Spotlight: Marilyn McCabe

Hobart Festival of Women Writers welcomes  Marilyn McCabe to Festival 2019 as a Participating Writer.

Marilyn McCabe

Marilyn McCabe is a poet with a penchant for video-poems, an essayist, a fiction writer, and a singer of jazz and classical music. A Room of Her Own Foundation awarded her poem On Hearing the Call to Prayer Over the Marcellus Shale on Easter Morning the Orlando Prize in the autumn of 2012, and Los Angeles Review published it. Judge Gray Jacobik selected her poetry book Perpetual Motion for publication for the Hilary Tham Capital Collection by The Word Works in 2012. The same publisher went on to publish her second full-length collection of poems, Glass Factory, in 2016. She blogs at

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Festival 2019 is Marilyn McCabe’s first year conducting a workshop at the Hobart Festival of Women Writers. Her workshop “Write Now: Exercises and Play” will be two hours of creative play with short timed-writing exercises for any genre. For the full description of her workshop, visit Workshops Festival 2019.

Marilyn McCabe

Marilyn McCabe speaks with Hobart Festival’s Stephanie Nikolopoulos about her work

Stephanie Nikolopoulos
Stephanie Nikolopoulos

SN: How did doing a low residency MFA impact your writing, and would you recommend aspiring writers to look into creative writing MFAs?

MM: The best thing about my MFA experience was that I was exposed to the work of so many poets whose work I might not otherwise have encountered. That being said, that was quite an expensive reading list. Doing an MFA is a gamble: you might get what you want and need; you might not. There are so many resources for the autodidact: from excellent books of literary criticism to podcasts to writing workshops. I found Stephen Dobyns’s Best Words Best Order, for example, to be as useful in many ways as my MFA program—and I didn’t have to sleep in a dorm room.

SN: The New York State Council on the Arts Individual Artist grants funded your video-poem, At Freeman’s Farm which was included in the Spring Street Gallery’s “Gun Show” in Saratoga Springs. How does this hybrid form influence the way you think about your process and create?

MM: Using my poems as the starting point for videopoetry has deepened my interaction with my own work. It sounds like the ultimate in solipsism, but creating the layers of a videopoem allows me to question the text, build on it, refute it, sing it, take it in directions I might not have realized were possibilities when I wrote the piece to begin with. It’s a voyage of discovery every time.

SN: You’ve co-written three chapbooks on the Adirondacks. Why is place, and specifically the Adirondacks, important to you as a poet?

MM: I’ve lived just south of the Adirondacks for over 40 years and feel an affinity with this landscape that I find mysterious and interesting. It’s both wholly other and a mirror. Even if I’m not writing specifically about the Adirondacks, the nature reflected in so much of my poetry is invariably this kind of nature: dark pines, rushing streams, a bumpy horizon designed by departing glaciers and old tectonic shrugs. I’m interested in the connection between human beings and our physical environment, and keep exploring it in my work in all kinds of ways.

 REGISTRATION  For Hobart Festival of Women Writers 2019. is open.

Come help us celebrate Women Writers for the seventh consecutive year!

Follow Marilyn McCabe‘s work at

For more on Stephanie Nikolopoulos, go to Stephanie

Rack Card LINEUP MINI - 2019 (457 x 600)


All HBVFWW information at Hobart Festival of Women

For Spotlights of all of our Participating Writers, Hobart Festival of Women

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