Rose McLarney is clearly the fastest rising young poet from Appalachia today. The Fellowship of Southern Writers gave her their New Writing Award for Poetry, and she has been awarded fellowships to the MacDowell Colony, Bread Loaf and the Sewanee Writer’s Conference and has served at Poet in Residence at Dartmouth. In an interview published in the New England Review she describes Forage in this way: “I’ve been describing Forage as comprised of intricately sequenced poems on themes including animals’ symbolic roles in art and as indicators of ecological change and how water can represent a large, troubled system or the exceptions of smaller, purer tributaries. At the confluence of these poems is a social commentary that goes beyond lamenting environmental degradation and disaster to record—and augment—the beauty of the world in which we live. Forage, like my previous work, does deal with history, place, and the environment. But it’s less about the particular home environment in which I grew up—in the southern Appalachian mountains—and losing it (by leaving to find work and to cultural change), and functions more broadly as ecopoetry. It also reckons more fully with Southern heritage. In my life insulated in the coves of the mountain South, before moving to Alabama where I live now, the land of cotton and its exploitation, I was not aware enough of what it means be ‘Southern.’” “These poems in their gorgeous imagistic clarity deepen the story of life and ask of us, as the poet asks of herself, ‘to whom / have I made reverence truly known?’ And what does the poet revere? The word, the wounded land, the wile of the wild, the shade of trees. An earthly constellation." —Alison Hawthorne Deming. “These poems stun me with their keen eye and their honest telling of what they view. It’s refreshing to find this much courage on the page, at a time when we need it the most." —A. Van Jordan. “"Elegant . . . readers will revel in the work's undeniable beauty and smarts." —Publishers Weekly. A native of Western North Carolina, Rose McLarney earned her MFA at Warren Wilson and is currently an Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Auburn.
New York: Penguin Poets/Random House, 2019. 67 pages. Trade paperback.