Glass Factory

THE BOOK: Glass Factory


THE AUTHOR: Marilyn McCabe


SUMMARY: The poems explore loss and discovery, remembering and forgetting, and the accrual of identity through our experiences of the world.

THE BACK STORY: Glass Factory came together over several years, but came into focus in 2014 and early 2015 after I lost several friends to untimely deaths, including my little friend Myles who died in his childhood and my friend Nate who died in his late 50s. At that time also my otherwise active and healthy mother had a life-changing health event that revealed her decline into dementia had quickened and she could no longer live independently. Presence and absence, temporality, ephemerality, memory, the absence of memory all were uppermost in my consciousness even as I witnessed the cycle of seasons, the beauties of earth and of the human-made world. I found beauty even in destruction, even in loss.

12-10-07 005WHY THIS TITLE: I majored in anthropology with a special focus on archaeology, and had occasion to explore the history of a glass factory site in the Finger Lakes, and much later to come upon the remains of a glass factory elsewhere in upstate New York. Glass is a fascinating material, and as I began thinking about memory and identity, these experiences and interests cohered and became part of two different poems in this collection.

WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: My poems are, by and large, accessible; that is, you don’t need to ponder over them searching for clues and connections, or trying to draw lines of logic among seemingly random sets of words. They may not all appeal to every reader, but everyone will find something of resonance in at least one of the poems.


“There is so much astonishment in her syntax, in tonalities. I love how in each poem’s pulse– the heart is “driving its cargo, / a shipment that might itself ignite.”  —Ilya Kaminsky

“In a world in which all matter is destined for ruin, we find a speaker who again and again not only holds the elusive present in her fierce attention but also praises the very processes that, while ushering new fruit from the trees, erase all that has been, including the familiar self, which is at every moment already ‘turning, turning’ into something other.”  —Kathleen Graber

“With her spare, brave language, McCabe confronts how words fall apart and the sentence cannot hold, tussling with the slippages dividing thing from no thing, self from other, and self from no self. She pays constant homage to our glass-like nature—fragile, glittering, there and not-there—in a poetry of sparkle and transparency.”.—Jay Rogoff, author of Venera and The Art of Gravity

“For a poet so unflinchingly aware of how separate we are from the natural world, and from each other, it must seem an act of faith to make poems like these, poems that manage to act as remarkable testimony to how the grace of seeing connects us through particulars to the ineffable wisdom of the everyday world.”—James Harms

AUTHOR PROFILE: Marilyn McCabe’s new book of poems, Glass Factory, was published by The Word Works in Spring 2016. Her poem “On Hearing the Call to Prayer Over the Marcellus Shale on Easter Morning” was awarded A Room of Her Own Foundation’s Orlando Prize, fall 2012, and appeared in the Los Angeles Review. Her book of poetry Perpetual Motion was published by The Word Works in 2012 as the winner of the Hilary Tham Capitol Collection contest. A grant from the New York State Council on the Arts resulted in videopoem “At Freeman’s Farm,” which was published on The Continental Review and Motion Poems. She blogs about writing and reading at

 AUTHOR COMMENTS: I prepared a reader’s guide with some back story on individual poems, some inside jokes, some points of craft. You can find it here:


LOCAL OUTLETS: Your local bookstore can order it through Ingram.


– The Word Works,, or

– SPDBooks,, or

– directly from the author, or,

– inevitably, Amazon.

PRICE: $17


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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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