Emily Hasler was born in Suffolk but has washed up on the Essex side of the River Stour. She has been a Hawthornden Fellow and received an Eric Gregory Award in 2014. A pamphlet, Natural Histories, was published by Salt in 2011. Her first full-length collection, The Built Environment, came out in 2018 from Pavilion Poetry and moves between the local and the distant, the urban and the rural, and past and present. Hasler’s poems probe at the ways we understand and reconstruct our environment. Examining places, objects, buildings, landscapes, rivers and bridges, these poems ask how our world is made, and how it makes us.
All winter the river was one creature.
It shrank and expanded, but maintained
its borders. I saw to the bottom. Firm sinew.
Clear curve. I swam in it long as I could bear.
Now it is many things: muddy-shored, grass
fuzzing edges, trees that overreach
and vibrate with reflection. Insects came,
pocked the surface with legs and wings.
Then clumps of grass, detached weeds,
fur of blossoms pollen the bottom
too became confused lifting off in slicks
of mud brown trout and me
temperate following a mirrored
vapour trail an inverted bankline
green and yellow bands bobbing
beyond reach we are bodies I think and unthink
First published in The Built Environment, Liverpool University Press (2018).