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Unterberg Poetry Center

Heidi Johannesen Poon

Heidi Johannesen Poon was a 2018 Discovery winner. Her chapbook is The Good News of the Ground (2009), for which she won the Poetry Society of America’s Chapbook Fellowship. She has received fellowships and support from Brown University; the Iowa Writer’s Workshop, where she also completed her MFA; the Virginia Commission for the Arts; the MacDowell Colony; Rona Jaffe at Bread Loaf; and a Carlow University Residency in Ireland as the recipient of the Patricia Dobler Award. She lives with her family in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Below are Heidi Johannesen Poon’s poem “Arne’s Solution” and a draft of that poem, originally printed in the Winners’ Reading program May 10, 2018, as well as a video excerpt of her reading from that night.

  • Arne’s Solution

    The Dr., brilliant, Oxford, asked me to hold out my arms.
     
    They flapped like broken handlebars,
    like organ failure
     
    which would ensue.
     
    The psychiatrist, alone with the lowered class
    smell of bad retsina
     
    and the lithium crate she withdrew,
     
    is unsure, tonight,
    if I’m a real emergency. On the khaki hospital phone
     
    Arne calls me about Jesus Christ.
     
  • Manuscript page

Heidi Johannesen Poon reads “Prayer”