Published by West End Press

Nobody's Jackknife

By Ellen McGrath Smith



With insight, humor, and uncompromising honesty, Nobody’s Jackknife explores power and powerlessness, violence and tenderness, addiction and love. These poems refuse to separate the mundane from the profound: Rolling Rock beer, the racial coding of baseball players, and a melodic litany of yoga asanas intertwine in this brilliant and compelling collection. In 1960s Pittsburgh, a young girl finds her way to adulthood in a family dominated by a hard-drinking, blue-collar father, brothers who excel at baseball and machismo, and a pervasive but ultimately distant Catholicism. Her mother, unable to rescue her, offers two lifelines: reading and yoga. Using an astonishing array of poetic styles, Ellen McGrath Smith shows a rare gift for subtlety, an expansive intellect, and a sometimes brutal candor in this groundbreaking debut collection.

Subjects: Poetry

Contributor Bios
Ellen McGrath Smith’s award-winning poetry, short fiction, literary criticism, and scholarship have been published in anthologies and print and online journals nationwide. She has received the Zone 3 Rainmaker Award, the Orlando Prize from the A Room of Her Own Foundation, and other honors. A teacher at the University of Pittsburgh and Carlow University, McGrath Smith holds an MFA in poetry from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD in English literature from Duquesne University. She lives, writes, works, and practices yoga in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she was born and raised.