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cover of An Archeology of the Future
An Archeology of the Future by Emma Catherine Hoff. Cover art by Rebecca Wu, 9.

A note from Emma Wood

Hello, Stone Soup readers & writers,

Earlier this month, we announced that Archeology of the Future by Emma Catherine Hoff, the poetry winner of Stone Soup’s 2022 Book Contest, was released and is available for purchase! Please support Stone Soup and Emma by buying her book today.

If you have participated in one of our writing workshops recently, you have likely met Emma! Likewise, if you have been reading Stone Soup for the past couple of years, you will have encountered many of her poems (and maybe one of her photographs!) on our pages.

I wish Stone Soup could take credit for making Emma into the poet she is today—and surely we have played some small role—but she came to our classes and our submission pool already a very mature poet with a strong voice and sense of style. I remember being astonished when I first encountered “The Ambassador” in our submission pool—it was dark, surreal, moving, strange. (To me, “strange” is the highest compliment any poem can receive—denoting both originality but also complexity and mystery; a “strange” poem always demands rereading.) Emma was eight years old when she wrote it, and it was the first poem of hers that we published.

We are so proud, three years later, to be publishing her collection of poems, which has garnered the advance praise it deserves. Read on for a taste of what others are saying about her collection and further, to read a poem from the collection.

Like the Surrealists before her, Hoff can see into the emotional lives of the things we use every day, things we toss around carelessly… If one of my friends had written this beautifully when I was starting out, I would have probably quit, and doffed my cap to her and said “you go on ahead” or more likely, “you’re already there.”

— Matthew Rohrer, author of The Others

Emma Hoff is a rare poet. And one of my favorites.I am tempted to use the words visionary, otherworldly, untimely, genius. I am tempted to say she flies above the earth. When I read Emma Hoff for the first time years ago, I thought: She’s not from this planet. I thought: She does not remind me of other poets; she makes me forget them.

— Conner Bassett, author of Gad’s Book

This collection is a garden of eurekas, a cavalcade of astonishments as, stanza by stanza, Hoff delivers the musings of a subtle intellect fed by a deep and abiding empathy for this world. The deftness of the prosody is only matched by its variety. Open it, and read for yourself.

— Carlos Hernandez, NY Times bestselling author of Sal and Gabi Break the Universe

The delights to be uncovered in An Archeology of the Future strike me with awe, urgency, solace, and compassion. How daring, how beautiful, how extraordinary it is, in this moment of the world when our world feels so broken, that Mt. Parnassas is still at work, and Hoff is a voice so richly sowed.

— Jenny Boully, author of Betwixt and Between: Essays on the Writing Life

From An Archeology of the Future

The Lamp

by Emma Catherine Hoff, 1o

The light shines innocently,

but it blinds me,

my eyes become red.


I shy from it

and still it follows me

with its intense gaze

boring into me as I walk around the room.


I feel the hot bulb,

sense the lamp melting

and perspiring under its own fever,

its own light.


The business is done,

I think,

but my dreams that night are of

that still figure creeping up on me,

and the next day, I find the lamp

standing again.


It glares at me

and whispers in my ear,

burning it, telling me

that the sun’s light is not enough.


I ask it how it knows,

but the sun dies

and the lamp is still glowing

and I am grateful for it now.


We make our way through the darkness

until it parts with me,

saying it must go,

its filament cannot take

the strain anymore

and that the darkness isn’t as bad

as people think.

Click here to purchase An Archeology of the Future.

Stone Soup is published by Children’s Art Foundation-Stone Soup Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization registered
in the United States of America, EIN: 23-7317498.


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