In stock

ISBN: 978-1-62557-708-5
Categories Poetry

Meta Meta Make-Belief

Publication Date: February 2019


Hi. You probably don’t know me, but this blurb is that moment when you’re scanning the back of a book, looking for a hook that will lead you inside to something you really need. But then you realize the person who’s written the blurb—me—isn’t someone you’ve ever heard of, or they’re not the literary flavor of the week, or maybe you genuinely don’t like their work. Maybe you genuinely don’t like them… Well, this is that moment, and we’ve both been here before. It’s a little uncomfortable, but often that’s the case with things that are true. What I’m saying is… I really need you to read this book, because it is in fact something you really need to read. Really. Please.

—Matt Hart

Imagine, if you will, a robot, a little language machine programmed to process hurt—your exact grief—by naming it, until it has no sting. Imagine an elegy for Phillip Seymour Hoffman delivered from the persona of Phil Parma, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character in Magnolia, over Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s body, like a treatise on hearing and healing another human. If you can imagine the antic mix of Ultra-Talk and artifice, a spiral notebook’s wide-open ardor, and POV script filled to the brim with “lust and shame / and real beauty and the feverish, / trembling trust you get from puppies / or babies, anybody truly new,” you need this book more than you think. Simultaneously searing and sensitively tuned, McKee’s fourth collection, META META MAKE-BELIEF is both diagnosis and remedy for “your despair which is always becoming / another version of itself / or bulging into an altogether / altogether else.”

—Marcus Wicker

We live in a world of illusions selling us further illusions. We grow dizzy and sick with it. This book is a tonic and an art and a hair of the dog, making itself true and truly felt.

—Kathryn Nuernberger

Marc McKee’s META META MAKE-BELIEF delivers his awareness of our awareness of the fictions we tell ourselves, the ones we perhaps too reverently call ‘memory’ or ‘history’ or ‘biography.’ McKee lays these out in their countless, little, linguistic pieces. His poems are frenetic with nostalgia and reference, offering hints and glimpses into this life and that one, but as in a Cubist painting, everything arrives in facets and shards and all at once as if lyric confession itself is born of little more than the mixed-up, gorgeous disaster of language: “I was a spark ferried by a catastrophe of wind / then I was a little girl who loved the Beatles more // than dessert’s inverted chandeliers. / I pawed at the monster // slicking up the spooked conduit of my neck / then stirred frantic, unwrecked, a little boy // in a little red incorrigible wagon…” This is the part of the story where we realize these rich, playful poems might be exactly right about language, living, and make-believing. For this, I am grateful to have them.

—Jaswinder Bolina

About the Author

Marc McKee

Marc McKee is the author of one chapbook and four full-length collections of poetry: What Apocalypse?, winner of the 2008 New Michigan Press / DIAGRAM Chapbook Contest, and Fuse (2011), Bewilderness (2014), Consolationeer (2017), and Meta Meta Make-Belief (forthcoming, 2019), all from Black Lawrence Press. His poetry appears in online and print journals such as American Poetry Review, Bennington Review, Conduit, Copper Nickel, Crazyhorse, Forklift, Ohio, The Journal, Los Angeles Review, Memorious, Sixth Finch, and others. He teaches at the University of Missouri, and is managing editor of the Missouri Review in Columbia, Missouri, where he lives with his wife Camellia Cosgray and their son, Harold.

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