In Shane McCrae’s astonishing second chapbook, In Canaan, he inhabits the personae of the escaped slave Margaret Garner, who, in the mid-1800s, murdered one of her daughters in order to keep her from returning to slavery. “I couldn’t stop/Hurting her because it hurt,” writes McCrae in the voice of Garner, “Before that night I never had the chance to love / Anyone/ she was the first person I loved.” McCrae composes in broken forms and shattered fragments, retelling a harrowing historical story through the imagined first-person point of view of its tortured and terrified heroine.
Shane McCrae is the author of Blood (Noemi Press, 2013) and Mule (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2010) and the chapbooks In Canaan (Rescue Press, 2011) and One Neither One (Octopus Books, 2009). His work has appeared in African American Review, Agni,The American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Effing Magazine, Typo and The Best American Poetry 2010. He holds degrees from Linfield College, the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, and Harvard Law School, and the University of Iowa. He is the recipient of a 2011 Whiting Writers' Award and a 2013 NEA Creative Writing Fellowship.