Mary Mulholland has a Poetry MA from Newcastle/ the Poetry School, founded 

Red Door Poets, and is co-editor of The Alchemy Spoon.

Writing has always been part of her life. Her early career was in journalism,

she was chief subeditor of Country Life, also wrote freelance.  

Later she qualified as a Transpersonal Psychotherapist,

with a particular interest in art, myth and creativity,

which led naturally to poetry.


some poems


It's not just a club for musicians or artists

but the sum of bones in this hand 

wearing your ring – sapphire like cobalt 

whose atomic number is 27.

It's all those years we lived together

roads we followed to our El Dorado

our future laid out in Indian star signs 

the Feng Shui coins I used to create good karma

the New Testament books that sustained me in prayer

where agapetos (G27) means ‘the beloved one’.

But we both know the cubed root of 27 is three, 

just as I know you’re with her, as well as with me,

so before our relationship sees its 10,000th sun

I’ll follow the way of the artist, o unbeloved one.

History of a Mollusc

Her bedroom became her father’s darkroom.

Here he made magic, turned negatives positive.

He called her his special assistant. 

Closely he focused on his assistant, made her

work the developer, then use the fixer, stop-bath, too, 

left her with prints of the family history.

Downstairs, her mother, with folded arms,

sat blindfold with the smile of a cat, 

until one day, the same as most others, 

the assistant opened her eyes: the hands

of the mantle-clock were spinning backwards, 

as if time itself was saying, go! She ran outside

and heard a scrunch, saw the crushed shell of a 

snail, and its long sticky trail that led to all this.

The General’s Widow

The world sees only her public face, 

all pearls and smiles, but once he’s gone,

she locks the door, busies herself 

on their once-shared bed now covered 

with a pink satin spread, starts making a 

cast of her husband’s head. She’ll paint it 

bright to adorn the mantelshelf, replace 

those snaps of his sons and ‘himself’. 

Still she can smell his cigars in the air

as she sits at noon in his fireside chair, 

contemplating her scarlet masterpiece.

The funeral’s over, it’s such a release,

she’ll spend the night making paper planes,

hurl them at his red eyes, nose and brains.

What would I see in a portrait of me?

I am looking at the dead people on my walls

wondering about their thoughts, their longings,
their shames, who they really were, or what
we have in common, these flatmates of my living

room: a young woman knitting, an ancestor in a ruff,

a child making sandcastles: the solitariness of each,

some bought, some bequeathed, one painted by me

(this one not yet dead). Sometimes I talk to them,

catch a bemused glance suggesting life is chance,

all things pass. Perhaps once their worries felt real

like mine, and this somehow instils some calm,
as if they've said, join us, hang around, it’s fun.

All you have to do is to step outside. And I do,

then quickly return through the back door.


published poems etc 

links to some readings




'Let me tell you about love', Snakeskin, May 2021

'Kaieteur' in London Grip, April 2021

'The Art of Daydreaming' in Poetry News, March 2021

'What would I see in a portrait of me' in AMBIT 242

'Silent Majority' in Finished Creatures

'Diptych', in Aesthetica's CW anthology 2021, 'Lamb Sandwiches' in Arc Poetry Journal,'Still Life' in Winchester Prize's un-seaming the tendon,

 'A Short History of Frankincense' in Amethyst Review,  'Who is She Who Comes' in Amethyst Review; 'Pointing North' in the Poetry Health Service; 'D is for Change' in Under the Radar; 'Madness of Crowds' in the Fenland Poetry Journal, 2020; 'The Tasmanian Spider is a Good Mother like You' in The High Window, 2020; 'Twenty Seven' in The High Window, 2020; 'By Any Name' in The High Window, 2020 The Making of Dreams in Blue Nib Poetry Journal 2020; 'Restocking after the Break' in Blue Nib Poetry Journal 2020; 'Bluebeard's Cousin' in Ink, Sweat and Tears poetry magazine 2019; 'The General's Widow' and 'The Chemistry of Tears' in Momaya 'Masks' Poetry Review, 2019;  'Mothwings' in Bridges Journal, 2018; 'Breton Girl Spinning' in Sentinel Quarterly Poetry Journal 2016


Dempsey and Windle's What Next anthology, 2020; Coldweather Anthology, 2018, 2019; Metaphor for Women, 2015; Bridges Anthology, 2018;  Bridges Anthology, 2019; Poetry from Tate Modern, 2010; Poetry from Tate Modern, 2011


The Kilim Bride and Other Stories, 2017, 2020; ‘Lordywens’ in Mechanical Institute Review 9, 2012; ‘River Chants’ in Decongested Tales, 2011; ‘The Threshold Guardian’ in The Writers Hub, 2011;   ‘The Tale of Vérité’ in The Writers Hub, 2012 


first prize

Poetry News Members' 'Lucid Dreaming' competition, 2021, Poetry News Members 'Vision' competition, 2020; Momaya International Poetry Competition, 2019


AMBIT 2021; Aesthetica, 2020, Winchester, 2020; Artlyst, 2020; Momaya, 2019; Sentinel, 2016


LiveCanon Pamphlet Competition 2021, 20, Trim 2020, Buzzwords, 2020; Plough,

2020; Bridport, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018; Wasafiri New Writing Prize, 2011


AUB, 2021; Live Canon single poem 2021; Fish, 2021; Segora, 2020; Acumen, 2020; Torbay Poetry Prize, 2018; Primers 1, 2016; Mslexia 'Memoir' competition, 2014



Red Door Poets was set up in 2015.

We are a closed group of prize-winning

poets who meet weekly either on zoom or in London

and who give monthly public readings on zoom with special guests.

Check out Red Door Poets | Facebook 

Tweet @reddoorpoets

Instagram #reddoorpoets

email: reddoorpoets@gmail.com

​Hanne Busck-Nielsen

Tom Cunliffe

Beatriz Echeverri

Katie Griffiths

Chris Hardy

Elizabeth Horsley

Mary Mulholland

Matthew Paul

Gillie Robic 

Lesley Sharpe