The Hopper Poetry Prize
We are pleased to announce that Elizabeth Dodd has received honorable mention for The Hopper Poetry Prize for her manuscript In the Cabinet of Wonders.
In the Cabinet of Wonders is a carboniferous collection examining the nature of scale, kinship, evolution, language, apocalypse, origins, and climate change. Dodd brings us through studies of the nature of matter and phenomena; she picks through the meat of isogloss and isotope, homology and homeopathy, rhyme and its slants. “Oh, is that / your foot on the trail, not mine?” she asks. A shifting shape underwater is at once a chain link fence and a cherished quilt and a microscopic cell. Her lyrical cabinetry is formally inventive and metrically deft—as much a pleasure to see on the page as it is to read aloud. She has ascribed the crystalline grammar of the sentence to the most dreamlike studies reminiscent of the distended state between wake and sleep. In the Cabinet of Wonders is mystical but lucid, skeptical but reverent—always smart, endlessly curious, and definitively funny. Examining a volcano prompts the speculation “Maybe this flora / is carbon’s declension”—indeed, Dodd is committed to such declensions of carbon in all its inflections, decay, and reconstitutions.
—Anna Mullen, The Hopper Poetry Editor
Elizabeth Dodd teaches creative writing, science and society, and environmental humanities at Kansas State University. She is the nonfiction editor at Terrain.org. Her most recent book is Horizon's Lens from University of Nebraska Press. Catch up with her at elizabethdodd.com. Enjoy her title poem from In the Cabinet of Wonders below.
In the Cabinet of Wonders
the cow has stepped from
her keratin boots and stands near the stromatolite
bloom and its visual echo—a woman’s hat archaic
with 1950s chiffon and shirred net—variant strains
of memento mori; and my student Amelia
takes pictures with her tablet in the room
where the digital microscope reads eclectic slides
(heart muscle, woody plant) so we can ponder the world
beyond the museum’s curatorial hush where Samantha’s
handwritten notes log her fluorescent moments
alongside the skull’s mask labeled maxilla, mandible,
lacrimal bone; and last night I dreamed
of my mother, dead decades before I ever
admired this cloche of feathers the color of amber
or embers, or with binoculars watched, from the bare
lumber walls of a bird blind, whooping cranes lift
into the damaged air and the world’s catalogue of grievance
lies oh heavy on me oh see how the cow has transcended her flesh