Mary Meriam’s new poetry collection

My Girl's Green Jacket coverMary Meriam’s newest poetry collection, My Girl’s Green Jacket, was published on September 1, 2018 from Headmistress Press. The press, cofounded by Mary in 2013, publishes books of poetry by lesbians focusing on lesbian existence, lesbian voices, and promoting lesbian representation in the arts.

The collection was reviewed by Quarterly West: “[Mary] writes nearly always in formal verse, favoring especially sonnets, ghazals, and sapphic stanzas; she branches out in this book to prose poetry and free verse.”

View the book trailer below:

We spoke with Mary Meriam about her new book.

DESCRIBE THE POETRY COLLECTION: I wrote and organized My Girl’s Green Jacket intuitively. One of my blurbers, Stu Watson, described it as “an impressionistic yet incisive vision of love and loss” and “a complex imaginative mirror to hold up against our current reality.” It occurs to me now that perhaps the love and loss of my sister inspired the book’s clothing motif. In the thick of her suffering, she once told me that she wanted “a whole new wardrobe.”

WHERE CAN WE FIND THE BOOK: Amazon and Headmistress Store. Headmistress Press will have My Girl’s Green Jacket at the AWP Portland 2019 bookfair.

Lesbian poetics is a voice that refuses to be silenced.

WHAT IS LESBIAN POETICS, TO YOU: Lesbian poetry is a condition without a home in high culture. A lesbian poet who talks about being a lesbian in her poems can expect to be ignored, marginalized, mocked, misunderstood, and suppressed by the male-dominated poetry establishment. Lesbian poetics is a voice that refuses to be silenced. It’s fearless about speaking out and being true to itself. Lesbian poetics refuses to suppress lesbian poetry, giving the best of it instead a central place in high culture, a home.


Mother Farewell

Mother of arms that never reached for me,
farewell in winter, spring, in summer, fall,
farewell old house, farewell to lawn and hall,
farewell to fields and sky, farewell big tree
that mothered me with leaves entirely.
There was a woman in the house I call
farewell to childhood, building wall on wall
inside herself to break the violent sea,
who saved lost turtles on the winding road,
who stopped the car mid-lane and ran to them
and lifted them, and brought them to the field
or forest they were headed for, each gem
another feather in her mother lode,
each turtle shell, for her, another shield.

DESCRIBE YOUR WRITING PROCESS: I often get ideas in my kitchen, peeling potatoes or washing dishes. Lately I’ve been handwriting all my poems sitting on my screened-in deck, which is in a forest, next to a lake. I live in a fairly moderate climate, but there are some icy winter days when my fingers are almost too frozen to write. I sometimes write in thunderstorms. I’ve written on the deck at dusk, when I could barely read what I was writing. I don’t know if I wrote my best poems in these circumstances, but it was stimulating.

A NOTE OF ENCOURAGEMENT: After trying for 15 years, I just had a poem accepted at Poetry!

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