Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes
Winner of the 2013 New Issues Poetry Prize
Winner of the 2015 Vermont Book Award
“Little Ghost Girl” from Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes
Video by Adriane Little
Kerrin McCadden’s Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes is one of the most compelling and powerful debut collections in recent American poetry. These exquisite meditations on the lived life are often nothing less than stunning, and are at times truly devastating. This gorgeous collection is both mature and tender in its reckonings of our shifting relationships with family and loved ones. Kerrin McCadden is especially accomplished in considering those who’ve engaged in constructions of daily happiness only to discover that what they’d begun in dream has ended in quiet wreckage. Poem by poem, we are consoled by the poet’s remarkable reflective ease and her profound intimacy. The beauty of these poems is matched only by their sense of triumph in resilience, and its resulting peace.
—David St. John
Whether riding on planes, listening to the surf, or falling deeply into and out of love—McCadden’s poems are much like the man she describes “walking the sidewalks of your town / with a tangle of bicycle innertubes / over his shoulder like a map of his heart.” Their intricate conceits manage to remain precise—challenging us all the while to paint with our language the landscapes that will outlast us.
For mature poets such as Kerrin McCadden, a headlong gaze into one’s life is an excursion into the possibilities of language and song that becomes with each poem a celebration of intelligence and light. Landscape with Plywood Silhouettes is revelatory and perfectly cadenced to the spiritual agonies and joys of living in our time.
Kerrin McCadden links one element of a deeply regarded landscape to another—cold, a village, a snowy owl, a young girl’s new tattoo flashing as she swims away in a pond—until a New England village becomes the world, entered, held, each thing connected to each by love and ache. Possessed of a deep emotional intelligence, alert to the strange folds and surprises of language, these poems are fresh as a snowfall.
Kerrin McCadden’s poems have appeared recently in Best American Poetry, American Poetry Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Green Mountains Review, Failbetter, Rattle and elsewhere. She is the recent recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, as well as support from The Vermont Arts Endowment Fund and The Vermont Studio Center. She teaches English and Creative Writing at Montpelier High School in Montpelier, Vermont and is an MFA degree candidate at Warren Wilson College. She lives in Plainfield, Vermont with her two children.