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.
"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 of 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 of Meeting the Tormentors in Safeway and Let the Empire Down