MegKearney.com

  • Books for Teens


    Song copyright (c) 2016 by Meg Kearney and Chris Little. Recording copyright (c) Colin McCaffrey. All rights reserved. Credits: Meg Kearney, lyrics; Chris Little, melody & guitar; Beth Grosart, vocals; Colin McCaffrey, fiddle & sound production.

    » Read the lyrics.

    When You Never Said Goodbye: An Adoptee’s Search for Her Birth Mother
       A Novel in Poems and Journal Entries


    When You Never Said Goodbye

    "Meg’s writing takes you into the heart of the story and holds you there. I loved everyone I met on these pages and felt every moment of deep love and deep loss. When You Never Said Goodbye is a gift to the world, a book you’ll want to read slowly, savoring both the eloquent writing and the brave and beautiful story." —Jacqueline Woodson


    Starred Review Starred Review from BookList:
    In this final installment to the trilogy that began with The Secret of Me (2007), poet Kearney draws 18- year-old Liz McLane’s years-long search for her birth mother to a close. Though a recent registry to three major adoptee reunion sites has yet to generate a match, Liz, newly transferred to NYU—and living in the city she last saw her “first mother”—remains resolute. But as social stresses, a mounting workload, and an eerily familiar face in Washington Square Park mingle with her increasingly confounding quest, Liz must confront thorny questions of family, faith, and the indelible influence of the past—and how each may frame her future. Partially inspired by Kearney’s own experience as an adoptee, Liz’s first-person account unfolds in a series of sincere and succinct (often no longer than a page) journal entries, haikus, villanelles, letters, and more. While the search itself no doubt fuels the narrative, Liz’s flourishing friendships, depictions of an ever-bustling Big Apple, and dogged devotion to her craft of poetry add considerable depth to the already gripping journey. Appended suggested reading, including guides to poetics as well as adoption registries, clinch this one’s status as both an enlightening resource and an all-around sparkling story of self-discovery. — Briana Shemroske


    Kirkus Reviews: A college-age adoptee searches for her birth mother. In the final novel-in-verse installment of her identity-probing trilogy (The Girl in the Mirror, 2012, etc.), Kearney's scrappy protagonist, Liz McLane, heads to the Big Apple in search of answers. Ostensibly there to study poetry at NYU, Liz is also in search of her birth mother, who gave her up for adoption there when she was an infant. Liz is more conscious than many a white girl of being "white as paper. Church-white / with monk-brown curls." One of the strengths of Kearney's first-person tale is the normalized diversity of friends and loved ones Liz draws around her on her quest, dating a boy with "half- / Mexican skin" and hanging with friends of differing racial and ethnic backgrounds, who may be gay, or—like Liz—also dealing with the loss of a parent. Another highlight is how Liz's study of writing affords Kearney the opportunity to experiment with poetic form and include useful tips for budding poets like Liz, such as "When the subject / feels dangerous, form is your friend." Legal and historical hurdles Liz encounters throughout her search only spur her to dig even deeper into her past, propelling the narrative to a surprising conclusion. Thoughtful and brimming with justified teen angst, Kearney's fast-paced tale offers illuminating insights into the perils and rewards of self-discovery. (Verse fiction. 12-18)

    Publisher's Weekly: "Through journal entries and varied styles of poems, Kearney sensitively conveys Liz’s journey of discovery."


    Ordering information:
    $17.95 hardcover (CAN. $23.95) | CQ: TK World
    ISBN:  978-089255-479-9
    5.5 x 8.25 | 280 pages
    YOUNG ADULT FICTION
    Coming March 21, 2017
    From Persea Books

    A moving, nuanced story of a girl’s search for her birth mother, a major contribution to the literature of adoption.

