the pain of love are more striking to me than the joys she experienced in the beginnings. Reclaiming her identity as a woman, able to support others emotionally and stand on her own, is also a powerful section of the book. Some of that power is because she sees that from within the lens of the patriarchy trying to establish ownership over appearances and presence. It's certainly an experience that every woman can identify with, even if they haven't experienced assault themselves. That these poems follow in the wake of breakup certainly proves that emotions color memory; the heartbreak is vivid, so the memories of past trauma and her grief are also vivid. But out of that grief come some of the more beautiful lines that really speak to me, and I truly believe that it's the same for life: rising out of the grief, we'll come back stronger and more capable than ever before."
"Potent and powerful, mandatory reading for feminists of all ages and genders. One doesn't often describe a poetry collection as a page-turner, or 'unputdownable', but I was compelled to read this in one sitting and would urge others to do the same. The collection starts, like all new relationships, full of hope, almost giddy and single-minded, but is soon forced to examine the very nature of relationships and one's own suitability for entering into them. The reader is taken on a dark and foreboding journey but one that remains at times flippant and darkly comedic, laughter is, after all, the best medicine. The author's choice to - in a matter of fact style - list the many cases of abuse or harassment she has received only serves to highlight the normality of such interactions and the compartmentalisation and trivialisation of them as a form of coping strategy."
"Each [poem] written was heartfelt and shows triumphs and tragedies, and the in between emotions. It wasn't always clear where one ended and a new one started, but the words themselves were quite grand. I look forward to reading more by this author."
are you a fan of poetry? i've always felt poetry is a very personal time, like almost so more personal than even a book ... and so many authors go so deep and dark, devealing into those personal heartfelt feeling and moments in our lives. poetry, poems ... so sweet ...but at times sentimental. might cause you to draw on your own love moments? great read. fun layout. but like all book or poems, poetry ... u might get something else from them? so fun. i enjoyed this read. check it out!"
"How can one possibly rate someone else's poetry and words? It's so very personal, on both sides. For the one sharing and the one reading. It takes such courage to share one's inner most thoughts and put it out there for others. I loved this.
Beautiful and honest, Emmanuela has been able to put into words what so many of us have felt, and what our hearts have not been able to put into words. Hard and clean, in the way you feel after a good cry. Cathartic and real. Absolutely wonderful."
"The inexpression of my internal sexuality spilled out to my lips and my kisses tasted like disorder.This book 5 stars you say? TRY 5 MILLIONS STARS! I fell in love right from page . The book speaks abuse, love, life, death, breakup, self love AKA EVERYTHING I LOVE! It had a chronological order, in fact every poem was entitled with a date; we go thro a journey with the author, from having a friend to a bestfriend to a boyfriend to lust to love to happpiness to doubt to abuse to hurt to falling down to rising up. all of this in 50 pages, I can honestly say that this author is a genius. Here are my favorite poems, i picked only a few because i felt like you need to read from the start to get the journey right."
"Hristova's poetry is amazing. She crafts language in a way that is both beautiful and powerful as she tackles difficult subjects while promoting female empowerment. One thing that I especially like about her work is how her poems do not each start on their own page. Instead, her poems will start towards the end of a page and continue on to a next, in a way that is fluid and helps the reader to visually feel the fluidity of her work. The copy that Hristova sent to us also contains images of her artwork. This art only helps to show the depth and darkness of the feelings painted through her poetry. So Dewey Readers, for those looking for a new and fresh poet, definitely check her work out! I rate her work as 5 out of 5 Coffee Beans."
"The poems are also a beautiful and descriptive way of the author expressing her core emotions towards her encounters. It is a delicate touched natured work of what appears to be covering love, loss, and the feelings that each poem wishes to pass along.
The literature was admirable, and I enjoyed how easy it was to understand the references and poetic lyrical nature of the work. Other poem books are just so hard to relate to or to understand, but this collection was quite the opposite.
As one enters a relationship, they face the initial rush of love, excitement, joy and if it does not work out well, then the anger, loss, feeling down follows through."
