Book – Jesus Merch: A Catalog in Poems

My first full-length collection Jesus Merch: A Catalog in Poems is out now and can be purchased from its publisher Fernwood Press, or on Amazon (please leave a review!),, Barnes & Noble’s website, or from an order placed at your favorite independent/small bookstore.

Inspired by Victorian board games, listings for vintage Sunday school materials and Christian games on Etsy and eBay, and “Religious Items” for sale from online retailer, Jesus Merch uses poetry to explore the possible meanings – both inspiring and troubling – of material objects. The poems become springboards for questions of faith as well as conversation partners for personal experiences of heartbreak, longing, and loss.

Blurbs (fellow poets’ short thoughts about the book) for Jesus Merch:

“Who’d have thought that profundity could be woven out of kitschy catalogues? Megan McDermott is the high priestess of camp, able to hold earnest baubles aloft, then transubstantiate material goods into spiritual gifts. She nails some killer endings in these poems, which are as entertaining as they are thought-provoking. My heart hurt a little at the end.”

-Tina Kelley, author of Rise Wildly and Abloom & Awry (CavanKerry Press)

“With tenderness and humor, Megan McDermott holds Christian capitalism up to the light in JESUS MERCH, considering the effects of trademarking ‘Glory’ in a game, the uses and marketing of items from a ‘JESUS WRECKS SINS’ inflatable wrecking ball to Christian Plush Pumpkins to Fantastic Faith Tattoos. The poet asks thoughtful questions of the merchandise, as though in conversation with the physical objects—for example, in ‘Color Your Own Paul Speaks Boldly Megaphone – $7.29’ she asks: ‘But how do you construct a craft / about sitting still or making space?’ From vintage board games to a blow-up Jonah’s whale, the attention of this collection is richly curious, playful, and deep-hearted. What a joy to sit with these poems and the poet who muses of a Let’s Be Christian Soldiers coloring book, ‘Joan, the saint / I would date if I had / to date a saint.'”

-Han VanderHart, author of What Pecan Light (Bull City Press) and editor of Moist Poetry Journal

“Poignancy, humour, and an eccentric array of Christian merch are all to be found in this lovely collection by Megan McDermott. Every poem will make you think; many will make you laugh, and some will settle in your soul. McDermott’s poetic eye is finely attuned to the mysterious life of the spirit, even within the oddest of religious signifiers. This poetry reveals the grace behind commercialism, and illuminates the paradox of our human hearts, with all ‘the ways they must love/ and break and love again.’”

-Sarah Law, author of Thérèse: Poems (Paraclete Press) and editor-in-chief of Amethyst Review


“McDermott proves a necessary guide, illustrating how Christian goods and services blur, beset, even bruise our faith—and sometimes arouse alternative righteousness….Subversive yet somehow applying a light, benevolent touch, these poems illuminate the degrees of drift felt whenever we braid capitalist and Christian liturgies….McDermott chips away at a canon created all too casually, yet experienced as real weight pressing down upon real lives….her stanzas add up to a sermon, words like beauty, craft, imagination, liberation sounding through the message, leading us toward the shape of something.”

Aarik Danielson, “Thumbing Through Jesus Merch with the Poets,” published in Fathom

Some of the poems you’ll find in the book:
“A Variety of Christian Pumpkins” at Fare Forward
“Vintage Bible Battles Card Game – 1970s” at Stirring Lit
“Jesus’ Miracles Mystery Scratch N’ Reveal Cards – $9.49” at Thimble Lit
“Upright Tower” at EcoTheo Review
“Little Boolievers Mini Playing Cards” at 8 Poems
“Giant Inflatable Whale – $19.59” at Amethyst Review
“Religious Valentine Conversation Heart Scented Erasers – $3.47” at Miniskirt Magazine
“2020 Religious Water Color Wall Calendar – $1.07” at Neologism Poetry Journal

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