July, 1974: In the fictional town of Cumberland, Georgia, fifteen-year-old twin sisters Ansel and Isabel Mackenzie have lived with their eccentric grandmother since a car accident killed their parents and paralyzed Isabel. Over the past seven years the responsibility of caring for her sister has fallen increasingly on Ansel. However, as she cultivates a romantic relationship with a local boy, as well as an artistic apprenticeship with a visiting photographer, Ansel’s growing desire for independence compromises her ability to care for her sister, threatening their sororal connection, and ultimately, Isabel’s life. Juxtaposing Ansel's traditional narrative against Isabel's poetic prose, CUMBERLAND highlights the conflicts between independence and familial duty, and the difficulty of balancing the dark draws of the body against the brighter focus of the mind.
Cumberland (a novel)
"Cumberland is a richly imagined tale of family secrets, lies, and unspoken truths that threaten the lives of two sisters. The writing is lyrical and funny in the voice of Ansel whose coming-of-age could bring down the entire family and the town around them. This novel has a mythic undertone that moves the layers of the story with the rush of an incoming tide carrying deeper revelations than the characters are quite able to bear. Gannon writes with a painter’s eye and a poet’s ear, and there’s no denying that she is bringing an original vision to her readers. “
—Jonis Agee, author of The River Wife and The Weight of Dreams
"Cumberland is a remarkable novel that draws us into the intensely physical mystery of twinness. Fifteen-year-old Ansel comes into the urgency of her adolescent body while her paralyzed sister Isabel floats in an increasingly mystical world of art and longing. In vivid and musical prose, author Megan Gannon delivers mystery, suspense, a most unusual love triangle, and surprises that keep the pages turning as the twins’ embattled connection appears to reach the breaking point."
—Mary Helen Stefaniak, author of The Turk and My Mother and The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia
"Haunting, sensual, and captivating, Cumberland reminds me of Joy Williams’ work; its story of twin sisters—one of them reaching out toward life while the other struggles with illness—is as poetic and moody as adolescence itself. Cumberland is about the restorative powers of art and the sea, and I longed to linger in this world and to learn more from these wise and intuitive girls."
—Timothy Schaffert, author of The Swan Gondola and The Coffins of Little Hope
"Cumberland tells the story of twin sisters inhabiting two vastly different worlds. One comes of age, finding her way in love and in her relationship with the world, while the other, trapped in both body and circumstance, finally discovers a way to break the silence that seems to imprison her. In a pitch-perfect duet, Gannon illuminates the place their worlds overlap, how the sisters imagine and intuit their way into the other’s inner workings with unbearable intimacy. It’s a beautifully wrought tale about how the intricacies of our bonds can lead to the most specific betrayals and how the burden of familial wreckage can play out in our lives whether or not we fully understand it. And it’s a story about love and survival in the interdependent dynamic of two souls who were once one.
The story moves in a poet’s carriage. Gannon’s sentences are so full you’ll want to say them out loud just to feel them in your mouth; her poetry is at times nothing short of arresting. Cumberland is haunting and surprising. You will miss these girls when the book is done."
—Rebecca Rotert, author of Last Night at the Blue Angel
The Witch's Index (poetry)
"In The Witch's Index Megan Gannon reminds us how a poem, whatever its subject, is ultimately a kind of incantation. Original in intent, often startling in execution, through all their inventive twists and turns of thought and feeling, her poems never forget their loyalty to language itself, its magic-anchored possibilities. At once considered and spontaneous, able to fill restricted forms with unexpected feelings and achieve effects at once literary and personal, her imagination remains alive to those edges of being where reason and non-reason play together. As a poet who 'swallows the world' while acknowledging the vulnerable nature of flesh and blood, she achieves—in a manner both lyrical and tough-minded—her own 'kind of grace.'"
—Eamon Grennan, author of Out of Sight: New and Selected Poems
"Spells and incantations were never so personal and so deftly woven from voices and images as in the poems of Megan Gannon. They bring out the secrets hidden in ordinary speech, which cease to be ordinary when the poet opens the door for us to hear them."
—Nancy Willard, author of The Sea at Truro
White Nightgown (poetry)
From the ruins of ocean liners and model cities, to the dark impulses of Greek myths and biblical narratives, poet Megan Gannon casts a wide thematic net in tracing the legacy of desire in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. With the lyric compression of Emily Dickinson, the syntactical momentum and surrealist imagery of Sylvia Plath, the poems in White Nightgown examine how desire serves as both a creative and a destructive force, drawing loved ones near to us and pushing them away, destroying nations as well as shaping them. In Gannon’s poems, the vestiges of desire are as encompassing as water, as enduring and semi-visible as ghosts.