Poet, Librarian, Publisher…




Rank, University of Iowa Press, 2015


Rank has dark fumes, but it’s rich as loam, with a propulsive power inside: the thorny terror that ends in a scarlet flower. McCollough’s tight verses crackle and chime—sonically rich and lexically wild—their syllables so deeply cast you can almost hear other syllables in them, worlds within worlds. Bones clacking and muscles moaning, their physicality makes meaning audible, and the pain becomes prayerful, ‘a rendition of, at least, eternity.’”—Aaron Shurin

“McCollough’s poems in Rank, as in most of his collections, come from the inner part of himself that is a cosmic being. He tunes into the cosmos and receives it, which is what being alive is: ‘I could kill for the songs, I could.’ Poetry comes from this ongoing inner state of being, between listening to the cosmos and responding to it. McCollough’s vision of eternity and our verdant patch of it is at once practical and mysterious. At some point while reading these poems, you’ll think of listening to the song ‘Nothing but Flowers’ by the Talking Heads. Strumming a guitar makes a flower bloom. The corporeal world is rank, grows over, around, above, inside, and without us. Let the universe in and change you.”— Arda Collins


Buy This Book:

University of Iowa Press



Underlight, Ugly Duckling Press, 2012

“Aaron McCollough’s poetry is a living system that is one part the assaulted world and one part the world’s conscious surveyor. In Underlight ‘a private sorrow drapes’ revealing an ecology of disappointment where the poet reports ‘hearing at least feels like holding and where else does it go.’ While the music here plumbs various shapes a final hour can take, it also insists we should never agree to an end without first having our most heartfelt say, ‘Making love, we used the dark for leverage.’ Underlight is full of such impossible machines all doing emergency work.” —Peter Richards


Underlight shines its luminescence under bodies large and small. Desiccated spiders, fields of clover, a leaf’s spine, the anatomy of the soul, an entire forest’s understory, all unfold under this stunning light. Drawn in through vision, the urge to see becomes the urge to hold, however tenuous such holdings might be. But what is held in this book is held aside in ecstasy, until even what I knew I held—my own body—stands beside me. Under ‘the pressure and underlight, / where soul is burin / and self is soft line away,’ I look at looking. I am blinded by this book’s dark beauty, its careful precision, its generous offerings. I cannot look away.” —Sasha Steensen


Buy This Book:

Ugly Duckling Presse
Small Press Distribution


No Grave Can Hold My Body Down

Aaron McCollough's fourth book

No Grave Can Hold My Body Down, Ahsahta Press, 2011

“Aaron McCollough’s No Grave Can Hold My Body Down is a bravura experiment in matching literary modernism with the canon of traditional American musics contained in the subtly syncretistic guitar music of the late John Fahey. McCollough aspires to “walk worthy / between the vespers of history,’ and this book is an elaborate preparation for speaking of the relations between World and Wilderness. I admire McCollough’s strategies for marshalling temporally disparate, dissident voices, and for imagining the experience of the newly risen dead.” —David Grubbs

Buy This Book:

Ahsahta Press
Small Press Distributors


Online Reviews:

Publisher’s Weekly

Black Ocean Blog

Colorado Review


Interviews Related to this Book:


Talus, Or Scree (podcast)

Little Ease

Aaron McCollough's third book

Little Ease, Ahsahta Press, 2006

“In these poems, there’s what hovers around the ear and how that is or isn’t the self. They remind me of my upper and lower limits, and how song’s limits relate to what’s around. How to sound out domesticity, singularity, the nation? Each a freedom or a prison-house (‘little ease’ there), but the song skillfully binds them and releases them by ‘plant[ing] it round with//…sweet Lyric Song.’” —Eleni Sikelianos

“Aaron McCollough’s heartbreaking Little Ease is stunning in its ability to get at collective—yea, national as well—sins through its cries and meditations on a single soul’s struggles toward ‘nothing but holy, pure, and cleare’ (Herbert). The 4 x 4 cell in the Tower of London, Little Ease is of the self’s own making, from fear (‘. . .to work / at / deeds / for sake of deeds / [that] seek repose and rest. . .’), and the victimizer is the victim of her own sins, finding no ‘rest in restlessness.’ The poet takes his palette from the social and religious upheavals of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries when the grip of a ‘personal God’ began to tighten. Aaron McCollough is a poet of prodigious powers, able to take the full of his poetic inheritance and to make essential poetry at the center of our own ferocious gyre.” —Susan Wheeler

Buy This Book:

Ahsahta Press
Small Press Distributors

Online Reviews:

Reviewed by Steven Byrd
Reviewed by Adam Strauss
Reviewed by Jason Schneiderman
Reviewed by Andrea Baker

Double Venus

Aaron McCollough's second book

Double Venus , Salt Publishing, 2003

“Aaron McCollough knows that America and Thanatos are hiding something. His poetry uses all manner of devices, determined to find out what and where it is among concrete things and living creatures with their riotous emblems. And sings when a song is called for.”—Alan Halsey

“In Double Venus, Aaron McCollough fulfills a promise with a continuity, completes an errand with a deeper errand. Here is the Crashaw of us, crowned in jessamine. Here is a metaphysics we can use, now and in all the hap ahead.” —Donald Revell

Buy This Book:

Salt Publishing
Small Press Distributors

Online Reviews:

Reviewed by Stan Mir
Reviewed by Jonathan Minton
Reviewed by Kevin McGowin


Aaron McCollough's first book

Welkin, Ahsahta Press, 2002

“Aaron McCollough has reclaimed (that is, radically reclaimed) a certain ancientness of praise and quest, credence and address, for our fractured present. The resulting poems resonate with a singular music, urgency, and substance.”—Michael Palmer

“McCollough’s Welkin, a revival of those energies which flow between the gorgeous happenstance of Earth and the serene mandates of Heaven. These are poems of a powerfully expressed vertu. These are flowers that know the secrets of their names.” —Donald Revell

Buy This Book:

Ahsahta Press
Small Press Distributors