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by Kerrin McCadden


Black Sparrow Press (2021)

When Irish myths harmonize with the voices of a real family—is it a murmur or a din? A song or a haunting? The sea is a place terrifyingly large and deep and yet familiar, for inside the self is a kind of sea—a beloved brother can drown there. A sister can call for him for years. There is a paper-thin ridge between the sea-land of the dead and the land-sea of the living, and it’s on that ridge that poet McCadden rides, writes, shouts into the wind.  Not a banshee—a storyteller. A sister, a daughter, a self who can begin to see how the waves lap and overlap life, grief, memory. This book doesn’t warn as much as warm—it keeps company, shares the complexity of loving one another. McCadden’s voice is synesthetic (sense-mixing) and textural, atmospheric. Then she gathers ether and nerves together to a sharp point with which she etches her lines (lineal, liminal lifelines) inscribing a family she can’t quite write back to life, but she can tell them, tell of them, see them, and, most intimately, let us see them in her.  

—Brenda Shaughnessy, author of The Octopus Museum.



Chapbook: Button Poetry (2020)

Winner of the Button Poetry Prize.

To put one foot in front of the other after losing a loved one to opioid addiction requires incredible courage. To make harrowing and beautiful poems from the desperation that unfurls through a family for years, unfurls, in this case, toward death, is a miracle. From the book’s very title the reader becomes part of the secrecy upon which addiction feeds, just as the architecture of these poems enacts the reversals, replications, and upendings that addiction engenders. There is love here, deep and everlasting and bitter too. How can it not be bitter? If you’ve not been there, turn to these poems for their artfulness, their acuity, their exquisite crafting. If you have, turn to them for camaraderie, for the blessing
of company. Kerrin McCadden does not build toward false redemption, nor does she rob herself of her sadness. My God, she’s already been robbed of a brother.

—Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl.



New Issues Poetry & Prose (2014)

This debut collection won the 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize and the 2015 Vermont Book Award.

"Kerrin McCadden links one element of a deeply regarded landscape to another--cold, a village, a snowy owl, a young girl’s new tattoo flashing as she swims away in a pond--until a New England village becomes the world, entered, held, each thing connected to each by love and ache. Possessed of a deep emotional intelligence, alert to the strange folds and surprises of language, these poems are fresh as a snowfall."

Mark Doty, author of Deep Lane.

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Books: Work
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