The Hopper Poetry Prize


We are pleased to announce that Kristen Staby Rembold has received Honorable Mention for The Hopper Poetry Prize for her manuscript Music Lesson.

Music Lesson is organized into movements, rather like a symphony: Terrain, Love Note, Music Lesson, Long Ago, and Picture from the Group of Seven. These movements encompass the seasons, years passing in the life of a family, wonders of the natural world and of existence itself.

Kristen Staby Rembold teaches poetry and fiction writing at WriterHouse in Charlottesville, Virginia, and is also a master gardener and amateur musician. Her most recent book is a chapbook of poetry, Leaf and Tendril, published by Finishing Line Press. She also has published a novel, Felicity, winner of Mid-List Press First Fiction Series Award. Her writing has appeared in many literary journals and periodicals including Southern Poetry Review, Green Mountains Review, Literary Mama, Crab Orchard Review, Appalachia, and New Ohio Review. Enjoy her poem "Long Ago" from Music Lesson, below.


Long Ago

 Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

They come to a stop
at a distant bay, cut
the motor, rock and bob
in the wave-chop,
drifting from shore,

its lichened rocks,
grassed slope, shuttered
splattered house and silent bell. 
A centeredness,
a bowing forward.

She and her father,
bobbins open,
flick to cast, line glinting
as it unspools, crosses over,
back, faster

than fish
leaping, than mind’s
eye, away and away,
then sinks in place.
She keeps asking,

when they finish not to go
straight home,
but farther,
to the rocky ledge,

rocks striped red
and flecked with mica,
like pictures she’s seen of Jupiter
at school, tapped
by the rubber-tipped pointer.

There, before
the aster fringe
and nursery of evergreens,
if you climb the rock
you can find the edge

where rock meets soil,
where flints and shards
sparkle in the dust.
That was what
she’d wanted.

But she never shakes the fear
that when she returns,
islands will seem other worlds,
channels will seem other seas,
so she’ll be lost

and fail to spot
the channel leading to the harbor,
no more than she can ever
locate empty seats in a crowded room,
or her child

in a throng,
suddenly aware
of the cold, wishing for
the haven of familiar
hands and faces,

for the rough-
textured terry towel
used to rub
someone awake,
or alive.