Marty McConnell


McConnell's second poetry collection, "when they say you can't go home again, what they mean is you were never there," won the 2017 Michael Waters Poetry Prize and is forthcoming in 2018 on Southern Indiana University Press. Her first nonfiction book, “Gathering Voices: Creating a Community-Based Poetry Workshop,” was recently published by YesYes Books. She is the co-creator and co-editor of underbelly, a web site focused on the art and magic of poetry revision. She is the author of wine for a shotgun, (EM Press), which received the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Awards, and was a finalist for both the Audre Lorde Award (Publishing Triangle) and the Lambda Literary Awards. She is also a seven-time National Poetry Slam team member, the 2012 National Underground Poetry Individual Competition (NUPIC) Champion, and appeared twice on HBO’s “Def Poetry Jam.”  McConnell transplanted herself from Chicago to New York City in 1999, after completing the first of three national tours with The Morrigan, an all-female performance poetry troupe she co-founded. She received her MFA in creative writing/poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, and for nearly a decade, co-curated the flagship reading series of the New York City-based louderARTS Project. She returned to Chicago in 2009 to launch Vox Ferus, an organization dedicated to empowering and energizing individuals and communities through the written and spoken word. Source

Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell

leaving is not enough; you must

stay gone. train your heart

like a dog. change the locks

even on the house he’s never

visited. you lucky, lucky girl.

you have an apartment

just your size. a bathtub

full of tea. a heart the size

of Arizona, but not nearly

so arid. don’t wish away

your cracked past, your

crooked toes, your problems

are papier mache puppets

you made or bought because the vendor

at the market was so compelling you just

had to have them. you had to have him.

and you did. and now you pull down

the bridge between your houses,

you make him call before

he visits, you take a lover

for granted, you take

a lover who looks at you

like maybe you are magic. make

the first bottle you consume

in this place a relic. place it

on whatever altar you fashion

with a knife and five cranberries.

don’t lose too much weight.

stupid girls are always trying

to disappear as revenge. and you

are not stupid. you loved a man

with more hands than a parade

of beggars, and here you stand. heart

like a four poster bed. heart like a canvas.

heart leaking something so strong

they can smell it in the street.





Literary Movements:

Spoken Word

Anthology Years:


Love & Relationships

Literary Devices:


the absence of a conjunction (for, and, nor, but, or, yet, so…) between phrases and within a sentence


exaggerated statements or claims not meant to be taken literally


a comparison between two unrelated things through a shared characteristic


a comparison between two unlike things using the words “like” or “as”