Timber Curtain occupies a space between ramshackle and remodel. It starts with the demolition of a house--Richard Hugo House, the Seattle literary center where Frances McCue worked, lived, and mourned her husband. From there, McCue's poems spiral out to encompass icebergs, exorcisms, the refugee crisis, and the ethics of the place-myths we create for ourselves. The speaker is plainspoken, oracular, wry, indicting, and hopeful. Like the Seattle skyline, poems erase and recombine into a landscape forever saturated with ghosts. Several poems will be central in McCue's upcoming (2018) documentary Where the House Was.
From "The Wind Up"
The city erasing itself and the building
where I find you, if I could find you,
comes into focus, then out. I'm pointing
to the site where you worked, the once-was
place. In that gesture, a person could
feel local. I could stand outside that shop
and look up to where we loved each other.
Frances McCue is a poet, writer, teacher, and arts instigator. From 1996-2006, she was the founding director of Richard Hugo House in Seattle and is currently a Senior Lecturer at the University of Washington. She has published four books, two of which have been finalists for the Washington State Book Award in History/General Nonfiction, and another of which won the 2011 Washington State Book Award in Poetry. Currently, McCue is producing Where the House Was, a documentary film about the demolition of the Richard Hugo House building in Seattle.