M.B. McLatchey's "The Lame God" on Wednesday's Access Utah

Jan 22, 2014

M. B. McLatchey is recipient of the May Swenson Poetry Award for “The Lame God,” a collection of powerful poems on a very sensitive subject: the kidnap and murder of a young girl. Using the art of poetry she gives voice to a suffering—and a love—that might otherwise go unheard. Philip Brady says of this collection, “in magisterial cadences, this powerful poetic sequence gives voice to the unspeakable and transposes profound grief into immortal song. McLatchey's poems are talismans and spells--not against loss but against forgetting.

Credit usu.edu

McLatchey writes in her preface, “this book is offered in memory of Molly Bish and in homage to her mother, Maggie Bish, who encouraged me to ‘keep talking about this; keep writing.’ It is also for Adam Walsh, Amber Hagerman, Levi Frady, Maile Gilbert, and Morgan Chauntel Nick. It is for the roughly 2,000 Mollys and Adams and Ambers and Levis and Morgans that are reported missing daily to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children; it is for Deb Cucanich and for the tireless caseworkers at the Department of Children and Families. This book is for three girls held captive and abused for a decade in a house in an American city—but it is especially for the child who has not yet pried open a bolted door, borrowed a neighbor’s phone, and announced to a 911 operator, ‘I’ve been kidnapped and I’ve been missing . . . and I’m here.’”

M. B. McLatchey holds degrees in comparative literature and languages, in teaching, and in English literature from Harvard University, Brown University, and Williams College, as well as an MFA in creative writing from Goddard College. A widely published poet and scholar with an extensive background in literature, philosophy, and ancient and modern languages, she has received numerous awards. Her most recent poetry awards include the American Poet Prize from The American Poetry Journal, the Annie Finch Prize for Poetry, the Spoon River Poetry Review's Editors' Prize, and the Vachel Lindsay Poetry Award. She is currently a professor at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The May Swenson Poetry Award, an annual competition named for May Swenson, honors her as one of America's most provocative and vital writers. During her long career, Swenson was loved and praised by writers from virtually every school of American poetry. She left a legacy of fifty years of writing when she died in 1989. She is buried in Logan, Utah, her hometown.