    Eighteen-year-old adoptee and aspiring poet Liz McLane transfers to NYU for two reasons: New York is THE place to be a writer, and it’s where she last saw her birth mother, when, at five months old, she was given away. “My blood remembers,” she writes in her journal.  “That will help me find her.  It must.” Liz’s poetry classes and social life are everything she hoped for. But her search languishes.  City birth records and redacted records of the institution that handled her adoption yield nothing. Without a name, how would she ever find her birth mother?  Then, in Washington Square Park, where Liz goes to gather her thoughts, an unknown guitarist sings a soulful song in a strangely familiar voice.  Could she be Liz’s birth mother or is she the embodiment of a wish? A compassionate social worker and a private investigator guide Liz’s search to its unpredictable ending.

    Coming soon!

    » A Teacher's Guide to When You Never Said Goodbye

    » Poetics Guide to When You Never Said Goodbye




    The Girl in the Mirror: A Novel in Poems & Journal Entries

    The Girl in the Mirror, by Meg Kearney

    Ordering information:
    Original trade paperback / $15.00 (Can. $16.00)
    ISBN 978-0-89255-385-3 / 168 pages /
    PERSEA BOOKS: Young Adult Fiction
    Distributed by W.W. Norton: order dept and
    customer service phone # 800 233 4830;
    or, call Persea Books is 212 260 9256.

    KIRKUS (March 2012)

    Before Lizzie McLane can search for her birth mother, she first needs to find herself.

    In The Secret of Me (2005), a novel in verse, 14-year-old Lizzie began a quest to discover her place within her adoptive family. Three years older in this stand-alone sequel, also told in verse and journal entries, the now-high-school senior has started the process of looking for her birth mother. Her introductory entry briefly recounts the history of the prior book and delivers a shocker: Her father passed away on the same day that a letter with non-identifying information about her birth mother arrived from the adoption agency. Lizzie’s deeply felt poems depict her sudden downward spiral. She mourns the loss of what was and what could have been, joins her older coworkers in late-night partying and drinking and tries to reconcile her feelings about her old boyfriend and a sensitive, guitar-playing romantic possibility. When her change in lifestyle results in losing close friends and a near rape, Lizzie realizes that she no longer recognizes the girl she sees in the mirror. Kearney, an adoptee herself, ends with information about adoption support groups and resources. She also offers a guide to many of the poems’ forms (ballads, pantoums, villanelles, etc.) and structures.

    Fans of Helen Frost will admire the attention to both poetics and story. (Poetry. 14 & up)

    » The Nerdy Book Club chooses The Girl in the Mirror as a Top Ten Novels in Verse

    » Mom.me picks The Girl in the Mirror as a great mother-daughter read!

    » Meg discusses The Girl in the Mirror with Gayle Heney on Write Now (Haverhill Community TV)

    » A Teacher's Guide to The Girl in the Mirror

    » Read all of the reviews!




    The Secret of Me: a novel in verse for young adults

    Starred Review from Kirkus!

    » Chosen by BookRiot as 100 MUST-READ YA NOVELS IN VERSE (2016)!

    Ordering information:
    $17.95 hardcover / $12 paperback
    Pub. Date: November 2005 (paperback, 2007)
    ISBN # 0-89255-322-7
    PERSEA BOOKS: Middle Grade/YA Fiction
    Distributed by W.W. Norton: order dept and
    customer service phone # 800 233 4830.
    Or call Persea Books is 212 260 9256

    » Read the reviews

    A vivid, heartfelt tale of a teenager's poetic quest to discover her place within her adoptive family and within the wider world.

    Being adopted is a fact of life in the McLane household: fourteen-year-old Lizzie, as well as her older brother and sister were adopted as infants. But dry facts rarely encompass feelings, and what it feels like to be adopted is something Lizzie never dares openly discuss with her loving parents—let alone with outsiders. More and more Lizzie yearns to confide in others, especially her boyfriend, Peter. But something stops her. Will Peter think she is "less" because her birthmother gave her away? Would telling be disloyal to her adoptive parents?

