In 2009 she won second prize in the Edwin Morgan International Poetry Competition. Her poems have appeared in various publications, including the Rialto, Poetry Salzburg, Warwick Review and Horizon Review, and have been anthologised in Dove Release, Birdbook, clinic II and Herbarium. Her poems appear in The Salt Book of Younger Poets and The Best British Poetry 2011. She is a regular poetry reviewer for Warwick Review. natural histories is her first pamphlet.
Nature is not so much the subject as an unavoidable force in these poems, providing space and fodder for meditations on our knowledge of self and other. Here, the small histories that complement or contradict grand narratives come to the fore. Hasler adopts the stance of the naturalist, seeking to observe and collect, but with the imagination working alongside the eye. Along the way these poems confront questions of naming and categorising, and ask how our environments and our past affect us, and we them. How did we become? Change and adaptation is the key here. The manner of investigation never shies away from the fact that nature can be both deeply personal and unfamiliar. Rather it embraces both of these aspects and uses them to construct its own narrative, one of shaping and discovery. Much like the subjects contained within them, poems have their own organic forms, adapted to purpose. It is this adaptation combined with precision and sentiment that give this debut force and vitality.
Read a feature on natural histories on Peony Moon.
‘Hasler has real gifts: her observations are sharp, her language is crisp, and her music is beguiling.
‘scrupulously attentive poems (that) compare favourably with the Elizabeth Bishop of “Sandpiper”’
‘Hasler is one of those poets: her tender, intelligent eye illuminates the real. I always read her work with pleasure.’
‘There’s a wonderful exuberance about the poems in Emily Hasler’s ‘Natural Histories’. Her joy in language is as clear as her pleasure in her encounters with animals and birds, whether existing or extinct. Her creatures resist being held by simple definitions as she strives to glimpse new truths, extending the confines of purely scientific research. As nature writing redefines its parameters, Emily Hasler is an exciting poet for the future.’
Buy natural histories here.
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