Sharon Fagan McDermott
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Your Chapbook or Book Title, Press, Where available for sale.
Book Title: Life Without Furniture, Sharon Fagan McDermott, Jacar Press (NC), Available for sale at: Jacar Press
What inspired you to write this Chapbook/Book? What else should we know about it? Or just add the Blurb.
Life Without Furniture wrestles with issues of finding and feeling at home in the world and seeking sanctuary in an often challenging life touched by loss and constant change. As National Book Award winning poet Terrance Hayes says about this 2018 collection: “Sharon Fagan McDermott inhabits the spaces between the common and the uncommon…The whole world, visible and invisible, inhabits this wonderful new book.”
What was your journey to publication like? It’s been a long process. I’ve been writing since I was in high school and publishing poems in national journals since early college. In my twenties, as a single mother, my focus turned to raising my son, but eventually I returned to graduate school to attain my MFA at the University of Pittsburgh to find a community of writers who loved language and poetry as much as I did. It was a beautiful time of learning and being challenged in my work. I published often in wonderful poetry journals such as Poet Lore, Prairie Schooner, and Seneca Review and had work anthologized in a number of anthologies, including Contemporary Poetry at Play published by Sarabande Books. In 2002 I was awarded the Pittsburgh Foundation’s 10,000 artist award. And in 2005, I was awarded a PA Council on the Arts grant. I taught Poetry Writing courses as a full-time Visiting Lecturer of Creative Writing for many years at the University of Pittsburgh, where I had the joy of encouraging young writers on their own path toward writing strong poetry. While I had three chapbooks of poems published, I was thrilled in 2017 to have my manuscript as a finalist in the Autumn House Press competition. When it did not win, I was contacted by the published of Jacar Press who asked me to submit my manuscript. I was thrilled when it was accepted for publication and came out in May 2018. I love poetry with a passion and have lead over 200 local workshops for every group you might imagine, in person and more recently on Zoom.
Any upcoming Chapbook/Book releases? Upcoming poems in magazines?
I just had a poem published in “Parli Italiano” in Vox Populi an online magazine of Poetry and Politics. I am putting most of my energy now into finishing up my newest manuscript entitle The Summer of Nectarines.
Your Website and Social Media Links. I am currently building my website, so I don’t have information on that yet. I do have a blogspot at: http://poetstalking.blogspot.com
Any poets or books that inspired your writing?
The catalogue is too long! I grew up hearing my New York City grandfather reciting Dylan Thomas and William Butler Yeats, so their luscious language and attention to sound are in my blood. But, favorite poets now (too many to mention) include Ada Limon, Terrance Hayes, Yusef Komunyakaa, Louise Gluck, Robert Hass, and Lucille Clifton—poets with very different styles, themes, and approaches to a poem. I like to be challenged; I like to keep moving forward in my work and trying new things.
Who are you currently reading?
I just finished reading Jericho Brown’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Tradition. I’m currently reading The January Children by an incredible Sudanese poet named Safia Elhillo who does magical things with her use of white space in a poem. I also just bought When My Brother was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz and Carolyn Forche’s newest book In the Lateness of the World, which is stunning.
Pay it Forward – Promote your favorite Charity, tell us why you love it, add a link.
I’m really invested in and as activist as I can be about becoming better stewards to our dying Earth. My favorite environmental group (because after I researched so many of them, and they were a group that used almost ALL your donations toward buying up land that can never be built upon thereafter—land that will allow eco-systems to thrive and survive.) is the Nature Conservancy. Link: https://www.nature.org/en-us/
April 1 – Alison Stone
April 2 – Jessica Barksdale Inclan
April 3 – Maureen Sherbondy
April 4 – William Rector
April 5 – Carolyn Martin
April 6 – Lucy Griffith
April 7 – Better Than Starbucks
April 8 – Marjorie Becker
April 9 – Karen Arnold
April 10 – Sheree La Puma
April 11 – Sherry Rind
April 12 – Gloria Heffernan
April 13 – Kristian Macaron
April 14 – Martin Willits Jr.
April 15- George Longenecker
April 16 – Tresha Faye Haefner
April 17 – L.Shapley Bassen
April 18 – Dotty LeMieux