    Told entirely through the poems Lizzie writes for herself, this intimate, moving story gives voice to the thoughts Lizzie cannot utter aloud. Lizzie transforms relationships and events in her daily life—family dinners, the school dance, hanging out with friends—into blues poems, list poems, sonnets, sestinas, and free verse that delve into her secret wishes and her fears. Often Lizzie feels like two people: the person everyone knows, and the one known to precious few. But when a tragic accident occurs, Lizzie finds the courage to say who she truly is and to set off on a new path of self-discovery and truth.

    In an Afterword the author discusses her own experience as an adopted child and how writing can help make sense of one's life. Also included are a Guide to Poetic Forms and an Appendix of Poems (poems referred to in the novel, by Lucille Clifton, Hayden Carruth, Anne Sexton, Donald Hall, and others).

    Available through major retailers.

    » Click here to access teacher's guide (PDF).


    ANTHOLOGIES:


    Sudden Flash Youth: 65 Short Short Stories

    The Girl in the Mirror, by Meg Kearneyby Christine Perkins-Hazuka (Editor) , Tom Hazuka (Editor) , Mark Budman (Editor)
    Featuring Meg's story “Chalk.”

    Pub. Date: December 2011
    Publisher: Persea Books
    Format: Paperback , 224pp
    ISBN-13: 9780892553716
    ISBN: 0892553715

     

  • Books for Children

    Trouper (the three-legged dog)

    Trouper (the three-legged dog)
    A picture book illustrated by E.B. Lewis (Scholastic)

    » Winner of the Kentucky Bluegrass Award! kba.nku.edu  

    » First Place, 2015-2016 Show Me Award Winner, Missouri's Association of School Librarians.  www.maslonline.org

    » First Place, 2015-2016 Show Me Award Winner (Grades 1-3), Missouri's Association of School Librarians.  www.maslonline.org
    » A Nominee for the 2014-2015 Alabama Camellia Children’s Choice Book Award (Grades 2-3). For more information, visit: alabamacamelliaaward

    » Preliminary Nominee for the 2015-2016 Missouri Association of School Librarians (MASL) Readers Award (Show Me Readers, Grades 1-3): maslonline.org

    » 2013 Association of Children's Librarians of Northern California Distinguished Book

    » [Trouper has been] Selected as one of the Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People of 2014!

    » Chosen one of the "Diverse and Impressive Picture Books of 2013" by the
       International Reading Association

    » Christian Science Monitor, the Cooperative Children's Book Center, and Bank Street College of Education has named TROUPER one of the season's best picture books!


    Ordering information:
    Author: Meg Kearney, Illustrator: E.B. Lewis
    Age Range: 4 - 8 years (AND UP!)
    Grade Level: Preschool - 3
    Hardcover: 32 pages
    Publisher: Scholastic Press (November 1, 2013)
    Language: English
    ISBN-10: 0545100410
    ISBN-13: 978-0545100410
    List Price: $16.9

    » More information about the book, and dog
    » Read the early reviews

    Trooper vs. TrouperTrouper” vs. “Trooper”

    By the time I adopted my dog Trooper, he was about two years old and already had his name—spelled with the “oo.” But if you want to express that someone is amazing for having overcome adversity without complaint, that person (or dog!) is a “trouper.”

    Here at home I use the “oo” spelling, but for the purposes of the book I wanted the dog to have the correct spelling—children should learn the right connotation of the word “trouper.” (A “Trooper” is actually a mounted policeman or state police officer!)

  • Books for Adults


    Home By Now

    * Winner of the 2009 LL Winship/PEN New England Award for Poetry.

    * A finalist for the Patterson Poetry Prize.

    * A finalist for Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year.

    » Read the judge's citation by Tim Seibles >

    » Read a sampling of poems from the book >

    From the Malcolm McDonald Series Selection, Four Way Books
    Distributed by University Press of New England

    » Click here for press release.

