Safety Razor combines personal lyrics with translations from Old Norse, its taut poems running like high-wires between the poles of terror and joy, danger and safety, erudition and naivety. Mingling subjects as diverse as dinosaur bones and diacritical markers, Vikings and mothering, Safety Razor pits cultural and historical flotsam against the intimate and the academic. Be prepared for a voice that is both vulnerable and scientific as it explores the exploitation of Jumbo the Elephant, how a baby experiences a tornado, or a Viking demonstration of poetic prowess through vomit and blood. Every line in Osborne’s sharp verse is like a “pin dipped in tobacco spit,” something inked with precision and grit.
"Each poem in Safety Razor is a rune that Osborne has so deftly scribed with beautiful and subtle language to meditate on the past. Like how 'planets threw anvils / into clouds' to bring rain, Osborne strikes her own verse with refreshing poignancy, bringing together past and present like 'two hemispheres pressure each other'." — David Ly, author of Dream of Me as Water
"Safety Razor reveals a wonderfully sophisticated, multi-dimensional poetic sensibility at work. In poems that move from subtly pleasing quotidian surfaces into mordant, often startling philosophic depths, Emily Osborne sustains an uncommonly close attention to the English language at its most elastic and agile." – Rahat Kurd, author of The City That Is Leaving Forever
"In Safety Razor Emily Osborne parses 'breath in tandem,' cutting as a razor can clean distinctions, patterns and insights held side by side, or overlapping. Poems are palate cleansers ('rinds citrus-stung') for the tongue, the heart, the mind. A rich complexity of memories, science, and curiosities I savour long after reading." – Cornelia Hoogland, author of Dressed in Only a Cardigan She Picks Up Her Tracks in the Snow
Safety Razor "is a dense journey through images and anecdotes, each line a full use of sound and rhythm." – Joe Enns for The British Columbia Review
"Safety Razor is a collection heavily steeped in [the] idea of inheritance and reception. It is [...] a gathering of poems about the evolution of family, from the speaker’s youth to the formation of a new family, [...] about carrying bits of culture and history forward." – Margaryta Golovchenko for filling station