"[Her] work is not just detailing trauma and suffering, you get poems that remind yourself of when you first fall in love. These reminded me of any relationship I have been, the honeymoon stage, where every new thing is wonderful and what could go wrong? Well, Emmanuella eventually takes off those rose-colored glasses and shows you. I enjoyed reading this work, and it was not a long read which is great for a person like who doesn't read poetry often. I give this book a 4.5-star rating and hope that others enjoy this piece as well."
"Upon Diluting Myself" and "Upon Being a Woman" are the most powerful pieces in the entire collection. 10 stars each of these. "Upon Diluting Myself" is long but super powerful. It's also explicit, painful, eye-opening, and emancipating, all at the same time. Similarly, "Upon Being a Woman" is the most painful piece in The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord. It does have a lot of Spanish words, which I couldn't understand. The poem is probably the longest in the collection but speaks for a lot of women suffering from sexual abuse. "Upon inheritance" is a sad and painful piece that nearly made me cry. Last but certainly not least, The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Discord ends with "Here's to the Woman," Hristova's perfect conclusion to her emotionally raw poetry collection that I believe is dedicated to all women out there. This collection was hard for me to judge, but my overall rating is: 4 stars."
"Emmanuella Hristova is a new to me author. Her book, The Day my Kisses Tasted Like Disorder is a collection of poetry that follow a certain time in her life. The poems are hauntingly beautiful and some relatable. If you’re a fan of poetry, I recommend you reading this collection. Even if you’re not, it’s a beautiful read and worth checking out. I give this 4 stars."
"From a literary perspective, Hristova is extremely skilled in form and structure. Even without the illustrations, the way the words dance across the page, some bolder or larger than others, brings the poetry to life. October 18th especially induces a sense of emptiness with the lengthy gap between the brackets. I absolutely adore how the collection reads like a diary in chronological order to enable the reader a greater connection. She also intelligently crafts different tones, with increased repetition and a bold use of language in the more passionate poems."
What I love about this collection was that it was so freaking honest and raw. It’s like you’re reading her personal diary, it’s beautiful and heartbreaking and unbelievably relatable.
If you’ve ever had you’re heartbroken you will see your pain and anger reflected in Hristova’s words. If you’ve lost someone your heart will ache as she recounts heartbreaking moments with her sister, and navigating the world after losing someone. She shares stories of her trauma, of how scary life is for a woman. Stories that are brutally honest and terrifying in their relatability.
It’s an emotional rollercoaster & it really freaking hurt. I loved it. She took me down memory lane, it was painful and I shed some tears, but my gosh this collection was amazing!"
"You should know that it’s not really easy for poetry books to sway me, but the book ‘The Day My Kisses Tasted like Disorder’ was NOT filled with nonsense and bad grammar like SOME of the other poetry books I read before. I loved how the author was capable to express her life’s story in such short yet beautifully poetic paragraphs. A very short yet heart touching book about the author’s life on how she carries on living her life with a heart filled with sorrow. You’ll surely love it. I’ll give this book a 3.5 out of 5 stars. My favorite quote: “I spent a decade building a fortress around my heart, to protect myself from the pain inflicted from the outside invaders till one day I realized it was awfully lonely in this lofty castle I had built for myself because the only one inside was me…”
"Tell us about your cover art and how it pertains to your book.
The cover art is very special to me. It began as a painting that I completed while I was writing my book, when I was depressed over a spurned lover. It perfectly characterized the raw emotions I felt at the time through a bleak, black background and dark red paint splatters. When it came time to self-publish my book, I designed everything myself using Photoshop. My painting titled became the background, then I overlay simple text on top that included the title, my name, and a short description. I wanted something minimalistic, that could look good while small for the eBook market, and something that represented me and the themes of the book."
