THE HOPPER POETRY PRIZE
We are pleased to announce that Jeanne Lutz is runner-up for The Hopper Poetry Prize for her manuscript Until the Kingdom Comes.
How to “farm for tomorrow?” That is the question that stitches this collection of characters into a landscape of “cabbage and cowtank,” “udder balm” and “vast, uncluttered sky.” Where the world’s largest ball of twine “sits permanently parked beneath the water tower,” a colorful cast comes into spotlight: Patty the Dog Lady, The John Deere Implement Dealer, the banker dressed like Elvis, Orlando the beloved pig. Told through the voice of the “local angel” who’s “gone organic non GMO,” aka “Ms. Farmer in [the] dell,” these poems celebrate with sometimes tender humor the past, tradition, and community—the family and neighbors who convene for each other in their “good clothes.” Is it “foolish joy?” She resists the nightly mourning of “another shooting in the news,” and despite the troubled farmland, won’t sell out for theme parks. In a bifurcated America, in the exigency of this moment, of generations in transition, this canny narrator knows she’s not “the only mortal in the forest.” Though she longs to be “woven into [the] world” of birds on a fencepost, until the kingdom comes . . . she holds out for better corn prices.
—Kathleen Hellen, author of Umberto’s Night
Jeanne Lutz grew up on a small dairy farm in southern Minnesota, attended the National University of Ireland Galway, and spent two years in Japan. A Pushcart Prize nominee, Best of the Net nominee, and Loft Mentor Series fellow for poetry, she is the author of the chapbook Hearts and Harrows and her poetry has appeared in The Missouri Review, NonBinary Review, Conduit, and elsewhere. She divides her time between the family farm and working at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Enjoy a poem from Until the Kingdom Comes below.
who can listen unmoved
to the sweet love tales of robins
sung from tree to tree?
how do insects
in this short scratch called summer
learn the sublime art of hiding themselves
and their young as well as they do—
baffling the rigor of the season,
safeguarding sacred eggs,
those tiny tiny portions of ethereal heat?
a swarm of bees
as big as my head
rushed a scarlet tanager
which flew away screaming
not long after I found the bird
dead on the ground
I opened its caw
picked out 24 bees
and laid them on a leaf
in the sun
16 returned to life
licked themselves clean
and chartered themselves back to the hive
imagine the story they told their queen
after that adventure and escape
I leave strands of my hair
on a fencepost for birds to use
as nest insulation
ah and oh
the gall of me to long to be
woven into their world