In Paula McLain's book Less of Her, the soul steps forward and sings a torch song. The song is both fevered and measured, bearing the double burden of an almost unforgivable past and the possibility of mercy in the future. And the voice is naked, urgent, unflinching, a girl's voice in the mouth of a woman or a woman's voice in the mouth of a girl. This is a first book to listen to again and again. -- Bruce Smith
Whether she is "lost in space" among the "forbidden planets" or staking her claim at "ground zero," Paula McLain writes with an alert sense of place and self. Less of Her is a cosmology of touch and warning--of erotic entanglements and the complex grace and waste wrought from nurturing those relationships. Few poets in their first books are so able to balance irony with glad acceptance. I much admire the crispness of her technique and the adroit result of her aggregate vision. -- David Baker
About the Author
Paula McLain was born in Fresno, California in 1965. After being abandoned by both parents, she and her two sisters became wards of the California Court System, moving in and out of various foster homes for the next fourteen years. When she aged out of the system, she supported herself by working as a nurses aid in a convalescent hospital, a pizza delivery girl, an auto-plant worker, a cocktail waitress—before discovering she could (and very much wanted to) write. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of Michigan in 1996. Since then, she has received fellowships from the corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Ucross Foundation, the Ohio Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her first book of poetry, LESS OF HER, was published in 1999 by New Issues Press and won a publication grant from the Greenwall Fund of the Academy of American Poets. She's also the author of a second collection of poetry, STUMBLE, GORGEOUS (New Issues Press, 2005), a memoir, Like Family: Growing Up In Other People's Houses
, and the novel, A Ticket to Ride
. Her most recent book is The Paris Wife
, a fictional account of Ernest Hemingway's first marriage and upstart years in 1920's Paris, as told from the point of view of his wife, Hadley. She teaches in the MFA Program in Poetry at New England College, and lives with her family in Cleveland.