I grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania tucked in the folds of the Appalachian Mountain Range. It’s hard coal country. A place where beauty and ugliness, sorrow and hope have intertwined for decades. It’s an authentic, unique place and I am grateful for how my home has shaped me. I grew up in a house where you could find my father’s Seamus Heaney books of poetry in the bathroom and my mother’s Carl Jung books on the washer. My first act of administration was organizing a parade in the alley and having the neighborhood kids help build a horse with my father’s saw horse, roller skates, a piñata and bright yellow mane made from yarn. I have lived in Pittsburgh, San Diego, Berkley while visiting a few other spots in the world along the way. I describe myself as a kind of Bohemian Bureaucrat who writes poetry and raced mountain bikes in the 90’s in California, but also manages the Lackawanna County Arts and Culture Department. I have a B.A. in history from the University of Pittsburgh and an M.F.A. in creative writing from the St. Mary’s College, California.
WHY CELLAR FIVE?
Cellarfive was the name of my father, Jack McGuigan’s, (poet and Jameson lover) childhood club house in his basement. When thinking of a name for this blog, I kept returning to this, as it seemed to capture the essence of what I wanted to do: create a special place to wax poetic, explore, celebrate friendship, share ideas, eat and drink and ponder the big picture as well as laugh and wonder.