Issue 88: Kathleen McGookey


About Kathleen McGookey

Kathleen McGookey has published four books of prose poems and three chapbooks, most recently Instructions for My Imposter (Press 53) and Nineteen Letters (BatCat Press).  She has also published We’ll See, a book of translations of French poet Georges Godeau’s prose poems.  Her work has appeared in many journals including Copper NickelCrazyhorseDecemberFieldGlassworks, MiramarPloughsharesPrairie SchoonerQuiddity, and The Southern Review.  She has received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Sustainable Arts Foundation. Her work was just featured on American Life in Poetry, and can also be found online at The Journal of Compressed Creative ArtsNew Flash Fiction Review, and  MacQueen’s Quinterly. On the Seawall published three of her prose poems along with her interview by David Nilsen.

A Profile of the Author

Notes on "Even in June"

Two summers ago, for a week in June, my family members were scattered across the country, from Oregon to Colorado and I was by myself at home in Michigan, having my own little writer’s retreat writing poems every day, which was unusual for me. While I loved having the time alone, I really didn’t like the feeling of us being so far apart. It just felt like too much space and distance between us. I’d look at the “Find my iPhone” feature on my phone and see us spread across the country and feel so strange. And then one morning, some of my family woke up to a snowstorm in Colorado, which I didn’t know could happen in the summer. And that felt surreal.

So I guess this is a poem of longing. And a wish to compress distance. My usual challenge in writing a poem is finding a title, which was true for this poem. In the end, I just made the first few words into the title.  And then I worried that the poem was too small to amount to anything, which is my usual worry.

Music, Food, Booze, Tattoos, Kittens, etc.

During the pandemic, I’ve been making and eating a lot of sweets.  Chocolate chip cookies, brownies, cinnamon rolls and fresh strawberry pie, especially.  During strawberry season, which is early June in Michigan, I’ll sometimes just make a couple of strawberry pies for dinner for my family.  All these sweets might add up but I also walk six miles a day.  I’ve just picked sixty pounds of peaches and in a couple of days I’ll make a lot of peach cobblers and pies.  I have one recipe for peach pie that you can freeze to enjoy later, which my family loves in the winter.  Actually, they like most things I make.

Beyond eating a lot of sweets this year, we adopted a one-year-old golden retriever named George on Christmas Day.  While he has a seemingly endless supply of energy and has chewed up many socks, shoes, hats, a book of poems, a yellow paint pen and a chromebook charger, he has brought such silliness and delight to our house that of course we love him.  He sleeps on my daughter’s bed and there are not many cozier sights than a little golden dog curled up in the blankets.

McGookey Dog
Willow Springs 88

“Even in June” by Kathleen McGookey

Snow fell on the mountains and the towns that faced them, on the interstate and the creek running beside. Snow swirled against the gray sky and gray cement, dizzy with … Read more

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