Emily Hasler was born in Felixstowe, Suffolk and studied at the University of Warwick for a BA in English Literature and Creative Writing and an MA in Romanticism. She now lives in London. 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 2 and Herbarium. Her poems also appear in The Salt Book of Younger Poets and The Best British Poetry 2011. She is a regular poetry reviewer for Warwick Review.
“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 are the keys 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.”
“Hasler has real gifts: her observations are sharp, her language is crisp, and her music is beguiling.”
– Paul Batchelor
“Hasler is one of those poets: her tender, intelligent eye illuminates the real. I always read her work with pleasure.”
– Emma Jones
“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.”
– Andrew Forster
for my father, who is usually right
It was named for Cecil Rhodes, you said,
may have had other names on other tongues.
But I have since found that it means ‘rose-tree’.
They need acidity in the soil, you told me.
The mulch of old leaves and earth we walk on
is enough. The chance or thought that made this be
is irrelevant here, where conditions are right
or else there would not be this full colouring.
Every bloom now is a massive cupped handful.
There is a pink so deep it could be called everlasting.
You wonder, still, how it got here. And how did we?
Arise, tree. The roots are Latin, the original Nepalese.
First published in the Wordsworth Trust newsletter.
It was there you first had Bacardi,
and now it takes you back.
That first sip is the sun on your face.
The last is your foot in the road; unsteady.
The rains brought the toads.
They must have always been there,
but now they made your path
a creaking, slippery bone-mash.
Big Kev hated that, his weight being
an inglorious, crunching death to toads.
One day he painted each amphibian
white, so they showed in the dark.
A kindness. Unable to bear, like the little
glinting bodies, the knowledge drawn from
the sole of the shoe, foot, and its
connected parts’ cumulative pressure.
The lacquer, or something in it, killed them.
They littered the street like crumpled tissues.
No crunch. As though their clockwork
had wound down, they stayed stopped.
from Natural Histories (Salt Publishing, 2011).
Order Natural Histories.
Read three poems from ‘The Safe Harbour’ in Horizon Review.
Read five poems at Days of Roses.
Read Emily’s poems about Wild Bergamot, Tea Tree and Curly Parsley. They’re included in the Herbarium anthology edited by James Wilkes.
Read ‘Wet Season’.