Alaskan Adventure Inspires Poetry Collection
“Related To Loon” recounts a career teaching Yup’ik children in Alaska, is set to hit bookstores in July
When Jackie McManus was offered a job teaching Yup’ik children in southwestern Alaska in a village of about 400 people, she packed up her 4-year-old daughter, eager to embark on an adventure. She did not know it yet, but her experience would soon inspire her recently published poetry collection, Related To Loon.
After returning to her home state, McManus was equally marveled and haunted by her memories as an educator. She began working on a novel, but found herself unable to continue writing prose. “Being a poet, the writing inspired itself,” McManus said.
It's a way for me to honor my wisconsin roots.
There is an inclusiveness in the writing community in the Chippewa Valley that I haven't felt anywhere else.
The poet classified her creative writing process as messy. “I have lines and arrows all over a handwritten page, which means I am spilling my thoughts first and organizing them – haphazardly – later,” she said. The former educator said if she is ever stuck, she’ll read, as “reading almost instantly activates the poet in me.”
Now hard at work on her next chapbook, McManus has begun to hone in on the revision process. “Writing is hard,” McManus added. “Every word does matter, even the little article ‘a.’ It can change the tone of the line, the rhythm.”
Originally from the Chippewa Valley, McManus now resides in the state of Washington, though her love for the cheese state runs deep. McManus said she felt she owed it to her community to give back through her writing.
“It’s a way for me to honor my Wisconsin roots,” she said. “There is an inclusiveness in the writing community in the Chippewa Valley that I haven’t felt anywhere else.” McManus advises aspiring writers in the Chippewa Valley to “read and listen to other writers, poets, and immerse yourself in the craft of how they do what they do.”