Leslie McGrath’s interviews with poets appear regularly in The Writer’s Chronicle. Winner of the 2004 Pablo Neruda Prize for poetry, she is the author of Opulent Hunger, Opulent Rage (2009), a poetry collection, and two chapbooks: Toward Anguish (2007) and By the Windpipe (2014.) Her poems have appeared in The Awl, Agni, The Common, Slate, and elsewhere. She teaches creative writing and literature at Central Connecticut State University, and is series editor of The Tenth Gate, a new poetry imprint of The Word Works press.
Out From the Pleiades
by Leslie McGrath
Fiber art by Rachel May
“a rollicking, raucous, new myth”
ABOUT THE BOOK
The narrative of Mina’s coming of age is in tension with a cultural satire of the political left. Out From the Pleiades examines the question as to what kind of family culture might contribute to someone becoming a bully.
“Leslie McGrath’s Out from the Pleiades is a hybrid gem, a novella in verse that works utterly both as lyric poetry and as story. The life of protagonist Mina Kali, born to the Seven Sisters—a commune of ‘radical warrior women’—unfolds with an epic sweep, from the moment Mina “raged forth from the dark red dark’ to her final love and loss. Out From the Pleiades is a rollicking, raucous, new myth, a classic with its head in Aristophanes and its satiric heart in the 1960s. You will read these poems aloud, laughing, and then find them sneakily haunting you.”
“Out From the Pleiades is a revealing character study, the story of ‘Mina,’ a bully bred from the excesses of liberal culture. It’s a testament to the book’s complex vision that we both condemn and ultimately empathize with Mina as she makes her way through the world. It’s a master class in the psychology of intimidation, marked by McGrath’s signature wit, compassion and insight.”
“Out From the Pleiades is a rich romp, chockfull of feel-good details and enough unanswered questions to make anyone secure in their moral center come, a tiny bit, undone. Ride in Mina’s ‘yolk-colored Subaru’ as she toes the surfaces of high school, passing through the stoic suicide of “Ginger,” until our war protestor comes full circle to the uncharted depths of ‘Yes’ in soldier Violet’s golden eyes – and discovers the harsher power of love’s undoing.’Why didn’t I get a Barbie Dreamhouse for Christmas?’ So asks Mina immediately after wondering if she’s a racist because she’s white too. Priorities, place and position move our hero from well-meaning child to disconcerted bully, borne by a fear of impotence in the world as she tests her own privileged, small power over others.”