Her novel Keen (Goldwake Press, 2022) imagines that the ancient Irish custom of hiring women to mourn at funerals has continued into the modern day, and follows the most famous keener in world, Maeve McNamara, during the height of her career. Told in a plural first-person point of view, this book follows the group of people who adore Maeve. Through watching Maeve perform mourning, this collective voice thinks about grief, fame, community, and what we can know about ourselves and others. When a protégé appears and asks Maeve to train her, ideas about race and gender—and ideas about who belongs to what communities, and the tradition of the art of lamentation—all begin to shift and swerve. A hybrid novel/ars poetica/autobiographical essay, Keen attempts to grapple with lineage and innovation, heritage, and what no longer serves us.
Erin Stalcup is Editor-in-Chief of Defunct. Born and raised and educated in Flagstaff, on occupied Diné and Hopi land, she first left to live in Brooklyn, and has never since changed her (917) cellphone number. Erin has taught in community colleges, universities, liberal arts schools, prisons, state schools, and MFA programs in Manhattan, Asheville, Denton, her alma mater in her hometown, Montpelier, and now she’s back in Brooklyn. She is a co-founder of Waxwing, and served as Editor of Hunger Mountain. Her books include the story collection And Yet It Moves, and the novels Every Living Species and the forthcoming Keen (advance copies will be available in September, and the official publication date is 2/2/22 with Gold Wake Press). You can read and hear some of her work at erinstalcup.xyz.