Project Description

The acclaimed poet, memoirist, and essayist Maureen N. McLane here charts a new path into vital genre-bending territories. Not a novel, not a memoir, not a lyric, Mz N: the serial: A Poem-in-Episodes offers something else—“life . . . a continual allegory” (to invoke Keats): a life intense, episodic, female, sexual, philosophical, romantic, analytic. Tracking the growth of one poet’s mind, switchbacking its way through American English, Mz N toggles between story and song. This is a poetry both “furious / & alive.”

Alive to the lash of love, the longueurs of adolescence, the limits of identity, Mz N: the serial: A Poem-in-Episodes is a bravura experiment in life-writing—an assaying, a testing, a transforming, an honoring of the tentative and the torqued. What is it to be contemporary, to be “one / among other ones” in a “cracking world”? How does a body vibrate into being? How is a mind made out of other minds? Seizing the queer realities of any life, Mz N explores how one is surprised, seduced, and struck into speech, thought, song, silence. “Then, what is life?” cried Shelley. So too Mz N.

“The unstoppable, riverish fever of her enjambed, short-lined poems quickly draws one down through her mind, which is as good a prism as any I know of to encounter the external “effects” of nature, beauty, body. Her speaker (and pseudo-doppelgänger protagonist) have ideas about Athens and “Death metal,” often interchangeably. What’s so truly essential in her somersaulting, backwards/forwards time machine is the way she makes memory, inside poetry, a downright erotic activity. It’s not just the sex of her thought, but the sex of thought itself that breathes through these gorgeous poems.”—Adam Fitzgerald, Lithub