Now Available from Pecan Grove Press:

Gwyn McVay's

Ordinary Beans

isbn: 978-1-931247-39-9


ABOUT Gwyn McVay

Gwyn McVay is an adjunct professor at Millersville University and the Pennsylvania College of Art & Design, where she teaches English and sociology. She is the author of two chapbooks of poems, Brother Ikon (Inkstone Press) and This Natural History (Pecan Grove Press); she has published extensively in print and online fora, including Ploughshares, Prairie Schooner, Boulevard and New American Writing.

Gwyn McVay's Ordinary Beans is now available from Pecan Grove Press.



About Gwyn McVay's Ordinary Beans:

"A restless, hyper-referential book, pressing through killer desert winds to coal countries; thoroughly situating and deracinating from Tonga to the Joisey Toinpike, and from kitchen sink to dojo. It is an odic elegy, it is an elegiac ode composed of Everything and nothing. Call it a fugue composed between states. It is a pot of no ordinary beans." —C.D. Wright

"A vividness and lushness of diction—that stubborn willingness to say whatever it takes to bring the poem alive for the reader—distinguishes Gwyn McVay’s poems from the vast majority of young poets publishing today. Combined with a serious and politically charged regard for our world, these poems are mature artistically as well as intellectually. When I came to the end, I wanted more." —Bruce Weigl


Pecan Grove Press

And also available from Pecan Grove Press:

This Natural History
Gwyn McVay


ISBN: 1-877603-45-7


"Born in paradox, constructed against abstraction, This Natural History presents poems gloriously aware of their own materiality. Here, poetic artifice and the world of nature are not opposites; rather, poetry shows itself as necessarily part of the world around it. Avoiding generalization, Gwyn McVay always uncovers the particular word that experiences environmental detail even as it translates it, giving us a language that does not displace so much as respond."

—Mark Wallace

"Note: Epicurean, in the sense of that old school's praise of engagement (and, if possible, harmony) with nature and a calm mind, hence relaxed in tone but precise in wording, the poems in This Natural History surprise with seemingly effortless leaps from the non-human to the human, and back again; and with questions we may not be able to answer but get a charge from thinking about. In a relatively brief, approximately sonnet-length poem McVay can take us from Japan's nishikigoi via Max Ernst's "reverse mermaid, scaled lamellar armor," Sacajawea and Venus, to the "polarized shades" of our decade (The Fishwife). Lovely, sharp, thought-provoking work.

—Anselm Hollo

"Gwyn McVay's poetry is deft and intent in the places where words touch the world—not only in the certainty of naming, but in the ceaseless motion of metamorphosis. This Natural History names and renames the animals (lizards, humans, the genie in the seed). What's most exhilarating in these pages, though, is the breaking of names: McVay isn't satisfied to leave any creature caged. She opens the doors of the words, one by one, with her supple attention."

—Wendy Battin

From Ordinary Beans by Gwyn McVay:

The Demoness

She liked me to say poems,
other people’s at first,
then my own. That was scary,

not her skull necklace—I liked that;
but saying for her the plain words

that had to be right, or she’d hiss
like a tigress, whistle around her tusks,

and stomp on tortured souls. So I chased peacocks,
I cooked masalas that burned through the kettle,
I climbed trees with snakes. Love sonnets
she could take or leave. Her taste

changed daily under my tongue,
imported fish eggs, the next day
ordinary beans.
At the ghats
where bodies are burned, where she lay down
and wrapped her human-skin robe around her,

she said to me, All this time
it was my death song. Don’t worry—
I’m going with the Buddhists next time round.
You did all right, for a kid.

Oh, I said, and she burst into flame.
This painting is made of her stare.

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