Frances McCue

Site Moved to
March 11, 2015, 11:10 am
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See you over there!


Nica Horovitz and Richard Hugo
July 16, 2014, 8:25 am
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I want poetry to catch on like an infection, only not an infection, maybe like a good beer that keeps turning up in different places. On tap. Fresh. Cold. Made in small batches brought in small carts to far-flung towns.

I traveled for a long time searching for Richard Hugo’s places and poems. I took pictures and tried to pin his poems to particular places.

Meet Nica, who does this whole thing remarkably well:






When Seamus Heaney Came To Hugo House

I wrote this on the day that Seamus Heaney died…

Seamus Heaney came to Richard Hugo House on February 4, 1999. He was in town for readings at Open Books, Elliott Bay and at the University. He was on a big tour after winning the Nobel Prize and I think he was also celebrating OPENED GROUND, his selected poems from 1966-96. Suddenly, there he was, the Nobel Laureate, the greatest  English language poet since Yeats, standing in our fledgling place, a nonprofit with more imagination than actual institution, more plans than functional space. Stuff was hanging out of the walls; the upstairs bathrooms were being put in and we were trying to get it all going. I think we had five or six classes that year and the place smelled of caulking and dry wall mud. Continue reading

NaPoWriMo #30
April 30, 2013, 10:58 pm
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What Was Here Before

What of the false history, the mucky-shack torn
Away for the crimped sheetrock, uptown fountain?
I know better than to mourn the gone-by and instead
To find love in the layers of build-over. How I love
The way the trees grew into the hill, how the elm
Rotted and became the peat for saplings.

Gated communities, slapped up, flim-flam mansions,
pushed upon communities where the potlatch
once simmered—cheapened now with
real estate deals, names of the wrong things—
Manor Estates and Squaw Ridge: I despise you.

When I was nineteen, that summer,
I drove a little Honda through a tunnel
Into downtown Chicago. Onto the roof,
I’d strapped my grandmother’s old recliner chair:
Olive green, metal poking through the footrest.
I suppose nothing came from the trouble.
There were a lot of things I carried then.
I carried all of them, for everyone.

NaPoWriMo #29
April 29, 2013, 10:08 pm
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Two Ways of Grief


Once, I would not wear the shirt
Because it was my husband’s
I would not wear the socks
I would not wear the hat or garden gloves
I would not push the wheelbarrow
I would not take the trash to the curb
I would not lift that book
Or see what was beneath the stack
In the living room I would not
Because these things belonged to my husband


Later, my friend says, “There are two ways
to live–either in love or fear.
If you are living in fear, you are not loving.”
“I’m not afraid of anything,” I said.
“I know,” She said. “How is it to be in love all the time?”
“Oh, the pain of it,” I said. I looked over the cliff.
Someday I will fall and that’s okay.

My voice is not the center
Of all that I am saying. Outside, rain blackens
Pavement and the azaleas
sparkle, purple and salmon.
Far away, two men sit against a wall
And share a pipe. A boy on an island
Tethers a boat to a piling.
How could I ever be afraid?

NaPoWriMo #28
April 29, 2013, 8:27 am
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Ad Hoc Confabulating

I give you, ladies and gentlemen,
BIG DATA.  Facty fact, factoids.
Tell stories from that, then.
Tell stories from that.
Two thousand one hundred and sixty-three
People live in my neighborhood.
Twenty-two believe in aliens.
Three dogs are strays.
You can make a story–
You really can.

NaPoWriMo #27
April 27, 2013, 10:39 pm
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Two Scenes


We go to the movies.
The car, The shoes,
The lipstick, the keys, the jacket,
The diet coke, the popcorn, the Kleenex.
Previews, subtitles, credits.


At home, Ida wants the ball.
She chases it under the chair.
Prickly ball. Squishy ball, tennis ball.
Round and round, she chews
And sits, paws over it.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.