Rebecca here–and absolutely thrilled to present this guest post featuring the poetry of Moundsville, West Virginia native, poet and professor Carrie Conners. All three poems shared here explore Rust Belt themes and can be found in Carrie’s latest collection, titled Species of Least Concern. Please read, share, and join in the conversation in the comments.

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Species of Least Concern

by Carrie Conners

Main Street Rag $18 (shipped)

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Carrie Conners, originally from Moundsville, West Virginia, lives in Queens, New York and is an English professor at LaGuardia Community College-CUNY. Her first poetry collection, Luscious Struggle (BrickHouse Books, 2019), was a 2020 Paterson Poetry Prize Finalist. Her second collection, Species of Least Concern was published by Main Street Rag in 2022. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in BodegaKestrelSplit Rock ReviewRHINO, and The Monarch Review, among others. She is also the author of the book, Laugh Lines: Humor, Genre, and Political Critique in Late Twentieth-Century American Poetry (University Press of Mississippi, 2022).

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10 thoughts on ““…this time they won the day.” The poetry of Rust Belt Girl guest Carrie Conners

  1. Oh, how I do so admire poets and their ability to home in on images and use crystalized language to create such jewels as these. Thank you, Rebecca, for introducing me to a new poet, Carrie Connors! What a wonderfully talented woman!

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  2. I only recently learned about the Krishnas’ very big and gold temple in WV–can you imagine a better subject for a poem? And the shape that poem takes in the last stanza. Yes, so much to admire in poets like Carrie! I’m looking forward to digging in to more of her work. Didn’t talk about it in the post, but some of her scholarship is on working class women poets–super interesting. Thank you, as always, for reading, Deb!

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  3. It’s so fun to come here to your blog and read the excerpts you enjoyed and be introduced to authors I haven’t heard of before. Carrie is very talented, and I chuckled out loud at the sharp dresser line, “sporting a tight paisley polyester button-down, so bright your eyes water…Sonobitch, you lit me on fire.” And the mom, “oh for sh*t’s sake.” I confess to having a mom and now being a mom and both of us saying things like that. Makes her poetry so relatable. Her poetry flows and is fun to read. I agree with you the shape of the last stanza is fascinating, and well done! Congrats to Carrie!!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading, Shelley! I’m so lucky to have such a talented poet visit the blog. Isn’t Carrie’s poetry wonderful? I love how it really captures the spirit of the place she came from. Obviously, the 80s and 90s were a tough time to be growing up in coal and steel country, with the decline of those industries. However, she brings in so much light and humor, as you say. I don’t know what it is about driving, but I also do my best swearing in the car–ha!

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  4. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing these. On our way to visit PA family, we drive by towns like the ones Carrie describes. We take in the mountains and the little clusters of homes just off 80, and we wonder. Thanks to these, I have a glimpse. I especially appreciate the view of union confrontation from the periphery, the mom’s swearing, dad trying to keep everyone’s spirits buoyed. I can feel the tension. Love how kids don’t necessarily experience the full measure, but they “sense a disturbance in the force.”

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    1. I feel like the really complicated stance of the dad-as-union-leader is so interesting. I love when the professional and the personal butt up against one another–so much tension. Carrie does so much in so little space, doesn’t she? Ah poets–they are a wonder! Thank you for reading and enjoying, Kelly! I too am so glad to get a glimpse into these lives Carrie provides us readers.

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