Writers who have struggled to put their affections into words may want to catch Kathleen McGookey’s Feb. 14 visit to Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The poet and author will explore the writing of various types of love poems.
McGookey’s poems, prose poems, and translations have appeared in more than 40 journals and ten anthologies. Her visit is part of the college’s About Writing: Visiting Authors Series. At 10 a.m. she will present a craft talk and at 2:15 p.m. she will read some of her own writing. Both presentations take place in the Student Commons Theater on the Texas Township Campus.
McGookey’s work has been published in The Antioch Review, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, Ploughshares, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Quarterly West, Seneca Review, West Branch, and Willow Springs. Her book, Whatever Shines, was published by White Pine Press. Her chapbook, October Again, is available through Burnside Review Press. She has translated contemporary French poet Georges Godeau’s work, and a book of his prose poems, We’ll See, is offered by Parlor Press.
McGookey received high praise from American Book Review. “These poems know no bounds; they are musical, leaping, magical. With a finely crafted language of subtlety, with many shadings, a feel for syntax, and keen attention given to the ear, McGookey invokes a dozen different kinds of pleasure… McGookey is a fresh voice, an innovative and daring poet who is worth our attention… Whatever Shines is a strong first book, and a pleasure,” said the publication’s reviewer, Louis McKee.
“I'm very excited to visit Kalamazoo Valley in February,” McGookey said. “For my craft talk, since I’ll be there on Valentine's Day, I'm planning to talk about how to write a love poem,” McGookey said. Her working title for the talk is "So You Want To Write a Love Poem." She will discuss how to approach writing a love poem, but she will expand the definition of love poem beyond romantic love to include love between friends and love between parents and children.
“I'll start by discussing four or five of my favorite poems,” McGookey said. “A few of those poems may not initially seem like love poems. By looking at what those poems do, I'll talk about ways to approach writing about someone the writer cares deeply about. Those who come to hear my talk will leave with a specific list of tips to try.”
McGookey received both her Ph.D. in literature with a creative dissertation and her M.F.A. in Poetry from Western Michigan University, and her B.A. in French from Hope College. She lives in Middleville, Michigan with her husband and children.
Kalamazoo Valley’s “About Writing” series is coordinated by English instructor Rob Haight and offers students the opportunity to talk with professional writers and listen to their work. Both of McGookey’s presentations are open to the public.
For more information, call Rob Haight at 269.488.4452.