What a presentation by M.B. McLatchey! Last week I went to M.B.’s superb website at
www.mbmclatchey.com to offer some commentary. I thought I’d share that with you:
M.B. McLatchey presents herself without fanfare, but certain of what she knows, where she
has come from, and where she’s going. As keynote speaker at the Florida State Poets
Association’s 2019 Fall Convention, M.B. shared, for the first time in public, her thoughts and
feelings for Nobel Laureate Seamus Heaney, her mentor and dear friend of her
graduate days at Harvard. Mirroring the self-effacement and common sense that emanated
from the icon with whom she not only studied in class and at his home, but also shared
Guinness and Porter’s Whiskey at a Harvard Square pub, the simple, elegant wisdom of
Heaney’s art and his humanity rung through her with our assembly of poets. Telling aspects
of his and their story, along with the kind of seminal advice from a master that working poets
yearn for, she managed to reach every heart and mind in the room.
A note: when reading M.B.’s own award-winning poetry, I find echoes of Heaney, his blood
and his logic, combined with, for me, a kind of simply etched elegance that I once found
in the pediments and friezes of Phidias in the British Museum. Even in her work that is
contemporary, I get that feel, that clarity. There is timelessness to the work, as there is in that
of Heaney, who can as easily reflect the paths of Beowulf as he can the ways of a child in
County Derry, or the walks of a beautiful graduate student on the cobbles of Cambridge.
M.B. McLatchey knows, and she connected us to Seamus Heaney, and to herself, and for
both experiences, we are grateful. Just as you have come to know the poetry of Lee, Peter,
and Lola, it’s time set your sights on Carol and M.B.
~ Al Rocheleau, President, Florida State Poets Association
Florida State Poets Association