    Expected: October 2009
    ISBN: 978-1-884800-94-8
    $15.95
    Orders: UPNE 1.800.421.1561
    » http://www.upne.com/1-884800-94-7.html

    » Read the reviews

    "A brilliant, hard-won second book that will remind you why we go to poetry in the first place; not to be soothed, but to learn. These are smart, tough, sure lyrics. I love the sound of this book, the music she so slyly installed in these poems. I read and marvel."
    —Cornelius Eady

    "Toughness and vulnerability rub again each other in these poems, and sparks fly."
    —Linda Pastan

    The characters of Meg Kearney’s gritty second poetry collection travel the shadows and edges of modern life. Searching for home and knowing that, once found, home might dissolve without warning, Kearney carves a richly lyric poetry. You will hear the voices of this striking book right in your ear, telling hard-learned lessons that are as unsettling as they are necessary.



    An Unkindness of Ravens

    Poems by Meg Kearney with a foreword by Donald Hall

    Now in its second printing.

    Ordering information:
    ISBN# 1-929918-09-7 a paperback original
    ISBB 1-929918-16-X Limited Edition cloth
    Pub. Date: October, 2001

    » Read the reviews

    In An Unkindness of Ravens, Meg Kearney's poems weave voices of estrangement and redemption: mothers, daughters, lovers of gin and dead things. In the middle poems, the protagonist confronts "Raven": a figure of guises and disguises, revealing the speaker's fears and angst. National Book Critics Circle Award-winning poet Donald Hall has written the Foreword.

    To purchase a copy of An Unkindness of Ravens:
    Meg suggests contacting Jett Whitehead (www.poetryjett.com).
    Supplies are limited.

    Jett Whitehead also has broadsides of Meg's poem "Ticket" available.

    » Listen to Garrison Keillor read "Ticket"
    on the September 1st edition of "The Writer's Almanac" ~

    » Listen to Garrison Keillor read "Creed"
    on the July 23rd edition of "The Writer's Almanac" ~




    ANTHOLOGIES:

    The Incredible Sestina Anthology

    The Girl in the Mirror, by Meg KearneyPublished by Write Bloody
    Featuring "14th Street” by Meg Kearney

    » Behind the Sestina: Meg Kearney on “14th Street”

    ISBN: 9781938912368
    Author: Nester, Daniel
    Publisher: Write Bloody Publishing
    Subject: Poetry -Anthologies
    Publication Date: October 2013
    Binding: TRADE PAPER

    Waiting Room Reader, Vol II: Words to Keep You Company

    Waiting Room Reader, Vol II: Words to Keep You Company, Editor Rachel HadasGuest Editor: Rachel Hadas
    from CavanKerry Press

    Ordering information:
    Pub date: Jan 2013
    ISBN 978-1-933880-34-1
    Price $16.00

    This second volume of The Waiting Room Reader is edited by world-renown poet and author Rachel Hadas, and is again co-sponsored by The Arnold P. Gold Foundation for Humanism in Medicine. This collection continues CavanKerry’s commitment to providing high quality literature to help reduce the stress and anxiety of patients, and their caregivers, who are waiting for medical care.

     

    The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from the Robert Frost Place, Volume 2

    The Breath of Parted Lips, Edited by Sydney LeaForeword by Donald Hall, Edited by Sydney Lea
    from CavanKerry Press

    Ordering information:
    526 pp, 6 x 9.25 Paperback
    ISBN: 0-9678856-8-X
    ISBN-13: 978-0-9678856-8-1
    Pub Date: August 2004
    $28.00

    Voices in Breath, Volume I were more numerous and various than a single volume could suggest. This volume, edited by Frost Place poet and essayist Sydney Lea, collects the work of faculty, participants at the annual poetry festival, and resident poets who have visited after the appearance of Volume I.

