Thursday, January 27, 2011

rave: Home By Now by Meg Kearney

This is so long overdue, as I have been meaning to share and encourage you to pick up a copy of Meg Kearney’s Home By Now (Four Way Books, 2009) for a long, long time. Belated or not, this is still a book I highly recommend for its cleverness, insightfulness, and pure joy of language.

Without a doubt, Kearney’s collection has earned–well deserved I might add–incredible praise and laughter for her metaphorical poem “First Blow Job.” I had the pleasure of hearing the poet read at a recent event and hearing the matter-of-factness in her voice sealed the sweetness of this humorous perspective for me. Here’s a quick taste (no pun intended):

Suddenly I knew what it was to be my uncle’s Labrador retriever,
young pup paddling furiously back across the pond with the prized
duck in her mouth, doing the best she could to keep her nose in the air

so she could breathe. She was learning not to bite … 

I don’t want to ruin it for those who haven’t yet read the full poem, but you must believe the metaphor plays out so magically, so cleverly, that it’s probably the most known and loved piece from this collection.

Yet it’s important to note that Kearney’s collection is not made up of light, easy humor. In fact, there is much weight and heart–and disheartening moments–within this book, that the sheer complexity and variety of Home By Now alone make it a standout recommendation. To prove the 180-degree turns you’ll stumble upon, here’s a poem to consider:

September 12, 2001: View of Downtown
Manhattan From My Bedroom Window

The amputee insists
her legs are still
down there

She feels them
She knows

when the smoke clears
they will be

Long lines that linger, short lines with emotional punch, persona and voice that capture your breath and make you crave more… Home By Now is a fascinating collection that gives so much in 60+ pages, in such an accessible style that’s zeroed in on language and emotion, it’s impossible not to recommend. Trust me, you’ll fall in love. Actually, don’t just take my word for it. Home By Now was the Winner of the 2009 LL Winship/PEN New England Award for Poetry, a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize, and a finalist for Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year. Not bad. Now go check it out.

Buy it on amazon

Visit Meg Kearney’s website

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