inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #126 of 150: rubi (rubicon) Mon 27 Nov 06 17:17
    
And if you didn't get a chance to hear it, you can find the KPFA
interview here:

tp://www.kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=17357
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #127 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 27 Nov 06 17:21
    

thanks, everyone. I mentioned this interview on the air. Maybe we will get
some listeners who will join in.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #128 of 150: asparagus before librarians (katecat) Tue 28 Nov 06 05:34
    
oh I'd love to hear these poems in your own voice! thanks for that link,
rubi

I know most of the AA Milne poems by heart as well. They are a great teacher
of rhythm I believe, and certainly taught me to care about poetry. Now I
want to find the influences in yours.

I'd like to hear how you got your first book publiched as well. But also,
rubi has asked me to pass on this question, Mary, which will take you from
your first book to your next:

"What kinds of projects are you currently working on? What are some themes
you find yourself dealing with now that didn't concern you as much at
earlier times in your life. How about your  future plans?  new novels?
new poetry?  What's in the works."
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #129 of 150: Hoping to be a goddess, but settling for guru (paris) Tue 28 Nov 06 11:00
    

And, not to pile on the questions, Mary ....

I wonder if there is something related to writing or the writing process 
with which you still struggle?  Is there anything, after all these years 
of writing, that still presents difficulties for you?
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #130 of 150: Allegro ma non tofu (pamela) Tue 28 Nov 06 14:38
    
(hollow laughter here from another writer)
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #131 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 28 Nov 06 21:15
    

More insane laughter from here. I struggle with all the things every writer
struggles with, because the more you know, the more your realize how much
better the work could be and the more you demand from yourself. When I first
started out, I had problems with basic things; now I have problems with very
complex things. I learn new things every time I sit down to write. Actually,
Im not sure this could be called a difficulty since I love the discovery so
much. I think it must be a little like an athlete who jumps a bit higher
each time. Theres a lot of satisfaction in that.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #132 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 28 Nov 06 21:17
    


By the way, I apologize for taking so long to reply today. I have been on an
airplane since early this morning and have just reconnected with a computer
again. I am on dial-up so I may be a bit briefer than usual. The net lag is
ferocious.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #133 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 28 Nov 06 21:27
    

I connected to one of the editors of Marsh Hawk Press because she also
edited an anthology I had a piece in (Bearing Life ed. Rochelle Ratner). She
asked to see the manuscript because she wanted to read it, not because Marsh
Hawk had any openings (they were full for the next 2 years). I gave it to
her and went off to the backlands of Brazil. The next time I logged in to a
computer, I found an email from her saying she loved the poems, wanted to
publish them, and that a poet who they had scheduled for this fall had
dropped out. You dont get better news than that, so I said yes and spent the
next 6 weeks working with Tom Fink (the wonderful editor Marsh Hawk gave me)
by email. Sometimes I was actually doing the editing in a bamboo hut in the
middle of a tropical downpour. The whole thing was a total surprise, but its
been a great relationship.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #134 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 28 Nov 06 21:34
    

Marsh Hawk is a juried collective. Besides publishing poetry by established
poets, they run a contest each year. The winner gets his/her manuscript
published for free by the press. The press also emphasizes fine art covers,
so their books are always beautifully designed. They have excellent
distribution, send out a lot of review copies, and in general are a pleasure
to work with. Everyone at the press is also a poet, and the body of their
work is, to say the least, impressive. I particularly liked working with an
editor who was himself a poet. It makes a big difference to talk the nuts
and bolts of craft with someone who is involved in the same process. (To
find out more about Marsh Hawk and get a look at the covers of the MHP
bookswhich are an art gallery in themselvescheck out www.marshhawkpress.org)
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #135 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 28 Nov 06 21:44
    


Right now I am writing some screenplays with Renee De Palma which I cant
talk about in public because thats the way screenwriting works. They are
powerful, all-absorbing, and if I say another word about them I will get
into big trouble. Im also in the very early stage of working out a plot for
a new novel. As I said earlier, Putnam/Berkley Books is publishing The
Notorious Mrs. Winston this spring (pub date is now setMay 1st). I just
finish proofreading the galleys so Im once again at that confusing but
wonderful crossroads where I can take off many different directions. Right
now I am doing a lot of reading and research and a lot of staring off into
space. Like many writers, I never talk about my work in progress (even to my
husband) because it take the energy out of the creative process and freezes
it in ways that are hard to work around. You might say that having written
The Notorious Mrs. Winston, I am becoming (at least for a while) The
Mysterious Ms. Mackey.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #136 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Tue 28 Nov 06 21:52
    

As for themes that concern me more now than they did a decade or two ago: I
think I am still working with the same themes but they have become more
complex because many of them have risen to the consciousness of many people
(so I am not so alone with them): ecological issues; men and women and
equality and the search for a balanced life; friendship and betrayal;
secrets; the consequences of lieslove, death, nature, all the staples of
lyric poetry. Perhaps the greatest change is that I have a better sense of
what time can do to people. The young and promising can end up
corrupted or insane; people who seemed foolish can become wise; strange
kindnesses can appear out of nowhere.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #137 of 150: rubi (rubicon) Wed 29 Nov 06 07:57
    
I can hardly wait for May and "The Notorious Mrs. Winston".  Those
have been the concerns of a century, haven't they? How wonderful to be
so much a part of thier rising to our attention. Thank you, Mary.

