National Poetry Month Spotlight: Laura McCullough

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2016! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections.

Today’s featured poet is Laura McCullough, author of Speech Acts, Rigger Death and Hoist Another, and Jersey Mercy.
Moon Croon in Eatontown
Mercy and Fred stand spitting seeds outside the port-a-potty
between the construction site and convenience store;
Rick is inside puking. He’s got too much something and not
enough something else—food; restraint; who knows?
Mercy’s social is tattooed across her neck. In case they find
my body, she told her mother. Now, she sings “Love Me
Tender.” Fred is listening past her voice for the next train
to the City, the one so many boys have been jumping in
front of. How many in this handful of years? Some fathers,
too, whose shame has grown on the tracks, and Fred
thinks the whole town is down and afraid. He wants
out. The nighttime whistle seems low and sad; for some
it rings hope, others anger. The train comes this way, goes
that, but everyone ends up in the same place—fly away
or lay down flat—someone singing old Elvis tunelessly
waiting out the night in a 7-Eleven parking lot.
12553020_10153571434443141_6335470273320025822_nLaura McCullough’s newest book of poems is Jersey Mercy (Black Lawrence Press 2016). Her other collections include Rigger Death & Hoist Another (BLP), Panic (Alice James Books), Speech Acts (BLP), and What Men Want (XOXOX Press). She is the editor of two anthologies, A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry and Race (University of Georgia Press) and The Room and the World: Essays on Stephen Dunn (Syracuse University Press). Her work has appeared in Best American Poetry, Georgia Review, American Poetry Review, The Writer’s Chronicle, Guernica, The Southern Review, Gulf Coast, Pank, Hotel America, Prairie Schooner, and many other journals and magazines. She has had scholarships or fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, the Nebraska Summer Writers Conference, Sewanee Writers Conference, the Vermont Studio Center, the Virginia Center for the Arts, the Betsy House, and has been a Dodge Poetry Festival poet, a Florida Writers Circuit poet, and a Decatur Book Festival poet. She has had two NJ State Arts Council Fellowships, one in poetry and one in prose. She teaches full time at Brookdale Community College and is on the faculty of the Sierra Nevada low-res MFA. Visit her at