"McLarney has been a gifted storyteller since her first book...but I dare say that she’s getting even better, more hypnotic. She’s one of our finest poets of the wild...A gorgeous book.
"Elegant...Readers will revel in the work’s undeniable beauty and smarts."
“I think, for now anyway, the momentum of southern poetry is with female poets: Ellen Bryant Voigt, Natasha Trethewey, the late Claudia Emerson, and now, perhaps, Rose McLarney.”
"The stern, stoic persona and voice she crafts is so tragically appealing, we want to keep getting stomach-punched…In these moments, McLarney’s grim lyricism keeps us rapt, agog, and sometimes frightened. She writes uncompromising, honest poems that sound like no one else…"
"Ultimately, what is foraged is faith in words, in their capacity for serving as glimmers amid existential darkness, as charms against loss, disappointment, annihilation."
"...to observe the world before you so as to discover a sweetness and a necessity you might otherwise overlook—is at the core of McLarney’s ecopoetic project in Forage...To read through Forage is to experience an interconnected poetry collection about interconnectivity."
"One of the finest mythmakers in contemporary Appalachian letters is Rose McLarney."
“McLarney is an Appalachian Robert Frost. “
The Iowa Review
"Solemnity in poetry requires caution: nothing is worse than verse dripping with self-significance. McLarney, thankfully, is exactly the poet to handle such material… McLarney’s poems are such gifts."
"...the poet finds ways to sing of what’s left or broken or only in parts."
The Los Angeles Review
"McLarney’s eye and ear are dead-on. The result is a stubbornly-rooted first collection of impressive insight and craft."
The Los Angeles Review: "An Aesthetics of Earliness"
"The Always Broken Plates of Mountains is a book where time is slow, and this slow time is also a deeply social as well as a psychic time…McLarney plumbs the depths."
"Skillfully embedded with figurative language, McLarney’s work rewards close reading…Intense and unsentimental, these carefully wrought poems show both sophistication and economy."
"Her lines are steeped in memory, loss, love, and the immediate textures of her natural environment."
"The poems in Its Day Being Gone are devoted to emotional, physical, and historical connection with the land and with others, past and present. In these links, this rootedness, is where we find our hope."
Hayden’s Ferry Review
"These poems seem to have emerged almost organically from the land from which they’ve been wrought…the poet speaks with a voice as urgent and clear as a mountain spring."
The Smoky Mountain News
"Her work poems have the pith, the profundity, the probing of Berry’s, and yet she is very much her own muse, making a new poetry..."
New England Review
The Adroit Journal
Appalachian State University News
American Literary Review
A Poetry Congeries with John Hoppenthaler
Mountain Talk (audio)
Praise for Forage
“In Forage, Rose McLarney speaks to the interiority that hums inside us as we engage the natural world, which ‘speaks of us,’ as we ‘praise parks, what’s left of wilderness, and the literature of the diaspora.’ It’s all here, and it’s all alive with every line -- these poems stun me with their keen eye and their honest telling of what they view. It’s refreshing to find this much courage on the page, at a time when we need it the most.” -Van Jordan
“Forage is indeed a book about gleaning nourishment from the bizarrely precarious world we have made. McLarney knows deeply what Levertov called “the animal presence” and how the gravity of their fate informs our psychic life. These poems in their gorgeous imagistic clarity deepen the story of life and ask of us, as the poet asks of herself, “to whom/ have I made reverence truly known?” And what does the poet revere? The word, the wounded land, the wile of the wild, the shade of trees. An earthly constellation.” -Alison Hawthorne Deming
“McLarney’s book is a call to prayer—or to arms—making itself a guardian of the diminishing natural world, in poems of fierce, edgy charm, of despair and forgetting. Beauty, that lives here too." -Marianne Boruch
“Reckoning with the most pressing questions regarding abundance and waste, the human capacity for love and corruption, and the raw possibilities of our future, McLarney asks, Must the answer be only the variety / of grief? Given the lateness of things, perhaps so. On the other hand, the work in Forage is also the work of refusal, bringing fierce lament and complex song to the direness of our present.” -Rick Barot
Praise for Its Day Being Gone
“A beautiful book, and a haunting one too. McLarney makes things matter. Her poems make you feel very deeply connected – under the skin, in the bone – and therefore more acutely alive.” -Robert Wrigley
“It’s easy to say that McLarney loves the land and the people who live close to it, and though that’s true, her intelligence and feelings are also always subject to reappraisal in the light of her own constantly questioning and enlarging vision. Her important poems sing not just with the “the somber percussion/of feed in buckets,” but also with the lyric wisdom of the best poetry.” -Andrew Hudgins
“In poems that are often both celebration and lament, McLarney speaks with an elemental alertness, with sharp-edged perception of the contemporary as well as the folkloric.” -Robert Morgan
Praise for The Always Broken Plates of Mountains
Rose McLarney’s poems are work of the first order. Unsentimental, empathic, informed by her unerring eye and ear, they are rooted in a specific quarter of the earth and speak to the complexities of fidelity, devotion, desire, and the force of time. But most impressive is the way McLarney unfailingly unearths the embedded metaphor and imaginative life of the quotidian. Blood and feathers exceed the actual seamlessly, giving her poems both lift and weight. The Always Broken Plates of Mountains stands as beautiful testimony to the power of time and place and language. -Jane Brox
The Always Broken Plates of Mountains is not a book about a way of life; it’s a book about life beyond a single lifetime, the whole, continuous life of one place and the generations of human fidelity to it. Pinched with grief, then soothed with beauty, Rose McLarney’s poems sway back and forth like a treetop in the breeze. Above all, McLarney observes a world charged with the magic of slowness, a phrase that pulses with the truth. This is a moving and carefully wrought book. -Maurice Manning
Photo by Ginger Legato