Thank you for a fascinating interview.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #138 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Wed 29 Nov 06 10:02
    

It's been my pleasure. I've really enjoyed this.

As a last comment, I just realized that I can tell some a little about what
I am working on now. The Notorious Mrs. Winston is partly based on stories I
heard as a child about my two great grandfathers who fought on different
sides of the Civil War. One died for the Union at Shiloh and the other was a
Confederate army surgeon. The new novel I am thinking about will probably be
based on other family stories. I seem to have a strong emotional connection
with first-person accounts of things my relatives did long ago.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #139 of 150: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 29 Nov 06 10:33
    
Can't wait for the book -- and the inkwell.vue visit if you grace this event
again. I bet a lot of people have family storeis they'd love to cite in the
conversation...  thanks for being here!
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #140 of 150: Hoping to be a goddess, but settling for guru (paris) Wed 29 Nov 06 10:52
    

Am looking forward to the book, Mary!  It was a real gift to read so much 
about the inner workings that result in your wonderful work.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #141 of 150: Allegro ma non tofu (pamela) Wed 29 Nov 06 11:37
    
Wait, wait!  One last question.

Every writer has milestone books--maybe they're commercial
breakthroughs (so you know another publisher won't laugh in your face)
or they're personal milestones.  Have there been particular books of
yours that were such for you?  Can you say more?

Do you have a favorite among your own poems? (We won't tell the other
poems if you do.)
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #142 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Wed 29 Nov 06 13:51
    


My milestone book in terms of publishing was "A Grand Passion." It sold over
a million and a half copies and made the New York Times best-seller
list.  On an artistic level, I think "The Notorious Mrs. Winston" is the
best thing I've ever written.

Favorite poem? That's a really hard call. I think right now it's
"Lynchburg" but "L. Tells All", "Breaking the Fever," and "When We Were Your
Age" are right up there, and I love the images in "The Breakfast Nook."
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #143 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Wed 29 Nov 06 13:53
    

Thanks to Gail and the conference team for getting this together, and
special thanks to rubi for her astute guidance of the conversation.

I'd love to return, take off my poetry cap (soft velvet) and put on
my novelist's hat (civil war cap with brim, half blue half gray) and
talk about "The Notorious Mrs. Winston" in particular and writing novels in
general.

until then . .  .
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #144 of 150: David Adam Edelstein (davadam) Wed 29 Nov 06 15:25
    
Thanks, Mary and Carol. This has been a great conversation.  We'd love
to have you back!
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #145 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 19 Mar 07 22:11
    

On February 15 and 16 of this year (2007) Garrison Keillor read two of my
poems on his morning program Writers Almanac. If you go to
www.writersalmanac.org and click on Feb 15 and then on Feb 16 you can hear
him read "Chicken Killing" and "My Methodist Grandmother Said".
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #146 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Mon 19 Mar 07 22:11
    


 In the last month (thanks to Garrison Keillor), my new collection of
poetry,
 "Breaking the Fever" has gone from amazon's 500,000th something best
selling
 book to 313,699. Wow, with a climb like that, I figure it will less than
 three months before I make number 1 . . .
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #147 of 150: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Tue 20 Mar 07 10:28
    

Wow, congrats on having Keillor read some of your work on the Writers
Almanac, and on the boost it gave to your sales at Amazon, Mary!
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #148 of 150: Mary Mackey (mm) Sun 25 Mar 07 16:30
    

Thanks, Cynthia.
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #149 of 150: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 30 May 07 12:53
    
I saw this announced elsewhere and I wanted to spread the word:



 This Friday, June 1st, at 7:30 p.m., Al Young and Mary Mackey will read
 their poetry at Escape from New York Pizza, 333 Bush Street (at
 Montgomery) in San Francisco. The reading is a benefit for After the
 Storm: The Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund, and is co-sponsored by the
 Berkeley Poetry Review and the NAACP. Al Young is the Poet Laureate of
 California.


 A small donation ($5) entitles you to free pizza. Every dime you give
 goes to Katrina victims.



It's a wonderful opportunity to help those who are still suffering in
the aftermath of Katrina and to hear some excellent poetry. Plus,
pizza! 
  
inkwell.vue.287 : Mary Mackey, Breaking the Fever
permalink #150 of 150: Jennifer Simon (fingers) Thu 13 Oct 11 10:16
    
Here is another older conversation that is still a delight to read.
  



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