Tag Archives: National Park College


These past two weeks, I’ve had the honor of reading at two community colleges. National Park College is in the Ouachitas, and Arkansas State University-Mountain Home is in the Ozarks–two mountain ranges, both in the state that’s now my home. When I visited Arkansas as a kid looking at colleges, I felt drawn here. The fun, kind people at these two campuses in such beautiful places remind me why I stayed.

Now I will have a lull in book events as my attention turns to the Arkansas Community College annual conference. This year’s theme, Mission Possible.

Meanwhile, to tempt you to pick up a copy of Underwater Panther, I’m sharing links to five poems in the book from the places where they were first published. And with the first poem listed, I’ll tell you a story.

Amy Baldwin and I used to teach at a community college together. Near the end of her World Lit class, her students analyzed recently published poems based on the characteristics of the different periods of literature. What in this poem demonstrates Romanticism? Realism? etc. Great assignment.

The poem that she used of mine was “Inheriting Pressure,” first published in Crab Orchard Review. When I got the comments back from Amy’s class with subsequent discussion, it was like I was seeing the poem for the first time. Suddenly this poem set the entire pattern for the book that followed.

I was born and raised in southern Illinois. I live in Arkansas now. But it doesn’t matter where you come from. This poem and the book that developed from it are about what we inherit from a place without even knowing.

“Inheriting Pressure” at Crab Orchard Review
 “Sparta” at Dos Passos Review
“North of Sparta” at Dos Passos Review
“Unweaved” at The Boiler
“Lines and Glass Insulators” at Central Arkansas Broadside Project


It’s time to launch the book!

My father always said, if you feel nervous, it just means that you care. Tomorrow marks the first book launch I’ve ever had. Many thanks go to National Park College, in particular the library there, for hosting this event. NPC has been so kind to my family and me as we moved from Little Rock to Hot Springs. Good people are doing good work at NPC, and I’m looking forward to spending time with them tomorrow.

NPC reading Macri

I’ll be reading and discussing poems from Underwater Panther. This book wouldn’t exist without the dedication of Susan Swartwout and Southeast Missouri State University Press. My book was the first to win SEMO’s new Cowles Poetry Book Prize, and I don’t take that lightly. 

When NPC interviewed me about the event, I tried to explain what might tempt people to come to hear these poems. You can read the full article here, but they got a good quote from me that I’d like to end with by sharing:

“This is a book about how place relates to identity. It’s important to me because it deals with where I was born and raised, but it applies to us all because we all must face questions of origin and community and how the past connects to the future.”