The Book of Emergencies

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Rosemarie Dombrowski’s The Book of Emergencies is a first book from an already well-established poet in the literary worlds of Phoenix and Tempe, Arizona. In this work, her poetry dwells between the verbal and the nonverbal through her creation of gripping symbols to represent the everyday life she shares with her autistic son. The result is a lyrical, visceral dance that entices the reader into a music-world of language to sway together with Dombrowski and her son as they navigate the hostilities of medical specialists, the ignobilities of the body, and discover a makeshift communication of sounds and images, where we hang precariously, along with her, between the good days and the bad ones.

~Lynn Houston, founder of Five Oaks Press


Personal as the experiences behind The Book of Emergencies are, these poems never weigh on the reader or exploit the situation for easy effects. Their dazzling achievement is to transform a mother’s difficulties into a lyrical sequence whose language is engaging and imaginative. Rosemarie Dombrowski explores her autistic son’s world candidly, yet her book is far from being a bleak one as she moves from humor to frustration to a kind of love only her poems can describe. Her intuition never fails as she always finds the right tone in writing about disconcerting events, and the rewards for bravery in taking on this subject matter are here for all to read.

~David Chorlton, author of Waiting for the Quetzal (Selected Works) and winner of The Slipstream Chapbook Award for The Age of Miracles


Rosemarie Dombrowski’s The Book of Emergencies is a “beautifully polluted concoction” full of insight and empathy, as it reconciles the realities of parenting and autism with linguistic finesse. These tender poems become elegies for all the moments of fleeting deaths suffered in doctor’s offices, grocery stores, and the privacy of home. The Book Of Emergencies is a “chaotic mingling of synapses” crafted from the deflated birthday balloons and scraps of paper containing scribbled hospital instructions that Dombrowski holds closest to her heart. This writing is intimate and honest and resonates with the redemptive capacity of love.

~Shawnte Orion, author of The Existentialist Cookbook