DC Poet Project Winner Susan Meehan on WAMU

Washington, D.C.’s local NPR station, WAMU, featured DC Poet Project winner Susan Meehan, and her new book Talking To the Night, published by Day Eight. Here are a few excerpts from the article, and link to the full piece at the bottom.

by Ally Schweitzer:

Sitting in her living room in Dupont Circle, Susan Meehan slips on her glasses and begins to recite one of her poems. But first, she wants to make one thing clear.

“I swear to God,” she says, “this is a true story.”

She could prelude many of her poems in the same way. A longtime city employee and neighborhood leader in D.C., Meehan writes raw and descriptive poetry extracted from her autobiography. She arrived in Washington in 1964 like many do — a bleeding-heart liberal determined to make a difference — and became an early supporter of Marion Barry. After helping him win his first mayoral campaign, she embarked on a long career working on behalf of residents addicted to drugs and alcohol. All the while, she involved herself deeply in Dupont Circle politics and her Quaker church, accruing stories and turning them into verse…..

Meehan didn’t expect to be a published poet after all these years. She just lucked into it. She says she was watching TV one day and saw something flash across the screen about a local poetry contest with a generous prize.

“I thought, ‘I can do it. I can do it! I can win that,” Meehan says.

And she did.

After winning a poetry contest sponsored by nonprofit Day Eight, Susan Meehan published her first book of poetry, “Talking to the Night.” Her second book, also out this year, is “The Color of Truth.”Tyrone Turner / WAMU

Grace Cavalieri is a poet and radio host who helped Meehan select the poetry for her books. She says it’s rare to come across a poet making her debut at age 79.

“Never saw it before in my life,” Cavalieri says. “We have poets that get published at 50 … but I’ve never known anyone to premiere at almost their ninth decade…..”

Listen to the article or read the full story at:  http://wamu.org/story/17/08/18/longtime-d-c-activist-recounts-citys-tougher-years-poetry/.