Research Thursdays - New Book of Poems by Becka McKay
Thursday, May 13, 2021
Becka McKay, Professor and Director of Creative Writing in the Department of English, recently had her book of poems, “The Little Book of No Consolation,” published by Barrow Street Press. This is McKay’s second book of poems. Her first, “A Meteorologist in the Promised Land,” was published by Shearsman Books in 2010.
“When people ask me what I write about, I usually say ‘language.’ The process of writing a poem always begins with an exploration of language as I juxtapose words and lines in ways that reveal newer, stranger meanings. ‘The Little Book of No Consolation’ investigates the power and failure of language to name what matters to us, or at least what matters to me – primarily (it turns out) words and animals (not necessarily in that order). A few years ago, a lovely student of mine gave me a word-a-day calendar that consisted of forgotten words, and these calendar pages became part of my daily writing practice. The lost words became an organizing principle for the manuscript, as I considered, through the poems, how we retain the meanings and the rituals inside of language even as it changes. We still clean cemeteries (GRAVEYARD WORKING), we still struggle with the desire to remain in one place (INHABITIVENESS), we still make holes in wood (WOOD-WANT), even if the words change and sometimes vanish. My poems, I hope, are bridges to and from what vanishes – if I am doing anything new (and I hope I am), that is it: making bridges of language(s).”
- Becka McKay, Professor, Director of Creative Writing, Department of English
McKay directs the Creative Writing MFA at FAU and serves as faculty advisor to Swamp Ape Review. In addition to her own poetry, she has published several translations of fiction and poetry from Modern Hebrew. Her work has appeared recently in Beloit Poetry Journal, Copper Nickel, Muzzle, Ploughshares, Poetry Northwest, and Verse Daily.
Click here for more information on The Little Book of No Consolation, Becka Mara McKay – Barrow Street
Listen to In Conversation an Arts and Letters podcast: The Poetry of Language/ The Language of Poetry, Becka McKay, Ph.D.