10 Poems By Jessie Lynn McMains (ebook)
Installment #1 in Hello America's new 10 Poems By Series.
Jessie Lynn McMains' poetry reminds me of what I first loved about the form--the feeling packed into words that would open up whole cinematic scenes. It's very visual; you see what Jessie's saying but you also feel it. You feel the grit under your sneakers and the head full of whiskey and the cold nights outside Midwest bars (and you smell the stale beer, the wet asphalt, the cigarette smoke from that shady vampire leaning up against the Buick). It's the same feeling I got from listening to X's Wild Gift for the first time or reading Patti Smith's poetry or Lester Bangs on the Clash or from seeing Edward Hopper's Night Windows in the Whitney. This is American art in the way Robert Frank's photographs are American--a reliquary of details; lonely, even when they're not alone, bluesy even on the gentler days. Always smart, always alive. It's rowdy but never disproportionately so; there is a naturalness to this stuff that makes it feel wholly legitimate. (It's no surprise Jessie's the current Poet Laureate for her hometown). Rebecca Solnit said this about the kind of writers you want to read: "You want to read people who are wise, deep, wild, kind, committed, insightful, attentive; you want to be those people." Jessie is one of those writers. -Hello America curator, Locust House author Adam Gnade