     

    Blues for Bill: A Tribute to William Matthews

    Edited by Kurt Brown, Meg Kearney, Donna Reis, Estha Weiner
    from The University of Akron Press

    Ordering information:
    Paperback, 185pp
    ISBN: 1931968241
    ISBN-13: 9781931968249
    Pub. Date: February 2005

    Blues for Bill celebrates the life and work of poet William Matthews through his own language, that of poetry. While the poems of William Matthews are well known and remembered, this collection of poems ensures that the world will remember Bill himself: his graciousness, intelligence, knowledge, style, good humor, capacity for friendship, immense talent, and wit. In this anthology, the editors memoralize the character and soul of this most unique man. The poems included are written by people who knew Bill in a variety of ways, under myriad circumstances: as friend, both old and new; as mentor and teacher; as colleague; as father. Their poems are remarkable, true testaments to Bill and his art.

    Available through major retailers.


    Good Poems, American Places

    Good Poems jacketGarrison Keillor (Author) from Viking Adult

    Ordering information:
    Hardcover, 512 pp, $28.95 (list price)
    Pub. Date: April 14, 2011
    ISBN-10: 0670022543
    ISBN-13: 978-0670022540

    Another bestselling anthology from Garison Keillor-beautiful verses rooted in the American landscape.

    Garrison Keillor, the editor of Good Poems and Good Poems for Hard Times, host of The Writer's Almanac, and all-around arbiter of fine American poetry, introduces another inspiring collection by a range of poets, some beloved favorites and others brash unknowns, organized by regions of America.

    From Nantucket to Knoxville, Manhattan to Minnesota, the heart can be exalted anywhere. Think of these poems as postcards-from Billy Collins, Nikki Giovanni, William Carlos Williams, Naomi Shihab Nye, Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, and many more.

    Like the previous Good Poems collections, this volume celebrates the high-spirited, the witty and antic and jazzy voice that in many ways defines the land of the free. Choosing poems full of humor, sharp insight, and warmth, Garrison Keillor once again makes good poetry accessible and immensely enjoyable.

    Conversation Pieces: Poems That Talk to Other Poems

    by Kurt Brown (Editor), Harold Schechter (Editor), Harold Schechter (Editor), Billy Collins (Preface by)
    from Knopf Publishing Group

    Ordering information:
    Hardcover, 256pp, $12.50 US
    Pub. Date: March 2007
    SBN: 0307265455
    ISBN-13: 9780307265456

    This utterly delightful anthology gathers poetic responses to other poems in a dialogue conducted across space and time.

    Here are poems that answer, argue with, update, elaborate on, mock, interrogate, or pay tribute to poems of the past. We hear Leda's view of the Swan; feel sympathy for La Belle Dame sans Merci, and find out how Marvell's coy mistress might have answered his appeal. Raleigh's famous reply to Marlowe's "The Passionate Shepherd to His Love" sparked a centuries-long debate that John Donne, William Carlos Williams, C. Day Lewis, and Ogden Nash could not resist joining. In these pages we see Denise Levertov respond to Wordsworth, Randall Jarrell to Auden, Ogden Nash to Byron, Donald Justice to César Vallejo. We also see contemporary poets responding to their peers with the same intriguing mix of admiration and impatience.

    Whether they offer approbation or reproof, the pleasures of a jazz riff or a completely different perspective, these remarkable poems are not only engaging themselves but also capable of casting surprising new light on the poems that inspired them.

    Available through major retailers.

    The Book of Irish American Poetry: From the Eighteenth Century to the Present

    by Daniel Tobin (Editor)
    from University of Notre Dame Press


    Ordering information:
    Hardcover, 760pp, $60.00 US
    Pub. Date: January 2007
    ISBN: 0268042306
    ISBN-13: 9780268042301

    This is the first major anthology of Irish American poetry. It collects, for the first time, the work of over two hundred Irish American poets, as well as other American poets whose work enjoins Irish American themes. The anthology contains exemplary poetry of the "populist period" of Irish American verse (in particular the work of poets such as John Boyle O'Reilly), with the work of those Irish Americans who have made an indelible imprint on American poetry: Robinson Jeffers, Marianne Moore, Louise Bogan, John Berryman, Thomas McGrath, John Montague, Robert Creeley, Frank O'Hara, Ted Berrigan, Charles Olson, Galway Kinnell, X. J. Kennedy, and Alan Dugan, among others. The volume also includes distinctive poems by contemporary Irish Americans whose work is most likely to stand the test of time: poets such as Tess Gallagher, Alice Fulton, Brendan Galvin, Marie Howe, Susan Howe, Billy Collins, Michael Ryan, Richard Kenney, and Brigit Pegeen Kelly. The poems in this collection cut across the broad spectrum of American poetry and place Irish Americans within every notable school of American poetry, from modernism to confessionalism and the Beats, from formalism to imagism, and from projectivism to the New York School and Language poets.

