A mesmerizing and moving first collection, Model Disciple gives us a poetry of two minds. Confounded by Japanese-Canadian legacies too painful to fully embrace, Michael Prior’s split speakers struggle to understand themselves as they submit to their reinvention: “I am all that is wrong with the Old World, / and half of what troubles the New.” Prior emerges as a poet not of identity, but identities. Invented identities, double identities, provisional identities—his art always bearing witness to a sense of self held long enough to shed at a moment’s notice. Model Disciple‘s Ovidean shape-shifting is driven by formal mastery and mot juste precision. It’s also one of the most commanding poetic debuts in years.
About the Author
Michael Prior's poems have appeared in many publications across North America and the UK. Winner of Walrus's Poetry Prize, Matrix Magazine’s LitPop Award, Grain’s Short Grain Contest, Magma Poetry’s Editors' Prize and Vallum’s Poetry Prize, Michael currently resides in Ithaca, New York, where he is an MFA candidate in poetry at Cornell University.
“In many ways—the range of interests, quality of language, the attention to rhythm—Prior's work is a kind of blend of P. K. Page and Karen Solie, but I make those comparisons only to say that his work is already polished and self-assured." —Jay Ruzesky, The Malahat Review
"Model Disciple comes alive in its beautiful precision of detail, defamiliarizing language, resonant music, and deep intimacy. These poems are lyrical accounts of the natural world intersecting with the manmade. They are viscerally present, and felt, written to illuminate and endure." —Hannah Sanghee Park, author, The Same-Different
"With Model Disciple, Michael Prior launches, fully-armed, into the fray, taking on the topics of love, loss, war and cultural identity with a combination of fierceness and delicacy so rare in a first collection. Prior’s book swarms with presences both animal and human, as well as spectral; it bristles with texture and glows with unforgettable images that are laden with both ghastliness and grace." —Alexandra Oliver, author, Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway and Let the Empire Down