Empty Like a Pocket

Molly McDonald

Debut collection from Iowa Poet

“Sometimes, when I’m not thinking, I think it’s the future or 5th grade when I was the last kid to stop wearing sweatpants and I got a standing ovation when I finally wore jeans or the other morning when I was wandering around my yard without glasses, waiting for the neighbors to pull out of their driveway so I could pee beside the house or an alternate universe where I died in a train wreck or I’m inside the head of everyone throughout history who’s ever chopped mushrooms while looking out the window or I’m one of the rats that’s always chittering around in my walls. But then I’m like naaahhh, it’s Now! And now. And now. And I must be me.”—Molly McDonald

What critics are saying about Empty like a Pocket.
Molly McDonald has emptied her pockets for us, and inverted and convoluted in the fabric of her poems – they’ve become little black holes, revealing truths that previously hid as lies. Her deceptively clean language will shake you up with philosophical blindsiding, then explode kaleidoscopic like a Jackson Pollock painting made of your bone marrow. ‘I’m burrowed so/ far inside my head I found a China no one knows/ about,’ she writes, but it feels like somehow she burrowed inside my head. McDonald’s emotional archaeology feels necessary, though, not invasive; amid ice cream and dissections of car crashes, the ‘microscopic looming everything,’ holds taut dichotomies together under her watchful eye” – Claire Kruesel, MFA lecturer, Iowa State University

“McDonald’s poetry first left me speechless, then all the places in me that used to be cracks started shining, as I’d always secretly wanted them to.” – Brett Brinkmeyer, host of radio show Firsthand Poetry