Nancy McCleery

Nancy McCleeryNancy McCleery’s poetry has appeared in numerous books, anthologies and literary journals; she additionally collaborates with visual artists, dancers, and musicians in producing her works for the stage. Her librettos have been performed internationally. McCleery holds an M.A. from the University of Nebraska and has worked as a teacher and mentor principally in Nebraska, Alaska, and Missouri.

Books by Nancy McCleery for the Backwaters Press

Girl Talk Girl Talk by Nancy McCleery

Author: Nancy McCleery
Format: Paperback, 141 pages
ISBN: 0967714990
Published: October 2002

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Critical Praise for Girl Talk by Nancy McCleery

Thank you so much for the brilliant poems. What an inspired idea!
Carolyn Kizer – Author of Yin; Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, 1984

In Girl Talk, poet Nancy McCleery takes the simple premise of two friends talking, then beautifully expands on it. The effect is lyrical and soulful. The poet’s friend is an artist who translates her hopes and beliefs into colorful mediums, much like Ms. McCleery uses words. Their conversations are often blunt, sometimes bordering on the argumentative, but always underlined with the sort of love and respect friends offer in support of each other.

Ms. McCleery uses imagery as an artist uses paint, with meanings both obvious and layered in effect.

The quote this author uses in introduction seems particularly evocative of her work. The quote is from “Aurora Leigh” by Elizabeth Barrett Browning circa 1857: Never flinch. Ms. McCleery does not flinch, which is why her poetry has heart and spirit.
Laural JohnsonMidwest Book Review

Poems from Girl Talk

Girl Talk (music / purity)

Told me I could develop my writing by playing
the piano again. Told me: Music, the purest
of all art forms
I was thinking not purity
but heart speaking to heart as in Beethoven,
as in the Blues, as in Thelonious Monk.

You had a good start, she blurted out,

then you moved down a rung or two
to slippery words gave up the piano.

I asked, Perhaps mantras — wouldn’t that be
more pure? And what about love poems.
Told her the love poem may be talking
to itself alone. Maybe all poetry
does that, for the music of it.

She spouted how about playin’ this upright
just a little bit of Mozart Bach?
Try playin’ the piano again ‘n then
just lay the music out there in poems
don’t try to mean somethin’ just present it
the way music ‘n my sketches do
that’s purity the reader finds the meanin’.

Told her you really tick me off when you harp
on music and lecture me on aesthetics
I already know. Besides we don’t
see things as they are anyway;

we see things the way we are. So do you
want Dame Edith Sitwell’s “Facade?”

It was no use debating, trying to convince her
I wouldn’t play her piano—a waste
of words, so I began studying another
of her AIDS quilt panels. She was stenciling
children’s names on it, the many names.

When It Is Over

The back arches
the arms thrown overhead

then the words

“Your electric days
are in my dying hands”

Hearing this
the face lifts to the sun
falls golden

It is meant for each of us
life in such arms
that when it is over
we go in a cry of passion.

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  1. By Nancy mccleery | Alishiawebster on May 24, 2012 at 9:50 pm

    […] Nancy McCleery – The Backwaters PressNancy McCleery Nancy McCleery’s poetry has appeared in numerous books, anthologies and literary journals; she additionally collaborates with visual artists, … […]

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