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Friday, January 08, 2010

Poetry Friday--Linda McCarriston

I hadn't heard of Linda McCarriston before this week when I found a skinny paperback, pushed almost out of sight, between two hardcover books of poetry.

The book, Eva-Mary [811 MCC], revealed to me that Linda McCarriston was a poet of some renown--the cover of Eva-Mary sports a National Book Award Finalist silver sticker. Like a curious crow, I am attracted by shiny things!

Whoa! The poems inside are not cool and shiny--they are hot--they don't shine, they blaze. I'll only share the first stanza from this one, called "Hotel Nights with My Mother":
The hometown flophouse
was what she could afford
the nights he came after us
with a knife. I'd grab my books,
already dreading the next day's
explanations of homework undone
--I ran out of paper--the lies
I'd invent standing in front of
the nuns in clothes I'd lain in
full-bladdered all night, a flimsy
chair-braced door between us
and the hallway's impersonal riot.
If you want to read the rest, come down to the library and borrow the book (I'm sorry I couldn't find a copy online).

I'm glad I looked inside Eve-Mary, it reminded me, once again, to view people with a more sympathetic eye--you never know what's going on in their lives.

McCarriston was interviewed by Bill Moyers back in 2002. The transcript can be found here.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up this week is being hosted at one of my favorite blogs, The Miss Rumphius Effect. Be sure to check it out!


  1. Thanks for bringing this book out into the light to shine!

  2. Anonymous5:52 PM

    Thanks for your post today. Wow, in reading this one. I read the Moyers transcript, too. Great discussion about what poetry is/does. I'm adding Linda McCarriston to my reading list.

  3. Anonymous9:05 PM

    Studdied with Linda. Awesome life experience