National Poetry Month Spotlight: Laura McCullough

Hold Me
In linguistics, binding theory is any of a broad class of theories dealing with the distribution of pronominal and anaphoric elements.
She said,
******I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I love you, I do.
And I thought, maybe I have to rethink
******my negative relationship with anaphora,
******which is more complex than simple repetition might suggest,
******but if we forgo a discussion of syntax,
******and agree that order and rules are important,
******and also agree that we should argue about semantics,
******does that leave us in any better condition?
***Or should I simply, listen. Listen as she says
*********this, again, IloveyouIloveyouIloveyouIloveyouIloveyouIloveyouIdo,
******for the moment that moves beyond the annoyance
******of simple repetition in the intellect
******and becomes a small collection of spit in the throat
******that must be swallowed
which is only a symptom of feeling,
of some switch in the neural net of the organ called my brain
and I hear, as Frost said, not as a barbarian,
but even more elementally, and I love you
becomes not words,
not words or merely sound,
but a conveyance across which something is exchanged,
and a spoke in the wheel of me is lit up.
I love youIloveyouIdo, my darling, my dear one,
grateful to stand on the rules of language
that are the architecture of this cathedral
upon the roof of which which we now stand,
bound to each other by nothing less permanent than language,
dumb monkeys that we are,
gripping each other for dear life
and ready, so ready to leap.
Q: Where is your favorite place to write?
A: Airports and Starbucks, not so much by choice, but I get a lot of work done in those places.

Q: Do you remember the first poem you read that really blew your mind?
A: “The Secret Life” by Stephen Dunn was important to me early on; there’s a lot of great poetry out there, and my mind gets regularly blown. I love poets.
Q: What is the most interesting thing that has happened to you in the last 12 months?
A: I can’t imagine anyone would anything in my personal life terribly interesting and certainly nothing about me is unique, but I would say I had an experience this past year that many others have had, but it was life altering and makes me feel as if I understand human frailty and loyalty and love a little better and that was having the horrible and amazing honor to be part of someone’s dying process. My brothers and sister and other family family members helped support my father as we cared for his wife, my stepmother, a woman I have known and loved a long time, over the course of several months at home as she died. The last month was especially intense as we all were there close to round the clock. She died two days before Christmas Eve, and her funeral was that day. I will never forget the viewing as my dad neared the coffin. It was closed, but still, he broke down. This terrible mewling sound came from him, a grief moan from his gut and his knees buckled. Instantly, my brothers and sister and I were there, all of us throwing our arms around him, holding him up, our bodies all jammed together, cheek to cheek or against my dad’s back. It made me understand family in a way I never did before. It made me feel very lucky in love.
Laura McCullough’s most recent books are Speech Acts (Black Lawrence Press) and Panic (Alice James Books, winner of the Kinereth Genseler Award) and a chapbook, Women and Other Hostages (Amsterdam Press, winner of a Flip Kelly Award). Her work has appeared recently or is forthcoming in Pank, Iron Horse Literary Review, Diode, The Georgia Review, and Contrary. She is the editor of Mead: the Magazine of Literature and Libations.