The following poem was recently posted to Slate with a podcast reading by the author.
To Read by Michael McFee
He held the opened book
in both hands, at arm's length,
as if he were a student driver
practicing steering this Model ABC
that resisted his touch,
that he could tell he wouldn't know
how to control once it started,
not yet able to ease his grip
or surrender his frown
and learn to let the sentences unwind,
letting their momentum
carry him down the waiting road,
Stopping and starting his way
into a world of words.
Poet Michael McFee directs the Creative Writing Program at UNC-Chapel Hill. The author of ten books of poetry and essays, his most recent collections of poetry are Shinemaster (Carnegie-Mellon University Press, 2005) and The Smallest Talk: One-Line Poems (Bull City Press, 2007).
“The Smallest Talk, squeezes the conventions of poetry-- image, rhythm, language and meaning-- into the smallest possible package. These monostiches, as one-line poems are often called, are extraordinary feats of wit, as much kin to prose poems as to a comedian's smartest lines. If comedians zing, then McFee zings darkly, with the verbal charge and resonance of longer poems. The Smallest Talk is an examination of poetic line in its barest terms, a celebration of compactness.”