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Michael McFee

Michael McFee was born in Asheville, North Carolina, and grew up in the small community of Arden in the Blue Ridge Mountains. He has been poet-in-residence at Cornell and Lawrence Universities, and is now a Bowman and Gordon Gray Distinguished Professor of English at his alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill, where he teaches poetry writing and contemporary North Carolina literature. He is the author of six collections of poetry–including Earthly and Colander, both published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, and Sad Girl Sitting on a Running Board and Vanishing Acts, both published by Gnomon Press–and the editor of two anthologies published by the University of North Carolina Press: This Is Where We Live: Short Stories by 25 Contemporary North Carolina Writers and The Language They Speak Is Things to Eat: Poems by 15 Contemporary North Carolina Poets. His seventh collection, Shinemaster, whose title poem appeared in VQR, will be published by Carnegie Mellon in late 2005.



in memory of John Longley 1 The piper resuscitates his windbag, elbows it into a drone so intense it hurts, at such close range. And fingers a piercing dirge, his black foot marking stately time. 2 The long road home, John: down your driveway to the [...]

Old Baseball Found Under A Bush

On this ultimate spitball  steeped for who knows how many unseasonable seasons   under a parkside bush, two tiny snails are tracing   fingerings: fast ball, slider, split finger, curve,    a patient rehearsal over horsehide so putrefied [...]

Sliding Rock

I never saw my blind uncle   without a cigar, it was his ashy cane, a cheap way of keeping the world   blinded, breathless, at shouting distance. One night on our porch he inhaled   fiercely, his square face an open furnace,     and billowe [...]


I don't know why the fabulous griffin—lifting its huge eagle beak and wings, its long lion tail and clearly unshod right front paw—ever became part of the name and logo of this shoeshine kit but there it is, in golden profile on the label: Griff [...]

Burning My Draft Card, 1996

Before I strike a match to this flimsy paper I meant to burn back in the winter of 73 but stuck in Paradise as a bookmark and lost until this morning when it fell out, I'd like to say: God bless that "mike mcfee," his artsy lower-case fountain-pen cu [...]

Barnum’s Animal Crackers

The animals have been trapped for generations in this sunny caravan with four flat wheels. No matter how well the cub pedals his unicycle while juggling, Barnum never opens the doors on his ark. There he is on the roof, barking through a bloody megap [...]