Biography of Meghan O'Rourke
Meghan O'Rourke (born 1976 in Brooklyn, New York) is an American poet and critic.
O'Rourke was formerly a fiction editor at The New Yorker and from 2005-2010 was poetry co-editor at The Paris Review. She is also an occasional contributor to The New York Times. O'Rourke has written on a wide and eclectic range of topics, including horse racing, gender bias in the literary world, the politics of marriage and divorce, and the place of grief and mourning in modern society. She has published poems in literary journals and magazines including The New Yorker, Best American Poetry, The New Republic, and Poetry. Her first book of poems, Halflife, was published by Norton in 2007. O'Rourke's book, The Long Goodbye, a memoir of grief and mourning written after the death of her mother, was published to wide critical acclaim in April 2011. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. O'Rourke suffers from an autoimmune disorder which she has written about for The New Yorker.
Meghan O'Rourke Poems
Even now I can't grasp "nothing" or "never." They're unholdable, unglobable, no map to nothing.
Stone by stone, body by body in the grass: For this we trade our lone compass,
Grew up on the Jersey Shore in the 1970s. Always making margaritas in the kitchen, always laughing and doing their hair up pretty,
Inventing a Horse
Inventing a horse is not easy. One must not only think of the horse. One must dig fence posts around him.
My Life as a Subject
Because I was born in a kingdom, there was a king. At times the king was a despot; at other times,
Persophone In The Golden State
The difference between fear and terror is hard to understand. The winter was coming. I knew this, and hoped it might not affect me. In many ways, it didn't. Snow came down in the California mountains. I went to my exercise classes, avoided the cameras at stop-lights. In the park my dog slipped her collar and hid among the banana palms. She was afraid of something I couldn't see. The difference between fear and terror: something to do with the irrational. In those months of winter sun, a sun much stronger than I was used to, I was alone, more peaceful than I had ever been. I walked among the hills, letting the sun settle on my skin like detergent. The houses were still underwater. The ex-police officer, who had gone mad after being fired, slipped the dragnet. All week the helicopters roam above us, machine skies, sniper sights. Around me people stay inside, never hang the laundry on the line, will not send their children out to play in the yards. On the street, a man with a gun is approaching a woman's home - I hear it on the radio as it is happening.
You look up from a mind of men chasing a whale through an ocean of type: summer, an ambulance stopped by a VW station wagon, a couple slumped beside it. It is silent here, with stars, and all the old pure things that watched over us. It would take so much money to furnish my house, to be free and clear and somehow small, yet modern. Some weeks I barely leave, despite all there is to see. On the couch I eat a scone: too sweet and cheap. Large animals swish in the grasses. The planes disappear into the dark velvet ocean. Once, I went to the top of a mountain to find myself. It was cold and beautiful, the firs fringed. Later I came down. As a child I studied the Bermuda Triangle, where planes disappeared. The commenters were arguing about authenticity. It was probably a hoax, all that talk of secret magnets. Are you watching me? The savannah is dark and large and pure of, I mean never beyond itself, the way we are in cities. On the radio, a woman enunciating carefully, says, air power not air force. I watch myself watching; I clean the dirt from my fingernails. When you are young you think regalia, you think glowworm, firefly, mountaintop, you watch and for once you see. An incidental resemblance, a person you might have been. Time for the sun-screen, time to go out. What disturbs me, honestly, is how much my own mind (the person who once climbed the mountain with another person) I don't speak to anymore and almost cannot imagine.
Grew up on the Jersey Shore in the 1970s. Always making margaritas in the kitchen, always laughing and doing their hair up pretty, sharing lipstick and shoes and new juice diets; always splitting the bills to the last penny, stealing each other's clothes, loving one another then turning and complaining as soon as they walked out the door. Each one with her doe eyes, each one younger than the last, each older the next year, one year further from their girlhoods of swimming at Sandy Hook, doing jackknives off the diving board after school, all of them being loved by one boy and then another, all driving further from the local fair, further from Atlantic City. They used to smoke in their cars, rolling the windows down and letting their red nails hang out, little stop lights: Stop now, before the green comes to cover your long brown bodies.
Poem of Regret for an Old Friend
What you did wasn't so bad. You stood in a small room, waiting for the sun. At least you told yourself that. I know it was small, but there was something, a kind of pulped lemon, at the low edge of the sky. No, you're right, it was terrible. Terrible to live without love in small rooms with vinyl blinds listening to music secretly, the secret music of one's head which can't be shared. A dream is the only way to breathe. But you must find a more useful way to live. I suppose you're right this was a failure: to stand there so still, waiting for—what? When I think about this life, the life you led, I think of England, of secret gardens that never open, and novels sliding off the bed at night where the small handkerchief of darkness settles over one's face.
Ophelia to the Court
My shoes are unpolished, my words smudged. I come to you undressed (the lord, he whispers Smut; that man, he whispers such). I bend
Demeter in Paris
You can only miss someone when they are present to you. The Isle of the Dead is both dark and light.
We had a drink and got in bed. That's when the boat in my mouth set sail, my fingers drifting in the shallows of your buzz cut.
The Night Where You No Longer Live
Was it like lifting a veil And was the grass treacherous, the green grass
Sun In Days
I tried to live that way for a while, among the trees, the green breeze, chewing Bubblicious and by the edge of the pool spitting it out.
Inventing a Horse
Inventing a horse is not easy.
One must not only think of the horse.
One must dig fence posts around him.
One must include a place where horses like to live;
or do when they live with humans like you.
Slowly, you must walk him in the cold;
feed him bran mash, apples;
accustom him to the harness;