Burlington Poet Celebrates Debut Novel | Arts News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your financial support!

Burlington Poet Celebrates Debut Novel 

State of the Arts

sota-themutt.jpg

Some American artists spent the last eight years complaining about a certain Texan. Macklin “Mack” Finley spent the time writing The Mutt, a novel he says attempts to reconcile “artistic intent and class structure in contemporary America.”

The Mutt was published in March by The Minimal Press, an independent Burlington outfit run by poet and Seven Days art critic Marc Awodey. In 2008, Minimal released NOTES FROM SPACESHIP, a collection of comic vignettes by “Agent Martian” — aka Mark Pekar, a part-time Vermonter who writes librettos for Burlington’s Viva La Voce Puppet Opera. Finley says he and Pekar — who also goes by the name Mickey Western — recently shot a YouTube video of themselves “engaging in bizarre behaviors” on the streets of New York City.

Finley’s first novel concerns a Detroit painter and janitor named Martin Walsh who retells stories narrated to him by his grandfather. Finley says Detroit’s checkered social and industrial past is a perfect backdrop for his multigenerational American narrative. Walsh, he adds, embodies a common struggle to balance creative impulses against economic realities.

The 31-year-old Detroit native speaks from experience. A published poet who studies writing and literature at Burlington College, Finley wrote The Mutt while working as a cook at high-end restaurants in Detroit and Mande-ville, La. He now hosts a bimonthly spoken-word night at The Monkey House in Winooski and is a founding member of the Burlington-based Parima Poets Publishing Collective.

Anna Blackmer, Burlington College’s chair of arts and humanities, read early drafts of The Mutt and says Finley writes in a sophisticated voice without sounding “academic.” His characters are compelling because they are sympathetic but stubborn, Blackmer adds. She also likes how Finley’s Detroit landscape informs his investigation of class issues.

“It’s very American,” says the prof. “But not in a clichéd kind of way.”

The Mutt, by Macklin Finley, The Minimal Press, 195 pages. On sale at Lulu.com. PDF downloads $10; paperback copies $15 plus shipping. Burlington College hosts a reception for Finley on Friday, April 3, 6-9 p.m., with performances by Mickey Western and Friends, Alex Keyworth and John Holland; and readings by local poets Mary Vittum and Aaron Mitton. 95 North Avenue, Burlington. Info, 862-9616 or mfinley@burlington.edu.

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

More By This Author

About The Author

Mike Ives

Mike Ives

Bio:
Mike Ives was a staff writer for Seven Days from January 2007 until October 2009.

Comments


Comments are closed.

Since 2014, Seven Days has allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we’ve appreciated the suggestions and insights, the time has come to shut them down — at least temporarily.

While we champion free speech, facts are a matter of life and death during the coronavirus pandemic, and right now Seven Days is prioritizing the production of responsible journalism over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor. Or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Arts News

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative
newsletters:

All content © 2021 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Advertising Policy  |  Contact Us
Website powered by Foundation