SPEAKING WITH MAGPIES
By James McGrath
“Poet and artist James McGrath has been at the game of life and creativity for a long time. These poems are plain and direct, imagistic and emotional.”
--Miriam Sagan, author of "Archeology of Desire," "The Widow’s Coat," "Rag Trade."
“James McGrath is a master poet, whose respect for all life rings through every clear strong word. Using simple language he effortlessly conveys the deepest and, at times, the most terrible truth. These poems are a gift of understanding.”
--Cynthia West, author of "Rainbringer" and "The New Sun."
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“Male magpies build nests as a courtship ritual,” James McGrath says. “They risk the future, like poets who risk breathing light and darkness, hoping someone will hear them, yet knowing it does not matter. It is the pilgrimage, the chattering, the nesting of words that say, I am here, that really matter. It is not the verbosity of magpies I understand. It is the opening of mock orange, the white line around a black stone, feathers found on mountain trails, shape-shifting clouds, voices in the blood. It is the unfathomable enchantment of inhaling and exhaling the world while I expect a poem.”
JAMES McGRATH, poet, visual artist and teacher, is known for his narrative poetry in the KAET/PBS American Indian Artist Series in the 1970s. He has published poetry in 15 anthologies, including “Dakotah Territory,” “Passager,” “Inside Grief,” “In Cabin Six,” “Mercy of Tides,” and “Sacred Waters,” among others. McGrath was poet-artist-in-residence with the United States Information Service, Arts America in Yemen, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Republic of the Congo in the 1990s and his 50 year retrospective as artist was held at the Meridian Gallery in San Francisco in 2002. He lives in La Cieneguilla, Santa Fe, New Mexico.
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