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Cover for Stay Safe (Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry)

Stay Safe (Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry)

Emma Hine


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At the center of this stellar collection are three sisters and their imaginative fear of grief. Their great-uncle was bitten by a shark, their mother has a brain tumor, their neighbor hangs himself from a tree--and to cope with these very real terrors, the oldest sister creates an intimate fantasy world. We hear stories of a mountain lion that slaughters a deer, a transparent body washed up on a beach, a selkie who ventures to shore and becomes their mother: "On land her pelt was heavy / like stewed velvet, so she taught herself / to take it off." The sisters' environment of ocean and sand, forests and farmhouses, forms a lush backdrop to many of these poems. But later, as the speaker ages, we find ourselves in the mountains, in an art museum, in a spacecraft where a recorded voice "has the soft accent of someone only a generation or two removed from Earth." The voice in these poems is the perfect mix of grief and imagination, quiet and explosion. Stay Safe is delicate and extraordinary, a powerful debut.

Sarabande Books, 9781946448682, 72pp.

Publication Date: January 5, 2021

About the Author

Originally from Austin, Texas, Emma Hine received a BA from Washington University in St. Louis and an MFA from New York University. She currently serves as the Communications Manager at the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) and the Education Content Specialist at the Academy of American Poets. Prior to this, she was the Associate Content & Education Editor at the Academy of American Poets. She is also a co-founder and co-host of Debut Revue, a virtual reading series celebrating debut poetry collections. Hine's poems have previously appeared or are forthcoming in: 32 Poems, Arts & Letters, Copper Nickel, Gulf Coast, Hayden's Ferry Review, the Mississippi Review, the Missouri Review Online, Ninth Letter, The Offing, The Paris Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Radar Poetry, and The Southern Review.