Heirloom Bulldog, Winner of the 2014 Bright Hill Press Chapbook Contest
An ironic bestiary, these subtly crafted poems focus on animals while exposing human travails. Indeed, Lynn McGee empathizes with animals, "This rat goes where I go. / I am equal, in his eyes." Her elegiac voice—keening and defiant—affirms the right to belong and prevail. Exhilarating the reader with claw-sharp nouns and verbs, the poet burrows below the surface, providing nuanced layers: '[T]unnels beneath /the crackle of electronic fences." Instead of feeling fenced in, however, the poet asserts, 'There are some who treat the air/like an equal'. As readers, we breathe in its life-giving atmosphere.
—Dean Kostos, author of This Is Not a Skyscraper, winner of the 2013 Benjamin Saltman Award
Each individual creature in this menagerie of poems is poised at an existential edge in which its choices seem to serve as its species’ proleptic fate. Whether coyote, wild boar, lizard, python, rat, lioness, crow, pigeon, or wasp, McGee depicts the peculiar hybrid of a dilemma each finds itself oscillating within.
—Bill Mohr, author of Holdouts: The Los Angeles Poetry Renaissance 1948-1992, Hidden Proofs and forthcoming, The Headwaters of Nirvana / Los Manantiales del Nirvana
Lynn McGee's chapbook bestiary is a strong collection of poems that celebrate the animal world and the animal within us. Beginning with the jarring poem "Luck" these poems, through a combination of lyricism and narrative, meditate on our relationship to the wild and the domestic.
— Gerry LaFemina, author of The Story of Ash, Vanishing Horizon and Little Heretic.
Heirloom Bulldog explores humankind’s relationship to the rest of the animal world, wild and domesticated. In her collection of often playfully rendered, yet serious poems, who else but Lynn McGee would think to compare a dog to a tomato (in the title poem), overbred to a fault? She writes: "Something had to be stopped,/and it would not be me." Neither can the reader stop, through poems that draw one into the lives of, among others, an absconding pet rat, a self-injuring Ghanaian lizard, and dumpster-diving coyotes. The means other animals have to contend with us may not always make a pretty picture, but altogether, this is a gorgeous collection of poems.
—Susana H. Case, author of Drugstore Blue, 4 Rms w Vu, Elvis Presley's Hips & Mick Jagger's Lips and The Scottish Cafe
Heirloom Bulldog cover art: France Hilbert