By Deb A.
Meredith McDonough can whisk a reader into her world in just a few lines. Her poem, "The Oarfish", was published in the inaugural edition of Agave Magazine.
AGAVE: Where and how do you find the curious in the everyday?
MEREDITH MCDONOUGH: The curious is always in the details –odd collections, a moment of social awkwardness at a very poised bridal shower, obscure hobbies, and daily rituals. When we are being the most 'normal' version of ourselves, we do a lot of curious things.
What is your starting point?
I usually start with a few snippets of a story and a stray memory. Like, I may start with the story of how a nurse once taught me to open jars by smacking the lid on the floor and how startlingly white and perfect my grandpa's dentures made his smile. I'll take a few thoughts like these and stitch them together into interconnected stanzas. I'm most interested in examining how people's interactions with objects reveal truths about them, detailing the jargon associated with a job or hobby, and the balance between pain and sweetness in family memories.
Does your writing stem mainly from a personal desire to understand and empathize, or is it also important to share this experience?
I would say that though my poetry does come from a desire to understand and empathize, there is definitely an element of schadenfreude at work as well. I want to entertain, challenge and amuse with my work.
What was your first favourite poem?
I loved Lucile Clifton's "Homage to My Hips" so much I named my first car after her. This poem made me realize poetry didn't have to be so serious –it could be simple and fun while still being powerful.
What are you reading now?
I am nearing the end of Haruki Murakami's Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World. Murakami seems to share my attention for the quotidian detail. In this suspense-driven fantasy narrative he takes a few pages for his main character to talk about what a great shopper his is and to admire the bags containing his newly acquired objects.
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