Local author finds success in writing and publishing

By Kendall Neil
September 19, 2002

Time is a reoccurring theme in Chris McCreary’s poetry. However, this Temple graduate did not always want to be a poet. McCreary had wanted to study to be a fiction writer or a lawyer.

Throughout his schooling, he had always enjoyed reading novels. In fact, he still prefers reading fiction to poems. When it comes to writing, however, McCreary finds that he is better suited for writing poems. He started writing poems when he was in high school, but it was not until later in his high school career that he discovered he had a talent for writing verse.

His biggest influences include Walt Whitman, as well as some people who are close to him, including Dr. Seth Frechie, Professor of English and Communications. Frechie taught McCreary when he was an undergraduate at Temple University. He feels as though Frechie taught him how to go beyond his normal range of writing and to keep challenging himself to make his poems better.

In typical writerly fashion, McCreary carries a notebook around with him in case is he inspired by something that occurs during his day. However, when it comes to actually sitting down and writing his poetry, McCreary works in his office, writing a little poetry every day. At least twice a week, he spends at least a half hour just writing poems. He sometimes writes fiction, but for him to write prose would require more time than his working days as an editor permits, so he mainly sticks to writing poetry.

Aside from writing poetry, McCreary and his wife Jenn also have a publishing interest called “Ixnay Press.” It was originally started so that they would be able to remain in contact with friends, but since then has grown into a publishing enterprise that produces a literary magazine and chapbooks, or small collections of poetry. Each chapbook contains about 15 poems, which total around 60 pages.

They have published such names as Frank Sherlock, Pattie McCarthy, and Peter Ganick, all of whom are close friends of the McCreary’s.

When asked if he would ever consider branching out with his publishing company and taking on more publishing and editing commitments, McCreary said that for now, they want to keep their publishing company on a somewhat personal level with people whom they know, people whose work they admire, and who they feel they can trust. Of his own chapbooks, only one has been published through his publishing company, a collection of poems called “Clockwork.”

“Sansom Agonistease” was published in 1999 by Potes & Poets Press. His new book, “The Effacements,” is being published by Singing Horse Press. He describes this collection of poetry as being based on famous novels by authors like Jane Austen. He read the text of these novels and rewrote them in to other narratives. All these together have been molded into McCreary’s latest work.

Most of his poems are drawn from his response to literary figures or conversations with other authors. Otherwise, he narrows his poems down to a theme. Once he settles on a theme, he finds the poems that best fit into that theme and they become a part of the chapbook.

What’s next for McCreary? He said that he would love to go back and continue writing short stories and novels as he did during graduate school days. For a while, he stuck with poetry because he needed to adapt to the time, but recently he feels as though he has the time to go back and try writing short fiction. McCreary offered advice for younger writers. “Read a lot. Without it, you will have no background about what to write or how to write it. Also, revise a lot. I don’t believe that your first idea is necessarily your best idea. You have to keep revising and you’ll eventually get the style you’re looking for.”

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Kendall Neil

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