The Marie Alexander Series is dedicated to promoting the appreciation and enjoyment of prose poetry.

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Whatever Shines

Whatever Shines

Whatever Shines: Prose Poems

by Kathleen McGookey

At first, you don’t turn the antique coin, don’t feel the chip in the crystal, the dented armor, you just coo in admiration. You simply close your hand around whatever shines...

About the Author

Kathleen McGookey earned degrees from Hope College and Western Michigan University, and has taught at those institutions as well as at Interlochen Center for the Arts. Her poems, prose poems, and translations have appeared in over forty journals and ten anthologies including The Antioch Review, Beloved on the Earth: 150 Poems of Grief and Gratitude, Boston Review, Denver Quarterly, Epoch, Field, Indiana Review, The Laurel Review, PP/FF: An Anthology, Ploughshares, The Prose Poem: An International Journal, Quarterly West, Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Prose Poetry, Seneca Review, Sudden Stories: A Mammoth Anthology of Miniscule Fiction, West Branch, and Willow Springs. She has translated French writer Georges Godeau's prose poems; her translation of his book We'll See (On Verra Bien) is forthcoming from Parlor Press in the fall of 2011. She lives in Middleville, Michigan with her husband and her two young children.



Whatever Shines is an admirable and dazzling first collection. The voice is indisputably unique and haunting, and one looks forward to anything the poet writes in the future.
— Jim Harrison
The writing of Kathleen McGookey shines more brightly than most fine things we feel pleasure to read. Celebrate it!
— Naomi Shihab Nye
A collection of poetry that, by dismantling romantic preconceptions, examines our daily need to believe in fate… it is through [McGookey’s] attention to detail and her powers of self-examination that she is able to peel away the false layers, the pretty layers, to examine their interior workings… It is this conflict between ideal and real worlds that makes McGookey’s collection so intellectually and emotionally complex.
Third Coast
These poems know no bounds; they are musical, leaping, magical. With a finely crafted language of subtlety, with many shadings, a feel for syntax, and keen attention given to the ear, McGookey invokes a dozen different kinds of pleasure… McGookey is a fresh voice, an innovative and daring poet who is worth our attention. …Whatever Shines is a strong first book, and a pleasure.
— Louis McKee, American Book Review
…the poet has done something right with Whatever Shines. …the lyric impulse in the personal ‘I,’ contrasted with a vast array of strikingly vivid imagery that pushes against the past, the present and the future, creates exciting ways to enter new complexities regarding memory and reality.
Denver Quarterly
McGookey’s volume distinguishes itself with an elegant mix of stanzaic and prose poems…
Whether writing in prose or verse, McGookey manages a sensitivity and energy that encloses the reader in the clear light of what is being said…
Whatever Shines lifts us to the valuable space of contemplating a way to live, and upon landing, we find it has equipped us with the strength to embrace the consequences.
Cimarron Review
…like all good poems, McGookey’s set up expectations that are fulfilled in unexpected ways.

Release DateNovember 2001




Dimensions5.9 x 0.3 x 8.9 inches

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