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James McKean

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As a boy, Jim McKean understood little about the lives of the women in his family. Perhaps they preferred it that way. Later, marriage brought another group of women and then a daughter brought questions. The answers revealed stories of remarkable women who survived their time and place, creating a legacy of grit and independence, vulnerability and pain, as they struggled to create lives through the vagaries of war, broken homes, and discrimination.  Revisiting these stories has drawn Jim McKean back into the family of women who raised him, stories that bind his and their worlds together.

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As a boy, Jim McKean understood little about the lives of the women in his family. Perhaps they preferred it that way. Later, marriage brought another group of women and then a daughter brought questions. The answers revealed stories of remarkable women who survived their time and place, creating a legacy of grit and independence, vulnerability and pain, as they struggled to create lives through the vagaries of war, broken homes, and discrimination.  Revisiting these stories has drawn Jim McKean back into the family of women who raised him, stories that bind his and their worlds together.

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James McKean earned an MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop and his PhD from the University of Iowa. He has published three books of poems, Headlong, Tree of Heaven, and We Are the Bus; and a book of essays, Home Stand: Growing Up in Sports. A professor emeritus at Mount Mercy University in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, he still teaches for the Queens University low-residency MFA program in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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