Featured Poet : Meg Kearney, New Ipswich
Meg Kearney’s first collection of poetry, An Unkindness of Ravens, was published by BOA Editions Ltd. in 2001. The Secret of Me, her novel in verse for teens, was released by Persea Books in 2005. Her poetry has been featured on Poetry Daily and Garrison Keillor’s "A Writer’s Almanac," and has been published in such publications as Poetry, Agni, and Ploughshares, as well as numerous the anthologies—most recently, The Book of Irish American Poetry from the 18th Century to the Present (Notre Dame, 2006), and Conversation Pieces: Poems that Talk to Other Poems (Knopf, Everyman’s Library Pocket Poets series, 2007). She is also co-editor of Blues for Bill: a Tribute to William Matthews (Akron University Press, 2005). Recipient of an Artist’s Fellowship from the New York Foundation for the Arts in 2001, Meg also received a New York Times Fellowship and the Alice M. Sellers Academy of American Poets Award in 1998. Meg is currently Director of the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program at Pine Manor College in Chestnut Hill, MA, as well as Director of Pine Manor’s Solstice Summer Writers Conference. For 11 years prior to joining Pine Manor, she was Associate Director of the National Book Foundation, sponsor of the National Book Awards, in New York City. She also taught poetry at the New School University. She lives in New Ipswich, NH, with her writer-husband Mike Fleming and their three-legged black Lab, Trooper.
Of her featured poem, "How I Arrived," Meg writes:
This poem—written in the voice of 14-year-old Lizzie McLane—opens my novel-in-verse, The Secret of Me. Lizzie, who is the youngest of three adopted children, gives voice to the roller-coaster ride of "teenage-hood" in addition to her own confusion and inner-pain that comes with being a (albeit well-loved) adoptee. I’ve been delighted by the fact that Lizzie’s poems (it seems she whispered them in my ear) have spoken to adults as well as to young people—and have even inspired a few to try writing poems themselves.
How I Arrived
I was five months old by the time I arrived.
It was like a slow, sea-sick ride in the hull of a boat.
It was like having a fever, thinking the world
was blurred and distant, and voices came in
waves. Someone must have held me, sometimes.
Someone must have picked me up when I cried.
Did I have dreams? Did I drink that powdered
milk without a fight? By the time I arrived I had
a name. I had teeth. My legs bowed like a wish-
bone. I could stretch my knees behind my head.
I was like The New Thing my parents had ordered
from a catalog after lots of shopping around. But
they were puzzled. None of the dresses they’d bought
were my size. No shoes fit. And what, they whispered,
was that little point on her right ear? Why does
she bend like Gumby? Has there been some mistake?
Is this the daughter they promised to send us?
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