Carrie Hooper


Listen to the audio version read by Melissa Cotter.

In elementary school,
I used a speech program called Sam
With a Comodore 64 computer.
I also typed sentences
On my cousin's Texas Instruments computer,
And a synthesized voice
Read them to me.

In middle school and high school,
I used the Echo 2 speech synthesizer
With the Apple 2E computer.

In college,
The Braille 'n Speak's robotic voice
Assisted me with various tasks,
And the Index Basic printer's voice
Spoke his mind
When I embossed Braille documents.

The Braille Lite,
With its many voices,
Served as my assistive technological companion
When I lived in Sweden,
And it is still alive and well.

Today, my screenreader, JAWS,
The voice in My Braille Note Apex,
And the soothing voice of my Amazon Echo
Helps me at work and play.

I am grateful
For all of the computer voices
That have opened windows
To the wider world.

* * *


Listen to the audio version read by Melissa Cotter.

Life is a miracle,
A mosaic of events
With unexpected colors,
A play
That we write
Day by day.

Life is given to us
So that we
By our actions
And in our encounters with others,
Might spread peace and goodness.


Jeta është një mrekulli

Jeta është një mrekulli,
Një mosaik ngjarjesh
Me ngjyra të papritura,
Një pjesë teatrale,
Skenarin e së cilës
Shkruajmë ditë për ditë.

Na dhurohet jeta
Që me veprat dhe takimet tona
Të gatuajmë
Paqe dhe mirësi.


*The Albanian poem with English translation appeared in Hooper's 2018 bilingual book Word Paintings, a collection of Albanian poems with English translations, published by Buzuku Publishing House in Prishtina, Kosovo.


Carrie Hooper was born and raised in Elmira, New York. She has been blind since birth. She received a B.A. in vocal performance from Mansfield University, Mansfield, Pennsylvania. She went on to receive an M.A. in German and an M.A. in vocal performance from the State University of New York at Buffalo. After completing her studies, she spent a year at the Royal University College of Music in Stockholm, Sweden as a Fulbright scholar. She currently lives in Elmira, New York. She taught German, Italian, and Romanian at Elmira College and is also proficient in Swedish, Spanish, and Albanian. She teaches voice and piano lessons at a studio, gives vocal concerts, plays the piano and organ at an Episcopal church, and sings in a community chorus. She has published two books: Piktura në fjalë (Word Paintings), a bilingual collection of poetry (Albanian-English), and My Life in My Words.