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Meet our May Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Janet MacFadyen

Highlighted by Slate Roof Press

Janet MacFadyen is the author of three books of poetry, most recently In the Provincelands (Slate Roof Press, 2012), along with a book-length poem based and published in Newfoundland: A Newfoundland Journal (Killick Press, 2009). Her work has been nominated for a Pushcart and has appeared widely, including in Poetry, The Atlantic, The Southern Poetry Review, The Atlanta Review, Mead, Sweet, Rosebud, and Malahat. Janet has held a seven-month residential fellowship at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, as well as writing residencies at Cill Rialaig (County Kerry, Ireland), and at the Fowler and C-Scape dune shacks in Provincetown.
Poetic Profession "Poetry is a restorative function for me, how I begin and end each day; I associate it with sleep, dreaming, travel, and evolving. Often I'm trying to process something I experienced years ago, some landscape I never understood, either interior or exterior. I like my poems to be journeys, and if the journey is through a surreal or archetypal landscape, I like to look around and try to learn from it. And then I have other poems that are simply visceral; they start in the ground and end in the kitchen, and usually involve root vegetables." -Janet MacFadyen


                                 I took
a carrot with two long roots, rounded,
even sumptuous if you looked close up,
tapering into slender legs. It had a tight
pert butt, nice crease where the cheeks
met top of the thighs, then a stomach
topped short by a bush of stiff brown hair.
Paring knife in hand, I was ready
to saw that fetch in half, stared at the
abdomen and stopped, put the idea back
in the fridge, dreamed of dying,
dreamed of creamed corn and having
another ear, heard the abruptly silenced shriek
of who knows what from the wood, saw
those yellow eyes take a bead on me.
            And then I knew
there was no way out, the body
is served up at the dinner table. So the next
night I took a butcher’s knife and prayed,
freed an orange foot from its orange
ankle, ankle from calf, calf from knee, knee
from thigh, came up short where the torso
met the leg, closed my eyes and in one
firm stroke parted the lower stomach from
the crotch, which I pitched to the waiting
she-bitch on the floor who swallowed it whole,
unblinking, and wanted more.

In the Provincelands (Slate Roof Press 2012)

Now in our 11th year, Slate Roof Press is a member-run, not-for-profit, grassroots poetry collaborative originally founded to serve western Massachusetts poets who were outside of established venues. Since then we have expanded to include the entire state as well as neighboring regions. We publish hand-sewn, limited-edition, art-quality chapbooks with letterpress covers and featuring the artwork of local artists. Members participate in all aspects of publishing, including selection, editing, book design, production, marketing, and distribution; each poet works closely with master printer Ed Rayher of Swamp Press on design, typography, paper, and binding for his or her book. We now also sponsor a yearly chapbook contest.

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each month we shine the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, one of our poetry partners.
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