Cambell McGrath is a notable modern American poet. He is the author of nine full-length collections of poetry, including his most recent, Seven Notebooks (Ecco Press, 2008), Shannon: A Poem of the Lewis and Clark Expedition (Ecco Press, 2009), and In the Kingdom of the Sea Monkeys (Ecco Press, forthcoming, 2012).
McGrath was born in Chicago, Illinois, and grew up in Washington, D.C., where he attended Sidwell Friends School; among his classmates was the poet Elizabeth Alexander. He received his B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1984 and his MFA from Columbia University's creative writing program in 1988, where he was classmates with Rick Moody. He currently ... more »
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Campbell McGrath Poems
Hemingway Dines on Boiled Shrimp and Bee...
I'm the original two-hearted brawler. I gnaw the scrawny heads from prawns, pummel those mute, translucent crustaceans, wingless hummingbirds, salt-water spawned.
An Irish Word
Canny has always been an Irish word to my ear, so too its cousin crafty, suggesting not only an appreciation of close-work, fine-making, handwrought artistry,
Nights on Planet Earth
Gravel paths on hillsides amid moon-drawn vineyards, click of pearls upon a polished nightstand soft as rainwater, self-minded stars, oboe music distant as the grinding of icebergs against the hull
The Prose Poem
On the map it is precise and rectilinear as a chessboard, though driving past you would hardly notice it, this boundary line or ragged margin, a shallow swale that cups a simple trickle of water, less rill than rivulet, more gully than dell
The Human Heart
We construct it from tin and ambergris and clay, ochre, graph paper, a funnel of ghosts, whirlpool in a downspout full of midsummer rain.
Shopping for Pomegranates at Wal-mart on...
Beneath a ten-foot-tall apparition of Frosty the Snowman with his corncob pipe and jovial, over-eager, button-black eyes, holding, in my palm, the leathery, wine-colored purse
Joseph Brodsky in Venice (1981)
La Serenissima, in morning light, is beautiful. But you already knew that.
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Hemingway Dines on Boiled Shrimp and Beer
I'm the original two-hearted brawler.
I gnaw the scrawny heads from prawns,
pummel those mute, translucent crustaceans,
wingless hummingbirds, salt-water spawned.
As the Catalonians do, I eat the eyes at once.
My brawny palms flatten their mainstays.
I pop the shells with my thumbs, then crunch.
Just watch me as I swagger and sprawl,
spice-mad and sated, then dabble in lager
before I go strolling for stronger waters
down to Sloppy Joe's.My stride as I stagger
shivers the islands, my fingers troll a thousand keys.
My appetite shakes the rock of the ...