Monday, June 3, 2019

Janet McCann

Janet McCann has taught creative writing in the English Department of Texas A&M University for more than 45 years. The most recent of her numerous poetry collections is The Crone at the Casino (Lamar University Press, 2014).

I met her this February at the Windhover Writers Festival at University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in Belton, Texas. I was able to express to her how influential the anthology Odd Angles of Heaven (1994, Harold Shaw Publishers) — which she’d edited together with David Craig — had been for me as I was developing as a poet, and how it is a significant forerunner to my anthology The Turning Aside: The Kingdom Poets Book of Contemporary Christian Poetry.

She and David Craig also went on to publish two further poetry anthologies — Place of Passage (2000) and Francis and Clare in Poetry (2004).

The following Janet McCann poem is from Rattle (#25 Summer 2005).

Life List

My friend the scholar-birdwatcher
is dying, after a quiet regular life
of Milton and birds, and if I could

imagine him a farewell, it would be this:
to look out into the small yard
he tended for forty years, to where

he placed the bird houses, the martin
house and the hummingbird feeder,
just in time to see a sweep of air

curve in and take form, the great arctic gyrfalcon
not on his life list, there on the sill,
beak, feathers and pinions

and final knowledge, Adam’s homecoming
after the story’s end, better than Eden.
May he leave in his hand a feather, that his wife

might know where he has gone.

Posted with permission of the poet.

Entry written by D.S. Martin. His latest poetry collection is Ampersand (2018, Cascade). His books are available through Amazon, and Wipf & Stock, including the anthologies The Turning Aside, and Adam, Eve, & the Riders of the Apocalypse.