Marilyn McCabe ’83 sees poetry as providing an opportunity to remove one’s self from the “mundane stuff of daily life” inherent in this highly technological age. The author of a chapbook of poetry that will be published this summer, McCabe explains, “Poetry can provide a moment out of time, out of the daily routine, a moment to connect with our own experience by way of someone else’s imagination, and to connect to the human experience as a whole.” Her book, “Rugged Means of Grace” will be published by Finishing Line Press this summer.
In considering her inspiration, McCabe says the late Professor of English and Literature Deborah Tall’s book “From Where We Stand” was very “influential in my thinking about the self and the land,” adding “My work often draws from the natural world, and so could, I suppose, be considered ‘nature poetry.’ The poems, which are lyric (as opposed to narrative, that is story-based), consider the interaction of self and landscape, self and the natural world. I draw on science, art and my own history of spending time in the outdoors. What I’m generally thinking about, though, is human nature, how we’re shaped by what’s around us.”
Among the experiences that shaped her was participating in the study abroad program to Israel offered by the Colleges at the time. “I was in the first term abroad to Israel the Colleges ever offered, which was a wonderful experience, and I actually returned there after I graduated. It’s truly a fascinating and crazy place, and in ‘Holyland,’ I consider the various aspects of the place: its effect on me, its turbulent history, both political and religious.”
She is now working in the admissions office at Empire State Colleges which she says has allowed her the freedom to really focus on writing. In fact, at the age of 46, she went back to school and got her MFA in Poetry from New England College.
“This chapbook is the product of 10 years of serious autodidactic study of the art and craft of writing, plus those two intensive years of graduate work,” she explains.
McCabe writes about a wide variety of experiences, but most importantly she feels that we experience poetry “to connect to each other in that realm beyond words where poetry resides, that realm of feelings and sensations where we are most human, and maybe most divine, if there is such a state.”
She earned her B.A. in anthropology from William Smith College. “Rugged Means of Grace” can be ordered now through Finishing Line Press [http://www.finishinglinepress.com/NewReleasesandForthcomingTitles.htm], with an anticipated ship date of June 24, 2011.