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JoAnne McFarland

Years: 2006


JoAnne McFarland is a painter and poet working in the Gowanus section of Brooklyn. Her latest poetry collection Acid Rain received Honorable Mention in the inaugural Northwestern University Press Cave Canem Second Book Award. Her manuscript Watermarks was chosen as Finalist by Cornelius Eady in the 2002 AWP Award Series. Several of her publications have been designed and published in
limited editions by Gold Leaf Books, an independent press she founded in 2004.

As an artist McFarland has shown widely and has pieces in the permanent collections of the Library of Congress, the Department of State, the Columbus Museum of Art, among others. She is a member of A.I.R. Gallery, the first not–for–profit gallery for women artists in the U.S.


In her recent artwork and poetry McFarland focuses on ideas of creative independence and the complex and too often trivialized erotic lives of women.


Burial GroundsStoneIn a valley a woman unearths a 40,000 year old bead.She palpates the pitted surface with her fingers, squinting through its tiny hole.The world before her — blue, green — gold.Beneath her feet, the compact gritty matterupon which an ancient people gathered.Long ago, in the legendless universe before this bead,danger was more magnificent than art.She pauses, looks toward the horizon, then squatsto search for the tool that formed the opening.AshSometimes she finds a leg bone;sometimes part of a pelvis;sometimes an entire torso, every rib preserved.The draw to ruin is strong in her.She loves parts — stories.She unearths a skull, holds it high.Within her, breath expands,and the cavities of the eyes fill.GlassMultitudes stream across borders. Through an open window, ripples of angerare like the skin of an onion, easily ignored,hardly worth the trouble of crushing.She whispers in my ear — earth is the only anchorHalfway around the globe, a storm, masturbating to its own incantation, pulls into it — wood, stone, steel — skin, bone, hair.