Finally, a sunny day here in London! To celebrate, we welcome a rising star of American poetry, Meghan O'Rourke, pictured. O'Rourke, born in Brooklyn, began her career as one of the youngest editors in the history of The New Yorker. Since then, she has served as culture editor and literary critic for Slate as well as poetry editor and advisory editor for The Paris Review. Her essays, criticism, and poems have appeared in all the best places for such things to appear, such as The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, Poetry, The Kenyon Review, and Best American Poetry. O’Rourke is also the author of the poetry collections Once (2011) and Halflife (2007). Halflife was nominated for the UK's own Forward First Book Prize. A graduate of Yale University, she has taught at Princeton, The New School, and New York University. Her latest book is the memoir The Long Goodbye. If you have yet to read her work, now is the time! Summer reading season began this week.
Grew up on the Jersey Shore in the 1970s.
Always making margaritas in the kitchen,
always laughing and doing their hair up pretty,
sharing lipstick and shoes and new juice diets;
always splitting the bills to the last penny,
stealing each other’s clothes,
loving one another then turning and complaining
as soon as they walked out the door. Each one with her doe eyes,
each one younger than the last,
each older the next year, one year
further from their girlhoods of swimming
at Sandy Hook, doing jackknives off the diving board
after school, all of them
being loved by one boy and then another,
all driving further from the local fair, further from Atlantic City.
They used to smoke in their cars,
rolling the windows down and letting their red nails
hang out, little stop lights:
Stop now, before the green
comes to cover your long brown bodies.
poem by Meghan O'Rourke; reprinted with permission of the author