    Available through major retailers.

    Shade 2006: An Anthology of New Fiction and Poetry

    by David Dodd Dodd Lee
    from Four Way Books


    Ordering information:
    Pub. Date: April 2006
    ISBN: 1884800580
    ISBN-13: 9781884800580
    Format: Textbook Paperback, 318pp

    Shade 2006 includes the work of Vito Aiuto, Joshua Beckman, Victoria Chang, Denise Duhamel, Sybil Estess, Mary Gannon, David Hernandez, George Kalamaras, Stella Vinitchi Radulescu, Virgil Suarez, Elaine Terranova, Chase Twichell, Sarah Vap, and many others from a diverse array of cultural and intellectual backgrounds. Established and emerging poets and writers inform and play off each other's work as they appear side by side in this vital and dynamic sampling of contemporary American writing.

    Available through major retailers.

    Never Before: Poems about First Experiences

    by Laure-Anne Bosselaar (Editor), Laura Anne Bosselaar (Editor)
    from Four Way Books

    Ordering information:
    Paperback, 224pp
    ISBN: 1884800602
    ISBN-13: 9781884800603
    Pub. Date: November 2005

    First haircuts, first kisses, firstborn children. Never Before: Poems About First Experiences explores the ways in which the unknown becomes known. These poems evoke a sense of wonder at the world around us, and amazement at our ability to navigate through it, with all of the necessary bumps along the way. The voices of both established and emerging poets include Kim Addonizio, Stephen Dunn, Beth Ann Fennelly, Jennifer Grotz, Kimiko Hahn, Mark Halliday, Edward Hirsch, Meg Kearney, A. Van Jordan, Philip Levine, Larry Levis, Thomas Lux, Michael Ryan, and Gerald Stern, among many others. This is a diverse grouping and a generous and lively sampling work is showcased on the pages of this anthology.

    Available through major retailers.

    The Poets' Grimm: 20th Century Poems from Grimm Fairy Tales

    by Jeanne Marie Beaumont (Editor), Claudia Carlson (Editor), Claudia Carlson (Editor)
    from Story Line Press

    Ordering information:
    Paperback, 335pp
    ISBN: 1586540270
    ISBN-13: 9781586540272

    Writers and readers have long been inspired by the haunting wisdom and sheer imaginative power to be found in the fairy tales of the immortal Brothers Grimm. The editors have collected more than a hundred poems inspired by Grimm tales and written by our finest living poets. A brilliant and informative anthology, a teachable text.

    Available through major retailers.

    Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City

    by Laure-Anne Bosselaar (Editor), Emily Hiestand, Emily Hiestand (Introduction)
    from Milkweed Editions

    Ordering information:
    ISBN: 1571314105
    ISBN-13: 9781571314109
    Format: Paperback, 265pp
    Pub. Date: July 2000

    Deep in the concrete canyons of even the largest cities, nature lurks. Its unpredictable energies animate not only squirrels and microorganisms, not only ginkgoes, roots, and rivers, but also the engines of human desire. Urban Nature captures the many faces of wildness in the city with poems by more than 130 emerging and recognized poets. Rather than just lamenting the loss of paradise, these poems celebrate nature's resiliency. They memorialize a salamander's last stand in a parking lot, link the cosmos to the consumer ethos ("The Pleiades / you could probably get downtown"), evoke horses galloping between skyscrapers, and track geological time in a pothole.

    Available through major retailers.