Rebecca McClanahan

Rebecca McClanahan

Rebecca McClanahan has published ten books of nonfiction, poetry, and writing instruction. Recipient of the Wood Prize from Poetry Magazine, a Pushcart Prize, and the Glasgow Award for nonfiction, McClanahan teaches in the MFA programs of Queens University–Charlotte and Ranier Writing Workshop. She was the 2015 writer in residence at Hollins University. 


Nov/Dec 2020

Excerpts from

By Rebecca McClanahan

On Eighth Avenue, a young man stumbles toward me, something dark and feathered bundled in his arms. He looks up — red eyes, distillery breath: “You know anything about pigeons?” “No,” I […]

Women’s Hour, YMCA

By Rebecca McClanahan

Early morning three times a week we gather at the shallow end, young and old and not-quite-old, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Noreen and Vivian and True Love (yes that’s her true name, you can’t make this stuff up) and the ones I rename in my mind: Little Engine, Beauty, Lioness, Bright.


By Rebecca McClanahan

Even now, two months dead, you get more mail than I do. Last week, a Christmas card from an old Marine buddy who hasn’t heard from you in a while, […]

Spring 1992


By Rebecca McClanahan

He is not dying. If he were, they would not be in this mess. Doris pulls the pillow over her head. “I’m dying! Help me. Somebody!” She is the only […]

Winter 1996

This Side

By Rebecca McClanahan

for Melanie   Early on, your passion was The Nude, your paintings a delight of flesh gone to flesh, the sag and droop of gravity seducing our bodies back to […]

Mar/Apr 2018


By Rebecca McClanahan

And it came to pass, in a small kingdom of walker and cane and bedside commode, that a certain daughter found herself kneeling before her father. She had arrived from […]

Summer 1998


By Rebecca McClanahan

The old man having lost so much and moving each day closer to the first infancy stirs on the couch where I have propped his body and spirit, mind having […]

Summer 2012

Ginkgo Song

By Rebecca McClanahan

A one-legged man could make a killing on this street, a left-footed man, anyway, who wears a standard size. He could pluck that suede loafer, the two-tone saddle or dress […]

May/June 2016

Tears, Silence, Song

By Rebecca McClanahan

There are three aspects of mourning: with tears, that is the lowest; with silence, that is higher; with a song, that is the highest.     —Hasidic saying September 11, 2001 What […]