A Single Throat Opens

Black Lawrence Press

A Single Throat Opens is an epistolary, lyric exploration of addiction. Part nonfiction, part poetry, this hybrid work showcases two writers “tethered to their language and each other” (Brian Oliu, author of I/O: A Memoir) as they move through memory, family, and their own complex relationships.

“McClure and Schmeltzer have concocted a compelling, lilting whisper of a work that defies genre.” — Jill Talbot, author of The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir

Honors & Awards

Coil Book Award (Finalist)


In their moving collection, A Single Throat Opens, “M” and “M” invent multiple languages and forms with which to explore the altered consciousness of children of alcoholics, as well as the raw and slippery nature of “truth”. This nuanced and experimental collaboration—epistolary, rich in metaphor, investigative, reconstructive—is not only a gorgeous work of shared art-making but the document of a hard journey. It’s as if two immigrants from a ruined village found each other years later in a new country and, after a long, imposed silence, were able to practice the sustaining dialect of their troubled home country—a language which, translated here so precisely, so adeptly for the reader, opens into unexpected light.

Lia Purpura, author of Rough Likeness

All good writing confesses things that the writer is not always ready to admit at that particular moment: an offering to the world to do with it what it will with no flinch of the wrist, no last second tug backward into the chest to keep our stories and ourselves safe from harm. What Michael Schmeltzer & Meghan McClure know about these confessions is that they are also collaborative-self and other, the blank bubbling of the world and the shaking truth-us as flawed humans cannot move through the world without the world. In A Single Throat Opens, Schmeltzer & McClure explore a landscape that has too much of everything, defining what is left & what they are, all the while tethered to their language and each other.

Brian Oliu, author of I/O: A Memoir

McClure and Schmeltzer have concocted a compelling, lilting whisper of a work that defies genre. The blending of their words reminds me of a hushed table in the corner of a small café toward closing hours, where a candle trembles between the confessions of two shadows, leaning into one other. At times, it’s impossible to discern between the two voices, so tied are they in their reverence and reckoning, their lies and longing, their desire for the burn of drink mixed with the shared fear of it in their blood. The lyricism of A Single Throat Opens will make every listener thirsty, parched on the last page for more. This book is a yearning.

Jill Talbot, author of The Way We Weren’t: A Memoir

Reviews, Interviews, & Previews

Broken Glass: Fragments on Addiction and Kaveh Akbar’s “Portrait of an Alcoholic” and Meghan McClure & Michael Schmeltzer’s “A Single Throat Opens”

Amazon Review

Black Warrior Review: One Other Thing

Black Lawrence Press: A Single Throat Opens (excerpt)

Cascadia Magazine