THE HOPPER POETRY PRIZE
We are pleased to announce that Julie Phillips Brown is the winner of The Hopper Poetry Prize for her manuscript The Adjacent Possible.
Gorgeously spare, hypnotic, the poems in The Adjacent Possible are a meditation on an “adjacent” possibility “[w]ithout I, without / you,” the insight that “the joint of two not solids . . . is no joint at all.” The poems in this collection beckon to the relationship of all beings, examine the “flurried noises” of language, the “substrata” of consciousness that distinguishes seer and seen, the eye the “gracejoint.” Following the arc of seasons, “particulars” of landscape “accrete,” imitate the “brief echoes of / an objective real” as filtered through the gaze of “one” who “still looks out” on ones that “sound” and “speak.” The language is part play, part theory: winter with its “edges fringed with wintersedge,” spring when “Lilies wave by / lovely / lovely,” when “the is larks / through utter night, skirrs / at the hum of dawn,” summer “most bodied, / the most seeming.” This “radiant” poetic force, as heralded in the epigraph from Édouard Glissant, animates the “mind’s infoldings,” “ghosts of / patterns, wisps crossing / an interior eye,” reduces to glance the “cloudlight [that] tinks / at the atomic.” In the narrative arc, summer leaves us in the tenuous moment when the “I / come into iridescence” perceives its shift from one to “we,” asks “if we [can] conjure beyond / a useless symbolic, without / order / unalone, no one.” It interrogates how we “scaffold the abstract / fortifying the angles” of existence. The question of spring—“What is an I if / alone?”—is recollected at the end, in late summer, but with intensity exacted over time: “will you be / still by me, still possible?”
—Kathleen Hellen, author of Umberto’s Night
Julie Phillips Brown is a poet, painter, scholar, and book artist. After earning an MFA and a PhD at Cornell University, she served as the NEH Post-Doctoral Fellow in Poetics at Emory University’s Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry. Her essays and poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Columbia Poetry Review, Conjunctions, Crab Orchard Review, Denver Quarterly, Interim, Jacket2, Peregrine, Posit, Rappahannock Review, Tahoma Literary Review, Talisman, Vinyl, and elsewhere. She currently lives in Lexington, Virginia, where she teaches creative writing, studio art, and American literature. Her website is tactualpoiesis.com. Enjoy a poem from The Adjacent Possible below.
Whole fields curved
to the sway of
unwritten as it is, indeterminate
Without hints without hue
without I, without
And yes to is, to does;
yes to and, or, alternatively, to or.
Yes to winterfruit and other nouns,
to adjectival, adverbial rondures
and these flurried noises
the voices’ scrattle in the white
cacophony of if,