the hopper prize for young poets honorable mention
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.
Automatic doors crunch along their metal
guide—parting 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 quick—fingers 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.