the hopper prize for young poets honorable mention

AUGUST 2016

Honorable Mention for The Hopper Prize for Young Poets has been awarded to Emily K. Michael, author of the manuscript Natural Compliance.

Natural Compliance examines place as an act of intimate positioning, a coming-to-terms with the everyday movement of bodies through industrial and wild spaces. These poems situate the reader along lines of transition—where the ramps end and the more-than-human voices begin. They revel in a radical sensuous collaboration.

Emily K. Michael is a blind poet, musician, and writing instructor living in Jacksonville, Florida. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Wordgathering, The Hopper, Artemis Journal, The Deaf Poets Society, Compose Journal, Rogue Agent, Disability Rhetoric, Breath & Shadow, Bridge Eight, Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, I Am Subject Stories: Women Awakening, BREVITY’S Nonfiction Blog, and Mosaics (Vol. 2). Emily’s work centers on the themes of ecology, disability, feminism, and music. She is committed to challenging the divisions between human and nonhuman experiences—especially how a more-than-human world contributes to music and language. She develops grammar workshops for multilingual learners and participates in local writing festivals. Find her on Twitter @ModwynEarendel and at her blog On the Blink. Enjoy her poem, "Kiwano," from Natural Compliance, below.


Sam Mass, watercolor on paper, 2016, from The Hopper

Sam Mass, watercolor on paper, 2016, from The Hopper

Kiwano

by EMILY K. MICHAEL

Automatic doors crunch along their metal
guideparting to allow us under the rows

and rows of fluorescents. With rattle
and sturdy hum shopping carts
cross the pale green floor. 

Sale flyers whisper promises.
Cinnamon brooms wrapped in cellophane
huddle together, bristles skyward.

We conquer the sugar-flour haze rising
warm from perfect rolls and cakes,
plant ourselves among the stacks

of glossy globes. Red, green, yellow,
some apples dipped in splendid monochrome,
others mottled with careless elegance. 

He presses each fruit into my hand
before dropping it in the sheer fragile bag.

My examinations are quickfingers tracing

predictable curves, dimples, blemishes.
A meditation on faraway orchards,
acres of swaying trees in bloom.

A trance-quest to recover the scent
of all these apples now cupped in cardboard.

The last fruit returns me to this place: unreality
in my open palm. Too large for my hand it flaunts
a surface of spikes, no gloss. A difficult shape.


The Hopper Prize for Young Poets has been awarded to John Saad for his manuscript Longleaf. John lives and works in Birmingham, Alabama, with his wife and their two dogs. His poetry has appeared recently in Kudzu House and ISLE. He is the state winner of the 2014 Hackney Literary Award for Poetry. This fall, he will move to Virginia to begin his MFA at Hollins University. Read about his manuscript here.

Runner-Up has been awarded to Ellene Glenn Moore for her manuscript The Dark Edge of the Bluff. Ellene is a poet living in sunny South Florida. She earned her MFA in creative writing from Florida International University, where she held a John S. and James L. Knight Foundation Fellowship in Poetry, and her BA in creative writing from Carnegie Mellon University. Ellene has been the recipient of a residency at the Studios of Key West and a scholarship to the New York State Summer Writers Institute. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Raleigh Review, Brevity, Best New Poets, Spillway, Chautauqua, Ninth Letter, and elsewhere. Read about her manuscript here.