New Title for 2012 » Poetry
That Was Oasis
For over three decades, Michael McFee has been, in the words of one critic, "putting together a body of work that few poets anywhere, of any age, can match for its poise, its wit and metaphorical power, its accessibility and depth of feeling." That Was Oasis, McFee's eighth full-length book of poetry, is a collection of spirited and diverse elegies. Its poems pay inventive attention to the overlooked or underappreciated, to such subjects as saltines, holding hands, killing a copperhead with a hoe, the word "bunk," bald spots, the young Thelonious Monk, and a minor-league baseball park in Asheville, North Carolina—all of which, seen in the right light, can become unexpected oases in the quotidian.
Michael McFee was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and has taught for several decades in the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. His nine previous collections of poetry include Shinemaster (2006), Earthly (2001), and Colander (1996), all published by Carnegie Mellon. He is also the author of a prose book, The Napkin Manuscripts: Selected Essays and an Interview (2006), and the editor of several anthologies of North Carolina literature.
Here is a video of Michael McFee reading from That Was Oasis at Flyleaf Books:
Reading Michael McFee's poetry, I've often marveled at its extraordinary poise, and That Was Oasis gives me cause to marvel anew. First, there's the balance of language and poetic structure: the book is so sure of cadence and diction, so crafted line by line, you'd cheat yourself by not reading it aloud. There's also the balance of feeling, a willingness to address hard experiences without denying their pathos or succumbing to sentimentality. Repeatedly, in work such as "Poultice," "Bunk," "Holding Hands," "Unbuttonings," and the magnificent sequence "McCormick Field," McFee finds the rhyme between sanity and humanity. And too, there's the balance with which he rotates everyday things through his transforming imagination—making new for us a "Handful of Keys," the dust from "Erasures," the letter "Q," even the flashing ":" on a clock. In this bewildering age of unreason, how lucky we are that he's writing these poems!
To purchase That Was Oasis by Michael McFee, please contact our distributor, University Press of New England toll free at 1-800-421-1561 or by fax at 1-603-448-9729. The book is also available online at UPNE, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other fine retailers.
To request a copy for review, please contact the Carnegie Mellon University Press Editorial Offices at (412) 268-2861 or by email at CarnegieMellonUniversityPress@gmail.com.