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About this poet

Maureen N. McLane studied at Harvard University, the University of Oxford, and the University of Chicago, where she received a PhD in English in 1997.

She is the author of the poetry collections Some Say (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017); Mz N: the serial: A Poem-in-Episodes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016); This Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014), a finalist for the 2014 National Book Award; World Enough (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010); and Same Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008).

McLane is also known for her work in literary criticism and scholarship, focusing on British romanticism and the history of English poetry. She coedited The Cambridge Companion to British Romantic Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2008) and is the author of Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2008), as well as the hybrid book of memoir and criticism My Poets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012), which was a finalist for the 2012 National Book Critics Circle Award. 

McLane has previously taught at Harvard University, MIT, and the East Harlem Poetry Project, and she served on the board of the National Book Critics Circle from 2007 to 2010. She has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a National Book Critics Circle’s Balakian Award for Excellence in Book Reviewing and a Rhodes Scholarship. She currently serves as a professor of English at New York University and lives in New York City.


Bibliography

Poetry
Some Say (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2017)
Mz N: the serial: A Poem-in-Episodes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016)
This Blue (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2014)
World Enough (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010)
Same Life (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2008)

Prose
My Poets (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012)
Balladeering, Minstrelsy, and the Making of British Romantic Poetry (Cambridge University Press, 2008)

For You

It’s been a long while since I was up before you
but here I am, up before you.

I see you sleeping now that I am up before you.
I see the whole morning before you.

How dare the sun be up before you
when the moon last night promised to hold off the sun just for you!

I hear the church bells ring before you.
Most days it’s true the birds are up before you.

I should make the coffee, as I am up before you.
I might just lie here though before you

wake up. Let me look at you, since I am here before you.
I am so rarely simply quiet before you.

The orange cat who’ll soon wake you is always up before you.
In Morocco or Lamu the muezzin would be up before you.

And yes it’s true most days the sun is up before you—
long before me and a while before you.

Shall I make it a habit to be up before you?
To see your soft cheek and feel your breath if I am up before you?

Shall I prepare the mise-en-scène for you?
Hold the shot of the sun in my eye just for you?

Go back to sleep my love for you
are only dreaming I am up before you.

From Some Say by Maureen N. McLane. Copyright © 2017 by Maureen N. McLane. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

From Some Say by Maureen N. McLane. Copyright © 2017 by Maureen N. McLane. Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Maureen N. McLane

Maureen N. McLane

Maureen N. McLane is the author of the poetry collections Mz N: the serial: A Poem-in-Episodes (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2016). She lives in New York City.

by this poet

poem
and if
I were to say

I love you and
I do love you

and I say it
now and again

and again
would you say

parataxis
would you see

the world revolves
anew

its axis
you
poem

         If we belonged 
to the dead, if we had our own
Egyptian culture of care—
the amulets of home entombed
for solace everywhere—
would we then have found
a better way to cast beyond
the merely given earth?
         If you want to follow me
you'd better leave
poem
Again the white blanket 			
icicles pierce.
The fierce teeth
of steel-framed snowshoes
bite the trail open.
Where the hardwoods stand
and rarely bend
the wind blows hard
an explosion of snow
like flour dusting
the baker in a shop
long since shuttered.
In this our post-shame century
we will reclaim
the old nouns