"The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder is a collection of poems written by Emmanuella Hristova and in her book she explores pivotal moments in her life, including the death of her sister and the ‘birth and death of a relationship.’ The poems laced throughout the book are moving as well as poignant and will provoke readers thoughts. The poems are mostly short and quick poems but just because they are short does not mean they have little meaning and poignancy, in fact, they are incredibly profound and will definitely stay in readers memories for a long time, and that is just one quality I love about the incredible The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder."
"Emmanuella Hristova is an amazing woman who has a refreshing view on feminism and the part women play. As I am writing this post, I find myself internally screaming YES!! and agreeing with so much of what she says. In the world we live in today, we need more stories, perspectives like this!!
To quote Ms. Hristova,
I hope that my poetry allows women—or anyone—the right to grieve, to feel deeply. Women don’t need to smile all the time, or to be pleasant. If they want to cry, they can cry and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Emmanuella also has amazing advice for new writers and is a lover of Sylvia Plath. I truly feel like this is a woman after my own heart!! Please check her out and take a look at her poetry. She will be someone worth noting and someone I expect to hear more from!"
I started writing poetry when I was in graduate school, when I fell in love for the very first time. It was my first adult relationship and navigating all my feelings while student-teaching grew too overwhelming for my heart. So, my emotions spilled onto the page in order to empty my mind of the weight. At the same time, after the relationship ended, I found out my sister was dying. This was the most painful experience of my life—and I documented each changing feeling, each nuance, in my notebook and then tucked it away for some time. Nine months later, I had a book about love, loss, pain, grief, and overcoming."
"What is your writing process like? Does each poem take ages to write or do some just formquickly? Do you like to bend the rules of poetry or do you prefer writing in a traditionalform/rhyme scheme? Poetry becomes quick and easy for me when I have emotional inspiration. Sometimes I wish I had a different personality type, as in, I wish I was less emotional or sensitive. However, if I wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to write. Because powerful emotions induce profound art. Lately, I’ve begun with a line or two that I think is beautiful and makes sense in my head, and then I begin to form an idea and write it down. Sometimes I edit these little poems later, but sometimes I’m satisfied with the results as is. When it came to The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder, it really was my diary. So, most poems are titled after the day they were written, but a lot of them look backwards, to events that already happened. But I experienced the emotions on that day and that was when I penned them down. Later, my editor and I took a lot of time to readjust the order of the poems, so they made sense in their subsequent chapters. Sometimes I think writing is spilling verbal or emotional vomit on the page and then later coming back and cleaning up the mess."
"When did you start writing and why? A: My latest book is a poetry collection titled The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder. I started it while I was a soon-to-be college graduate musing about feminist issues like street harassment. Eventually, I began writing about the romantic relationship I was involved with at the time, and about the man I was falling in love with. When that relationship ended, the poetry took a tumultuous turn into heartbreak that melted into a depression once I found out my sister was dying, two weeks after my break-up."
"What do you hope readers will get from this book? When I first began this book, it was my diary. It helped me heal through the most difficult part of my life. I took the time and effort to craft and edit what I had written during that time period, in order to give it to others so they too can heal. I published the most intimate parts of myself in order to help others going through a heartbreak or losing someone to cancer. I especially wrote it for women, as a lot of the poetry is written through a lamenting, feminist lens."
Emmanuella Hristova was born in Oakland, California and grew up in the Bay Area. She is the third daughter to Bulgarian parents who immigrated to California shortly before she was born. She began drawing at the ripe age of four, and studied the fine arts for five years in high school. There, she received many art accolades including a Congressional award for her piece Boy in Red in 2009. In 2015, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Linguistics from the University of California, Berkeley. She began writing poetry at age twenty-four when she was in graduate school. She earned her Master's in Education from the same alma mater in 2017. Emmanuella spent two years as an English teacher in Richmond, California. During that time, she self-published her first poetry collection: The Day My Kisses Tasted Like Disorder. Two of her poems have been published in For Women Who Roar and another will be published in an anthology by Wide Eyes Publishing. Currently, she is writing her first novel. She speaks English, Bulgarian, Spanish and is now learning French.