• Robin Martin
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Smart Girls II: The Ambition Game, a Thursday panel at AWP 2010, included “Thirteen Short Meditations on the Word Smart,”  read by Karen McElmurray, author of Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven.

Bits of these meditations have stuck with me:

“…words igniting in me like crenoline on fire.”

“Take your life in your teeth and run with it, scattering all the pages you’ve written behind you.”

So, after this, I looked her up. Like Dorothy Allison, who I was disappointed not to find on that panel, McElmurray has emerged from a past cluttered with bits of terror and sadness and come to reside in a world of words where she can live alongside the terror and sadness and maybe own it a bit.

Karen McElmurray is Assistant Professor of English at Georgia College and State University. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and published in The Kenyon ReviewThe Alaska Quarterly Review, and other journals. Her books are Strange Birds in the Tree of Heaven (a novel) and Surrendered Child: A Birth Mother’s Journey, which won the Associated Writing Programs Award for Creative Nonfiction.

Check out this piece from The Southeast Review.

Thanks for the inspirational words, Dr. McElmurray.

Author: Robin Martin

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