30th Anniversary Alumni Appreciation: Emily Cramer

Emily CramerÈlan Literary Magazine is celebrating its 30th Anniversary. In honor of our longevity we are posting work from our editorial staff alumnus, which includes biographies, Q&A’s, and excerpts of their pieces.

After graduating from Douglas Anderson in 2014, Emily Cramer moved to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University, where she is studying Nursing. She is a member of the Honors Student Association and has been on the Dean’s List for the past three semesters. She is currently serving as Secretary on the Executive Board of Lady Spirithunters, a spirit-based organization that works closely with the Florida State Athletic Department to spread love of FSU to the Tallahassee community and other FSU students.

 

Cherokee Land, 1830

(From Èlan 2014)

We found a maimed wolf this morning,

caught in the chicken wire.

Pa called for my brother

to fetch the rifle.

When he passed

he brushed my shoulder,

whispering of footsteps

words spoken in a tongue

we could not understand.

 

Sometimes at night,

when Pa slept off his fingers

of whiskey and twigs snapped

beyond our windows,

Ma told us stories of man and wolf

melding into one,

sun thrumming through veins.

She told us how we pushed

into their land, built on their earth.

She told us of a brotherhood

painted on hills, feathers sticking

to stone to form figures,

histories hung from

lips lit by fire.

 

My brother returned with the rifle.

Pa hawked up spit and sent

it into the wolf’s face.

He told us to watch,

learn what happens when savages

enter our land, take from our mouths.

 

 

 

Dear Harper

(Performed at the Èlan 30th Anniversary Alumni Reading)

Between your ink-blot pages

I found the cul-de-sac

at the end of our street,

where my brother and I

raced bicycles

round

and around

and around,

until we stumbled

home, dizzy with

grins and sun.

In Scout,

I discovered my mother,

mirror image

younger sister, scabbed knees,

undending curiosity and stubbornness,

a kindness sunken into

her very being.

Within your letter fragments

I unearthed

the history of the soil

I buried by toes in,

from sun rays dappling

leaves in the park down

the street,

to dark boughs bending

over, cries ringing

through the wood.

 

But in Atticus,

dear Mr. Finch,

I found the father

I had only dreamt of,

a father who would

take my hand and explain

justice in a way I understood,

a father who would

hang on my every word,

who treated me like

my mind was made of gold.

 

Somewhere, a mockingbird

begins to sing,

and two children

run through a wood,

their father following

with a smile.

 

 

What lesson did you learn at DA that sticks with you still? (Not just a lesson in the classroom but a larger lesson that gives perspective to your current life)

In junior and senior year, I really began to understand that fiction and poetry are not completely separate genres. In my last two years at DA, I began experimenting with using fictional storytelling techniques in my poetry, and using poetic language in my fiction. Some stories need to be written in a fictional format, and others need to be poems. At DA, with the help of [my instructors], I learned how to merge genres and write stories the way I needed and they needed to be told.