I Wrote a Book

Sarah McMahon
4 min readOct 9, 2023

[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]

I wrote a book, and it’s scheduled for publication on Amazon November 3rd. It will be available in hardcover, paperback, and as an eBook. I’m planning to create an audio version as well, which will be available on Spotify, Amazon, and about 40 other distribution channels. My book is a poetry collection called Dirt Girl and will be my third foray into the world of self-publishing.

“Why would anyone read poetry?” you might be thinking. That’s a fair and pertinent question. Most people don’t read poetry or go out of their way to buy it, which is one reason I plan to make an audio version. I can’t speak for other poets or poems, but here is what I do know: poems are stories, and the best poems are not so ambiguous that nobody knows what the hell is going on. The best, most memorable poems in the literary canon are the poems we all know and recognize. “I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, “We Wear The Mask” by Paul Lawrence Dunbar, or “Do not go gentle into that good night” by Dylan Thomas. I once bought a book of poetry from a cute little bookstore in San Francisco and had no blessed idea what the author was writing about or even what emotion they were trying to convey.

I am not comparing my poetry to the aforementioned literary giants, but what I am saying is this: my poems will not leave you wondering what I meant. They are not flowery or vague or highfalutin. Maybe I don’t like flowery, insipid poems, or maybe, I’m just not that smart. At any rate, my poems are each separate stories with a through line connecting them. They are written primarily in the first person, and although I draw heavily upon my life experience, they do not constitute a memoir and should not be read that way. My stories are rooted in truth, but that does not mean every word is autobiographical.

If you have followed me for any amount of time, you know that I was born and raised in Northwestern Wisconsin. My hometown is small, with a population of roughly 1,200 people. When I was in high school, the county I grew up in had the highest rate of meth use in the state. A few years ago, over 40% of the kids in the school district were on free or reduced lunch. Drugs and low income are common in rural America, but I didn’t realize that until I left. I love my…