A Morning Flower in Albanian Poetry: The American Poet Carrie Hooper

By Adnan Mehmeti

Carrie Hooper, an American professor, lives and works in New York State. She knows several languages and her poetry is full of life. She is an idealist with a deep faith. She is fascinated by the beautiful Albanian language and by Albania’s long and glorious history. She reads everything she can find about the Albanian language and the Albanian people. She is particularly interested in the Albanian communities in America and elsewhere. The story of her love for the Albanians, especially for the Albanians in America, is charming and beautiful and consists of a variety of experiences.

Carrie Hooper has been well known to readers for many years. She has given several interviews and different people have written about her. We can rightly call her book a morning flower in Albanian poetry. Read Carrie Hooper’s book in Albanian. Readers who have difficulty reading Albanian may read these poems in English. Life is beautiful, declares the poet in one of her verses. And I would add: Life is beautiful when you read her book in our native language and in English. An American has made a sublime contribution to Albanian literature.

Carrie Hooper writes about the Albanian language and the Albanians with great respect as Edith Durham once did. Therefore, read the book “Word Paintings,” especially the first two cycles, Reflections Of An Albanian At Heart and The Embodiment Of The Albanian Spirit. You will be impressed by the poet’s love and longing for Albania. She speaks with love and longing and teaches the Albanians a lesson forgotten by those of us who live in America.

Carrie Hooper is a gifted singer, an advantage when writing poetry. Indeed, she has the ability to combine poetry with music. Her poetry is enchanting and resembles a beautiful painting in words.



Biography of Carrie Hooper

Biography of Carrie Hooper Carrie Hooper was born in Elmira, New York in 1975. Elmira is located in the southern part of New York State near the Pennsylvania border. Carrie was born two and a half months premature and as a result, her lungs did not fully develop. Therefore, when she was eight days old, a part of one of her lungs was removed. After she underwent this operation, Carrie remained in an incubator for three months. She suffered scarring of the retinas from too much oxygen and this caused her blindness. However, blindness has not kept her from experiencing the world with her other senses. Indeed, sighted people could make much more use of other senses but they depend so much on their eyes. In short, Carrie lives a rich full life. Carrie went to school with sighted children. She received Braille and audio materials and at times, people read to her. While in school, she learned to walk with a cane. She began piano lessons at the age of four and voice lessons at the age of fifteen. She played percussion instruments including the drums, the xylophone, the marimba, and the glockenspiel in the school band and she sang in school choirs. She began composing music at the age of eight. After graduating from high school in 1993, Carrie studied voice at Mansfield University in Mansfield, Pennsylvania. She received her Bachelor’s in music with an emphasis in vocal performance in 1997. While a student at Mansfield University, Carrie began learning German because she needed to take a foreign language as part of her studies. She believed that knowing the language would give her a better understanding of the songs she sang in German. From the first day of class, Carrie knew that she wanted to become a German teacher. In middle school and high school, she had taken French but at that time, the language did not interest her much. She did not work hard to learn the language. However, she practiced German and other languages that she learned later by listening to them, reading, and talking on the telephone to native speakers of the language in question. During her time in Mansfield, Carrie also learned Italian because the choir in which she sang traveled to Italy as part of a European tour. She also learned some Russian and Latin but she does not know these languages well. After receiving her Bachelor’s from Mansfield University, Carrie received a Master’s in German (1999) and a Master’s in music with an emphasis in vocal performance (2001) from the State University of New York at Buffalo. During that time, she began learning Spanish and also learned a little Finnish. In addition, she learned Swedish because the conductor of the university orchestra came from Sweden and Carrie wanted to be able to speak Swedish with him. At that time, the English service of the shortwave radio station Radio Sweden broadcast a program called In Touch With Stockholm. Listeners could write in with questions about Swedish life and culture and the program’s producers put them in touch with Swedes who could answer their questions. Listeners would converse with Swedes via telephone and these conversations were broadcast during the program. Carrie emailed the program inquiring about life as a blind person in Sweden. The producers of the program put her in touch with Ulrika Norelius, a blind student at the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm. Carrie and Ulrika had a conversation via telephone and their talk was broadcast on In Touch With Stockholm. They stayed in touch and Ulrika told Carrie that foreigners could apply to study at the music conservatory in Stockholm for a year. Carrie decided to apply for this program and she also applied for a Fulbright scholarship to finance her studies. She was accepted as a student at the music conservatory in Stockholm and she received a Fulbright scholarship. She studied at the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden from August of 2001 to June of 2002. In 2002, Carrie began teaching German at Elmira College in her hometown of Elmira and she continues to teach German there. From 2007 to 2016, Carrie taught Italian at Elmira College. She also teaches voice and piano lessons at Studios On The Square in Horseheads, New York. In addition, she plays the piano at Saint Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Horseheads. She also sings with Common Time Choral Group and gives vocal concerts at churches, at nursing homes, and for other groups and organizations. In her free time, Carrie enjoys reading, writing poetry, talking to friends, and learning foreign languages. In addition to German, Italian, and Spanish, she also knows Swedish, Albanian, and Romanian.