Happy Halloween!

Today at work I am a vampire stewardess, but for Halloween tomorrow, for the costume contests at Bell’s Brewery and other Kalamazoo haunts … I will be a Stepford wife. My husband will be played by my beau who seems a bit too excited about controlling me with a remote and my being at his beck and call … bringing him beer and whatever else his heart may desire. Trying on my costume making sure I don’t need any other last-minute accessories, it is frightening how Stepford-esque I look. The flawless makeup my circa 1960s wavy bob haircut … eek. 100 strokes a day … a soft brush though the hair does do wonders … my dress equipped with petticoat and of course a hostess apron and heels. I am in need only now of a string of pearls, nylons, and a feather duster.

Thinking about this sudden idea to be a Stepford wife (we just came up with this last night) … I wonder about its odd connection to my current poetry collection, Eaten Heart that rarely leaves my mind these days. The poems are coming like ambulances in the middle of the night … many of them lately attesting to my feelings of being very Stepford-eque out of a fear of losing something, some people … the aiming to please, self-depreciating values that take over in moments like that. I think even this costume will play a role in my unapologetic confession, mostly by confessing with myself.

Coming In

I was welcomed like a housewarming plant,
A fern both sad and wild in unrecognizable disbelief.
My mind was burning and folding like a rose,
An overused vulva while the neighbor coughed
Right outside my door. He wants to push my buttons
Again. Knocking at 4 am with a desperation
In his fist, wanting in like a scorned husband,
Knowing I am dandelion-weak and cannot say no.

Check back for photos of Don and I as the Stepford couple!

Published in: on October 30, 2008 at 5:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

Rediscovering Confessional Poetry

I am your opus,
I am your valuable,
The pure gold baby

That melts to a shriek.
I turn and burn.
Do not think I underestimate your great concern.

Ash, ash--
You poke and stir.
Flesh, bone, there is nothing there--

A cake of soap,
A wedding ring,
A gold filling.

Herr God, Herr Lucifer
Beware
Beware.

Out of the ash
I rise with my red hair
And I eat men like air.

23-29 October 1962, an excerpt from Sylvia Plath’s “Lady Lazarus”

This is one of my favorite confessional poems … truly a masterpiece infused with palpable, confessional emotion. In the sense I began reading fiction again — no poetry until recently — as well as writing a zombie novel for teens and a picture book for the little ones, poetry and confessional poetry in particular left me for a spell but now has returned to me.

This book, and my general rediscovery of confessional poetry, began with an assignment in compassion from Dr. Lou, evolving into poems that have begun to evolve into a full-size collection, Eaten Heart : A Confession in Poems. Many of these poems were written in a hypomanic state which I think could explain my sometimes graphic sexual language and detail as well as the fact I wrote about 10 in the matter of hours. The sexual content also deals with a few of my manic sexual experiences after an intense heartbreak where I not only felt heartbroken but a numb shell of nothing. Truly nothing. This is why I must write this out. And I want to write this out knowing now I am in love and in need of unloading so much of the past to make room for my future.

I did not know in this state, in what it was and was becoming was from a therapy assignment. But now I know I am channeling not only my confessional poetry spirit but also confessional poetry in general. My compassion is deep for everyone I have ever known, for the good and bad; these poems and the moments in writing them have made me realize the necessity of pain as well as joy in shaping a life. That is really what Eaten Heart is about, what it needs to express.

The question of what was Eaten Heart was to be came up in an email after my reading on October 8th. It was asked by someone who is familiar with my work over the years and he was wondering about theses poems being very different in tone — an “edgy, dirty feeling”. Of course not all of the poems are like this, but many of them are. I think the contrast of these tones is the result of the complexity of emotion and memory as well as the subject matter I am dealing with. This collection goes between joy and pain in a constant flux as most confessional collections do … there are poems about true and reciprocated love that entails future happiness, as well as my considering things that happened in the span of a month I have since repressed and kept in the dark.

In a sense it is a swan song … maybe.

Published in: on October 27, 2008 at 6:52 pm  Comments (2)  
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Thanks to All Who Attended My Reading …

Thanks so much to everyone who attended my reading at FIRE last night for the first of more in the Poets on the Page reading series. I truly felt appreciated among my great friends. Thanks so much!

More readings to come very soon, so keep checking here and http://www.carriemcgath.com

Published in: on October 9, 2008 at 4:31 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Am the Feature Poet @ FIRE

Thanks for designing such a great flier, Denise!

And if the prospect of not leaving empty-handed entices you … there will be a raffle drawing for a signed copy of Ward Eighty-One as well as a limited-edition design a poem from eaten heart.

And attention Traditional Poets reading from the page … this night’s for you! Read your poetry the natural way … that traditional way at the Open Mic at 8:30 10/08!

Published in: on October 1, 2008 at 4:29 pm  Comments (1)