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Kelly Hoffer

 May 1, 2023

UNDERSHORE is author Kelly Hoffer's first book of poems, and is the winner of the Lightscatter Press Prize, awarded in 2022 and chosen by judge Diana Khoi Nguyen. Alive with formal daring, the poems in UNDERSHORE examine the speaker’s ongoing grief following the loss of her mother. The book engages the botanical world, shorelines, desire, intimacy, and grief, all to reveal the unexpected and inevitable way these concerns merge into one another through language’s alchemy. 

View and interact with the multimodal quilt app here.


View the gallery for the textile artist's book 'a knot dense

and beautiful,' by Lauren Callis, here.

ISBN: 978-1-7364835-2-7
Format: Paperback

Order UNDERSHORE here.


my mother sitting at a table opening 

bread her fingers moving with a bitter 

hiccup. the table shines under the torn food 

she breaks open for 

me and she pulls a          hyacinth from the center— 

her breeding seed, counting each piece 

my eyes shine with bluepetals and 

she         asks me if 

my brothers are all right if         my sister 

is still afloat in the giant sad sea 

of losing a lover to heroin. 

           She asks of her own 

eyes, a vision of a voided ceiling 

leaving no hem to wipe up our puke 

no string for our hair. 

she asks me nothing of myself        only 

if I am eating and I say 


from UNDERSHORE. First published as “The Visitation,” in  Ugly Duckling Presse’s

Second Factory, Issue 1, May 2020.

About the Author

Kelly Hoffer is a poet and book artist. 

Her poetry was recognized as a finalist for the National Poetry Series in both 2020 and 2021. She holds an MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and a PhD in Literatures in English from Cornell University. She currently teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan as the Helen Zell Visiting Professor in Poetry.


UNDERSHORE is her first book of poems.

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