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Broadstone Books, 2019
by Lynn McGee
Lynn McGee sees the world in fierce vivid takes. Her poems explore a woman’s love for a woman, the loss of a beloved sister, and the dailiness of challenges to both family and fellow travelers. Via quick poetic clips and the New York City subway system, she catapults us through tunnels and on elevated tracks into the “hard curves.” We hitch a ride with the poet and her passengers on their commute, and when they detrain, attempting to leave by the in-turnstile, they are given a physical jolt and simultaneously realize there is no exit. In her poem “Ledge,” McGee writes: “A machine was in charge then / and a machine / is in charge now….
—Joseph Zaccardi, Marin County, California poet Laureate (2013-2015) and author of A Wolf Stands Alone in Water
"Don’t forget to look up," Lynn McGee tells the reader in the first poem of Tracks. These are eye-opening poems that transform an ordinary city bus into a box of light rushing through a cityscape and subways move through "crumbling shoulders of tenements." McGee’s keen lens zooms in and out with utmost clarity. Devoid of judgement, her chiseled language startles with originality. It rushes to the city’s erratic beat, slows to witness girls whipping their heads "as if shaking off water." Always looking, the poet urgently reports back our human experience with expansive tenderness and physicality. I was particularly drawn to poems about her vibrant sister, and the yearning for her after her death: "…late at night, I watch that actress for a glimpse of you—long face and gray eyes." This is a tactile poet, adept with syntax and slant rhyme, scent and sound. Lynn McGee’s poems are precise, incisive, and profound. Her subjects are on their way somewhere else. You will want to linger, watching alongside her.
—Pamela Davis, 2014 ABZ Poetry Prize Winner for her full-length collection of poetry, Lunette
Tracks, by Lynn McGee, carries us like passengers on a train into the human life of the daily commute. We board each poem and take a ride. The scenery streams past us, each of us inhabiting a body that travels through life with a private song streaming into our heads, "One in a million!" Intimate, open-hearted, McGee’s voice as fellow-voyager and guide is pitch perfect. About the stranger standing against “the silver pole, / shoulders back / and feet planted in a plié / so natural…”—he could be anyone, a dancer on the way to rehearsal, or the waiter who will serve you your salad. Then he is gone, who knows where? A child who’s mother recently died tells her aunt, “You’re in the wrong / space. Tomorrow, be over there.” Tracks are the prints to follow to your destination. They are the words McGee uses to “to wake myself / and write this life, / into something I want.” These poems will take you there.
—Mary-Sherman Willis, author of the book-length poem, Graffiti Calculus, and Grace Notes Appogiatures, a translation of the work of Jean Cocteau
Poems in Tracks have been published in The Hawaii Review, Potomac Review, The Southern Poetry Review, Across the Margin and others.
The cover art of Tracks is an oil painting, Chicago El, by the Chicago artist Teresa Parod.
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