Mary Mulholland has always been passionate about poetry, but has only devoted herself to that passion in recent years. She has a Poetry MA from Newcastle/ the Poetry School and founded the Red Door Poets, a closed group who meet fortnightly. She is also co-editor of The Alchemy Spoon.

Writing has always been part of her life: she started out as a journalist, became chief subeditor of Country Life, then wrote freelance before turning to creative writing. At the same time she was also a qualified Transpersonal Psychotherapist, with a particular interest in the unconscious, art and myth. Now, though, she spends most of her time writing and reading poetry.


some poems

My Mother’s Daisy Ring 

I never knew its provenance, never saw her wear it

but that day when we divided up her jewellery

I took a ring, old yet new, held it to the light.

A daisy head of seven diamonds, sparkling, as she did,

for sun she craved and colour, as if afraid of night.

I never knew its provenance, never saw her wear it.

O the tales she would spin of her magic colonial past, 

of her childhood where bad things never happened. 

I took this ring, old yet new, held it to the light.

My sisters urged me hurry as I wrestled with my choice, 

tempted by more familiar amethyst, rubies, gold – 

I never knew its provenance, never saw her wear it.

Unguarded, she had at times a hooded silent look,

or I'd hear her sing, her voice soft and low.

I took her ring, turned it, held it to the light,

slipped it on, a perfect fit, my mother’s solis oculus,

her petals furled at dusk, containing what we cannot know.

I never knew its provenance, never saw her wear it, 

but I will wear her ring, shining new, hold it to the light.

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.

Breton Girl Spinning

                   after Paul Gauguin, 1889

She came out of the breadfruit tree,

a breadfruit body, 

fruit of the bread, the wine, a Breton girl

She wants to spin a path to the sky,

calls her angel to send her wings -

wings to match her apron of rose,  

wings like the russet sails of fishing boats.

She calls for cinnamon wings to fly her away

into the lapis-blue sky of her dress.

Then she'll leave the cowly dog, the dogged cow,

the thatched roof and the narrow fields

with their orange and brown, creams and greens

she’ll leave the shadow of her breadfruit tree. 


published poems etc 


'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 'Vision' competition, 2020; Momaya International Poetry Competition, 2019


Winchester, 2020; Artlyst, 2020; Momaya, 2019; Sentinel, 2016


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

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


Segora, 2020; Acumen, 2020; Torbay Poetry Prize, 2018; Primers 1, 2016; Mslexia 'Memoir' competition, 2014


Red Door Poets

Red Door Poets was set up in 2015.

We are a closed group of established

poets who meet fortnightly in London

and give periodic public readings. 

Chris Hardy

Gillie Robic 

Katie Griffiths

Matthew Paul

Hanne Busck-Nielsen

Elizabeth Horsley

Tom Cunliffe

Beatriz Echeverri

Mary Mulholland