Elisabeth McKetta

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta

Elisabeth Sharp McKetta has been a gardener of simple herbs, a 9th grade class president, a fairy godmother, and a Cozy Coup driver. She lives with her family in Idaho. Her poem, “Cartography of Human Bridges,” appears in MAR 35.1.

Quick! Summarize your poem in 10 words or fewer.

Guy gave me the word “caisson.” I wrote a poem.

What can you share about this piece prior to its MAR publication?

I do a project called Poetry for Strangers where each week I asked a stranger for a word and use it in a poem. I asked a Brown University poet and he gave me the word “caisson.”

“Casein?” I echoed. “As in cheese.”

“No, no, no,” said the poet. He thought. “Bridges!” he finally said. Then raced out of the room.


So I looked up the word and spent a night on it. It was a hard poem to write, but it found its form when I thought about the attempt for airtightness in the love of another person, and how impossible it is.

You’re at a family reunion and some long-lost relative asks about your writing. What do you say?

Hi, relative. If you give me a word I’ll write you a poem.

What do you consider your biggest writing-related success?

Finishing a kick-ass novel in the two years after my daughter was born. My god, how hard I worked to scrap together pieces of time!

What was your reaction upon receiving your MAR acceptance?

Thrilled!! Of course.

Thanks for the interview, Elisabeth!
Laura Maylene Walter, Fiction Editor