Kevin McLellan

Kevin McLellan (Poetry) | Cambridge, MA

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Kevin McLellan is the author of: Tributary (Barrow Street); the chapbook Round Trip (Seven Kitchens), a collaborative series with numerous women poets; and the book arts project, [box] (Letter [r] Press). McLellan won the 2015 Third Coast Poetry Prize, and his poems have appeared in journals including: American Letters & Commentary, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Kenyon Review, West Branch, Western Humanities Review, Witness, and several others. Kevin lives in Cambridge MA.


Tributary, (Barrow Street, 2015 ). Poetry.

Chapbooks / Book Arts Projects

Press & Reviews

The poems of Kevin McLellan’s highly accomplished first collection are haunting and elliptical but never oblique or encoded. Lightning flashes of insight, memory, elegy, and stern self-reckonings illuminate the horizons of these poems, which are unsettling and ecstatic by turns. These are the poems of ‘polysemy without mask’ that Paul Celan strove to write, and Kevin McLellan is a poet of singular promise.
—David Wojahn

Writing with a matrix of loss, Tributary begins where language is most labile and finds manifest reasons for praise. Here is a blueprint of what I can only call the partiality of human experience, where time and perception offer moments, never totalities, of individual purpose for existing. If it is true ‘that a you doesn’t / exist, and one hundred / and two times over / faith is lost’ (“Hands: A Tribute”), it is equally true that these poems pay homage to the nature of that secondary state, where faith is as often found. Locating the tribute inside of Tributary, this book is an impressive debut, and Kevin McLellan might well be a Heraclitus for the twenty-first century.
—Claudia Keelan