Emily Rose Hazel's work responds to the devastation after Hurricane Sandy, the theme of "Light and Darkness," and to the passages of Isaiah 50:2-3; 59:9-11 and Luke 1:78-79 as she builds a poetry collection responding to every theme from the year as a 2013 Spark+Echo Artist in Residence.
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2 Wherefore, when I came, was there no man? when I called, was there none to answer? Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness: their fish stinketh, because there is no water, and dieth for thirst. 3 I clothe the heavens with blackness, and I make sackcloth their covering.
9 ¶ Therefore is judgment far from us, neither doth justice overtake us: we wait for light, but behold obscurity; for brightness, but we walk in darkness. 10 We grope for the wall like the blind, and we grope as if we had no eyes: we stumble at noonday as in the night; we are in desolate places as dead men . 11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.
78 Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, 79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
“In the Wake of the Storm” is a response to the devastation of Hurricane Sandy, particularly its impact on the New York metro region. While I was very grateful to have come through the storm unscathed, a number of my friends were directly affected by it. Some felt the effects for days; others are still dealing with the aftermath months later.
After seeing widespread power outages and damage from fallen trees, flooding, and fires, those images stayed with me. Talking with people who had experienced these losses, I was struck by how quickly our modern world can be turned upside-down and how powerless we feel when this happens.
Crisis, as we know, brings out the best and the worst in human nature—the light and the dark. It presents an opportunity for people to adapt with remarkable resilience and generously help each other, or to dip into despair and take advantage of one another’s vulnerability.
I wanted to write a poem that would hold kernels of many stories from people in different areas who are recovering from disaster, and to leave room for questions that arise out of pain and anger, as a way of giving voice to their ongoing struggle.
Where the Boardwalk Used to Be,
Taken by Emily Rose Hazel, Edited by Charis J Carmichael Braun
Emily Ruth Hazel is a New York City-based poet and writer who is passionate about making poetry accessible to a diverse audience of readers and listeners. Twice she has been awarded a Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Prize in a national competition for emerging poets. A collection of her poetry, Body & Soul (Finishing Line Press), was published as a finalist in the New Women’s Voices competition. Her work has also appeared in Kindred, Magnolia: A Journal of Women’s Socially Engaged Literature, Brown Alumni Magazine, The Mochila Review, Texas Poetry Calendar 2014 (Dos Gatos Press), Deep Waters (Outrider Press), The Heart of All That Is (Holy Cow! Press), and Mercury Retrograde (Kattywompus Press), among other publications.
A graduate of Oberlin College’s Creative Writing Program, she has led creative writing workshops for youth at schools, libraries, and community centers in Massachusetts, Ohio, New York, and South Africa. She has also mentored underserved teens through Girls Write Now, a nonprofit dedicated to nurturing the next generation of women writers.
Emily enjoys cross-pollinating with artists of all kinds and has performed her work solo and collaboratively at numerous events. Two of her recent appearances were at the International Arts Movement conference and at the album release concert for "Soon We Will Not Be Here" by James Hall Thousand Rooms Quartet, a CD featuring poems transformed into songs by jazz trombonist/composer James Hall. You can connect with Emily on her Facebook Artist’s Page: facebook.com/emilyruthhazel.