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.
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
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
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