Contributor Spotlight: Autumn McClintock

The poems “New Barn,” “Home,” and “Snow/Whose Child” by Autumn McClintock appeared in Issue 17 and can be read here.

We’d love to hear a little more about this set of poetry.

“New Barn” and “Home” are part of a series I wrote to acknowledge the separation process from the house I grew up in, which my father owned for 30 years and sold somewhat recently. The protestant/Christian experience was an integral part of the conversation, meditation, and tensions that our family brought to that place, hence the epigraphs. Snow/Whose Child, also set within that environment, pushes memory around on a plate like leftovers. The three questions that make up the last half of the poem don’t end with the proper punctuation because profound loss leads us through a re-run of questions and memories until they take on a dynamic different from “why?” They become statements fundamental to our understanding.   

What was the most difficult part of writing these pieces?

I’m not interested in straightforward confession in poems. I’d like the mood and imagery to take the place of storytelling, even when (or especially when) the narrative is “true.” Striking a balance between confession and mood was particularly challenging here. I’m still not sure I’ve succeeded.  

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

My favorite poetry read of 2017 was Allison Benes White’s Please Bury Me In This, perhaps for some of the points mentioned in the above question. She is able to render a massive amount of emotion without marching us through a series of events. It is deft and very beautiful.

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?

I love many writers, I really do, but I have a hard time obsessing over people I don’t know. I’m fortunate to have a swath of fantastic people in my life, including some fab poets, and I think I’d just as soon drink with them. This is my introversion talking.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

Ooh! I just put together a new chapbook (which would be my second) that I’m sending out into the world  now, and starting shortly, I’ll be writing every day for a month (a feat for me) in order to build up the stock for what I’d like to be my first full-length collection. It finally has a shape in my imagination, and I’m itching to make it real.

Our thanks to Autumn for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read McCintock’s poems “New Barn,” “Home,” and “Snow/Whose Child” here:


Autumn McClintock lives in Philadelphia, works at the public library, and serves on the city’s Poet Laureate Selection Committee. Her first chapbook, After the Creek, was published in 2016. Poems of hers have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry Daily, Green Mountains Review, Atlanta Review, Drunken Boat, Spoon River Poetry Review, and others. She is a staff reader for Ploughshares.