The Hopper Poetry Prize


We are pleased to announce that Meg Eden is runner-up of The Hopper Poetry Prize for her manuscript Drowning in the Floating World.


In Drowning in the Floating World, Eden thoughtfully and creatively catalogs and mourns the tragedy of the tsunami that caused the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster. Drawing on Western, Eastern, and invented poetic forms, Eden engages fully with the complexity of the situation by embracing the irresolute nature of loss, examining the inadequacy of local and global response to the crisis, and threading the perspectives of the dead and nonhuman lives into the collection. These poems confront the enormity of tragedy and how it impacts landscape and community, illustrating how the boundaries of grief are blurred and leaky: “how do I tell Kaori’s father / about the twenty thousand bodies / at the bottom of the ocean, / his daughter perpetually dying / inside my mouth?” This collection compelled my attention with its intelligence and heart, its refusal to offer simple answers, its solaces incomplete yet urgent as it makes a “gesture like prayer.”

—Amie Whittemore, author of Glass Harvest

Meg Eden's work is published or forthcoming in magazines including Prairie Schooner, Poetry Northwest, Crab Orchard Review, RHINO, and CV2. She teaches creative writing at Anne Arundel Community College. She has five poetry chapbooks, and her novel Post-High School Reality Quest is published with California Coldblood, an imprint of Rare Bird Books. Find her online at or on Twitter @ConfusedNarwhal. Enjoy her poem "Things to Do in My Hometown: Higashimatsushima," from Drowning in the Floating World, below.

Things to Do in My Hometown: Higashimatsushima

after Gary Snyder

Become a spirit & wander as a lantern
through a nostalgic alleyway.
Thrift shop in the ruins of a mall.
Make miso out of seaweed from a backyard,
make udon from the debris in a living room.
Try to remember friends’ names, & what
they looked like before they were found.
Watch the water recede.
Watch someone at the top of the hill
build what looks like a shed for a dog.
Imagine living in a dog’s house, imagine being
a dog, living in a neighbor’s house.  
Make a list of places to move to. Go through the house
& find what has & has not been affected.
(Is the milk still good? The natto? ) Make a map
of where all the buildings used to be. Go to the woods
to find something that’s living. Go find a fox,
ask how many tails it takes to outsmart disaster.
Tell the fox what it means
to be a survivor, & watch the fox
tend to its young. Think about what it’s like
to be the tsunami: filling the earth,
subduing it: to be fruitful & multiply, multiply, multiply,
dominion over fish, birds
and over every living thing that moves about the earth.


Things to Do in My Hometown: Higashimatsushima originally appeared in Contemporary Verse 2.