About Margaret and Poetry

Second Grade

Budding poet.

For much of my life, I had a love-fear relationship with poetry.

When I was a kid, I wrote lots of poetry and read my creations out loud during “Show and Tell” at school. Then in the middle school years, somehow my poetic nerve got lost. I became convinced that my poetry was lame (sometimes true), and that there was nothing I could do about it (not true or even relevant).

In college I steered clear of poetry-writing classes, intimidated by “real poets” and afraid to be the most clueless person in the room. It took years for me to wake up to the idea that being clueless was nowhere near the problem it had seemed.

In fact, when it comes to writing poetry, cluelessness turns out to be the perfect place to begin … and to begin … and to begin again.

I returned to my early love of poetry in my middle years, taking classes, listening to feedback, working with other poets, writing and re-writing, and finally publishing some of my work. My poetry has appeared in journals such as The Crosscurrents Review, The Portlandia Review of Books, Northwind Anthology, Modern Haiku, bottle rockets, The Heron’s Nest, Frogpond, and bear creek haiku. I am the author of Haiku – The Sacred Art: A Spiritual Practice in Three Lines (SkyLight Paths), a guide to writing haiku as a spiritual practice.

Today I write, teach, and coach various forms of poetry and prose. In both writing and teaching, I find it best to stay as close as possible to that clueless student: curious, intrigued, open to wonder and surprise.

The Invitation

by Margaret D. McGee


Come to the party
O silent one—

take breath

stand and walk
up to the awful portal

turn the lever you thought
must be locked

feel it slip soft as oil
smooth as new-made workings

until you sense the end and pull
open the polished door

cross the sill now
silvery with candlelight

hear your name called aloud
in honor and welcome

your gift for the house
all ready in your hands

your gift already in the offering.