I grew up in the fine state of New Jersey and currently reside in Washington, DC.  My academic background (h/t to Dickinson College) is in environmental studies and history—that is, I find myself drawn to ways of thinking that insist upon nuance as they examine interconnectedness. 


I am enamored by plants.  On my windowsills I have an orchid, an oxalis, a Christmas cactus, an aloe, a prayer plant, and a pilea.  I look forward to one day tending a vegetable garden again.  For now, I name aloud every tree, shrub, and flower that I recognize on walks around the neighborhood. 


Other important things: I identify as queer (Let’s hear it for the aces!).  The Holy Spirit is my favorite part of the Trinity.  I am low-key zealous about the goodness of beans. 

Photo credit: Suzanne McCarthy

Embroidery credit: Caly McCarthy


(Click for a whole bevy of information to unfold)

Q: What is your favorite legume?

A: I love many of them, but chickpeas have claimed a special part of my heart.  I also have a real fondness for lentils.


Q: What are your pronouns?

A: she/her


Q: What are you doing right now professionally?

A: I serve as the Marketing and Communications Coordinator for Fairtrade America.


Q: Whose words of poetry have captured your spirit?

A:  Time and again, I find myself returning to Wendell Berry and to Mary Oliver.  I also really appreciate how Ross Gay crafts his essayettes in The Book of Delight—they’re prose, but they have a lyricism and a deep seeing of the ordinary, which, by me, is the essence of poetry. 


Q: What is your position on dog-earring books?

A:  I used to think that it was desecration, but now I consider it the highest form of compliment, especially when paired with thoughtful marginalia (the OG asynchronous conversation). 


Q: What brings you joy?


1.  Washing my dishes by hand with the assistance of two basins that fit just so in my sink.  While scrubbing and rinsing, I sing along to a CD by John Mayer, or Lizzo, or Rachael Weasley, or Andrea Bocelli.  It works quite well because running the faucet is loud, but once the basins are filled, that’s a moot point.  All at once I’m singing, bringing order, and feeling the goodness of warm water. 

2.  Being surprised by people’s thoughtfulness (like when I got sick, and my elderly parents walked thirty minutes to bring me a pint of Phish Food ice cream).


3.  That very first moment when I realize that one of my houseplants is beginning to bud after a quieter season of dormancy. 


Q: Are you on Instagram?

A: Intermittently, yes--at the handle: @caly_mcccarthy.

Q: Where have you contributed your energy in the past? 

A: I have worked and volunteered in a beautiful array of places, including but not limited to: an organic CSA, a college archive, a Smithsonian curatorial department, a locally owned hardware store, a biodynamic seed company, a global forest research network, a progressive church, and an independent card and gift shop.  Curious about the nitty gritty timeline and task breakdown of my work experience?  I refer you to my LinkedIn profile.


Please feel welcome to be in touch (greetings.caly@gmail.com) for any of the following reasons:


- You resonate with my words and want to help me share them more widely.

- You are desperate to cook more beans but don’t know where to start.

- You’d love to collaborate on a project.

- You heard that I have a soft spot for conducting oral histories and would like to talk more. 

- You have a question that you think I can answer.

- You are a person of goodwill who would like to say hello. 

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*Practical note: I am actively submitting pieces (both poetry and prose) to be considered for publication, and as I am successful, I will post them here.  Also, rejection is the name of the writing game.  Which is to say, fear not, I won't be spamming your inbox.