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Mary Ann Mayer

The birch in the photo fell in wind-driven snow on the first day of Spring, but Mary Ann is alive & well.  Mary Ann’s chapbook Salt & Altitudes was published in 2014 by Finishing Line Press.  She’s also the author of Telephone Man, setting her dad’s trade tales into free verse—(dedicated to he who taught her to climb trees, but more importantly, how to climb back down).  (Telephone Man available thru Amazon here.)

Mary Ann is drawn to the pastoral tradition & its illusion of idyll.  She also writes from her love of homo ludens (playful human), believing poesis is play, and play, beauty.  She’s drawn to the (seriously playful) ethos of The Origami Poems Project and enjoys making and distributing micro-chapbooks.  She volunteers with the arts-outreach group, Ocean State Poets, bringing poetry to marginalized communities.

Her poems appear widely in literary journals, most recently in the anthology Missing Providence (Frequency Writers).  Awards include Boston’s Grub Street poetry prize, Tupelo Press and River Styx finalist, and honorable mention in Bauhan Publishing’s May Sarton Book Contest.

Mary Ann’s proudest poetry moment came when her German translation of Leonard Nathan’s poem, “From The Mountain” was installed in the Avalanche Museum in Galtür, Austria—a museum inside an avalanche wall surrounding the village where thirty-eight people died in 1999.

A retired occupational therapist and avid mountaineer, Mary Ann lives with her husband Pete and dog Ezra Hound in southeastern Massachusetts and the White Mountains of New Hampshire.

Mary Ann's Origami micro-chapbooks & selected poems are available below. Download & Print each single-page micro-chapbook (formatted as a PDF) by clicking the title.  To read the 'Selected Poem(s)', also click the title(s).

Origami Micro-chapbook 

Selected Poem(s)

IVORY in Connecticut  

Cover Design by Carl Peter Mayer
Images from the Web

“Through 1954, Connecticut was the largest
importer of tusks anywhere in the world.
One adult African elephant tusk of 75 lbs.,
properly milled, could yield the
wafer-thin ivory veneers to cover
the keys of 45 pianos.”
(CT history.org)

{mooblock=Opening Lines}

Start with middle C
and play it back thru time, thru
the juke, the clap, the hand, the cry

back through a century
of sheet music, cannons, Yankee Doodle,
ragtime in living rooms—
                            the middle-class pastime,
before radio and gramophones
and talkies…

Play it down, down,  
through cakewalks and marches,
Burning mobs, “coon songs”, lynchings,
“whites only”
and whites in blackface performing…

Mary Ann Mayer © 2015




Cover image from the Web



It’s the way the street corners whisper
and the tail lights answer
as the tall girl, the one with the habit, slips
into the alley
and doors shut before winter lets the cold in

Mary Ann Mayer © 2013



Cover Image of Kestrel from the Web


{mooblock=April Kestrel}

I dive into air.
A kestrel soars alongside.
The day is all mother-of-pearl and ripples.
Why do I feel so
for this bird, his
curve ball world
of vaster space and
intimate gravity?
I’m just a body unlearning itself,
one leap, weightless—
and the axis of the world
tips her wings.
Mary Ann Mayer © 2012



Cover Image from the Web
Dedicated to the
Forever Young Band,
RI's Neil Young tribute band
Slater Park, September 2010

{mooblock=Opening Lines}

It’s always a country fair after sunset,
                     the lights of rides turning on one-
by-one, twinkling in harmony with a
                     watermelon sky spilling sugar-pink
juice into clouds jet, gold, silver-lined.
It’s shooting-stars, still hurricane time,
                     approaching autumn, a fork
in the road. Couples rise in the sky
                     on the turning wheel,
others tilt-and-whirl through calliope music.
Under the tent the band plays. All Neil Young.
                     Some drift away.  She wants to stay
and dance. He wants to slip between
                     the parked cars, down to the river,
lay in golden-rod blaze…
by Girl Friday aka
                     Mary Ann Mayer © 2011


Book created to
support the work of RI Pet Rescue
See our 'Random Acts of Poetry' page
Thanks, Mary Ann Mayer, for
inspiring this collection

{mooblock=Crumb Count}

The old bird dog stands her ground
before the cupboard,
toenails gripping, stick legs splayed out
over scratched linoleum.
She lowers her muzzle,
the color of lumpy Oreos in milk,
to nuzzle for droppings
from Mother Hubbard’s treats.
Though never gentle with cookies,
she’d always been tidy.
Now she leaves half behind.
She’s an old girl
I can’t count her years exactly,
but I can count the crumbs.

Mary Ann Mayer © 2010


To my father, Bob Maitland,
whose stories these are.
Cover design by Carl Peter Mayer
Painting by Bruce Mitchell

{mooblock=Wiring Point Judith}

I was loaned to the line gang
and all winter in the bitter cold
we ran cable
ran one hundred pair two miles
hands freezin working in gloves with no fingers
I climbed every third pole on Point Judith Road
and down the Escape Road
to the water at Great Island
another crew took it from there
laid it underwater
I remember lunch at
George’s of Galilee
how the heat slammed you first
how good that felt
then the chowder

Mary Ann Mayer © 2005 / OPP 2010
    - Excerpted from Telephone Man
      Mary Ann Mayer © 2005
Purchase thru Amazon here


Sculpture and cover photo
by Carl Peter Mayer

{mooblock=Sister Fish}

                  Sisters and fish, my friend
kerplunks, her arms stretched to ten and two,
                  and floats in her sea soup,
under her, green, giggly waves, and over her

                  blue-kissed sky.  This is the purpose
of time (between fish and sisters):
                  going to the beach
and the beach going home with us.

                  Salt in our caruncles,
salt rust in the soap dish, sand in the soap.
                  A throttling wave, a good pumice,
a good slumber under a feather boa of stars.

                 All night long, waves break and
break under the cliff, under the floorboards,
                 and still we pick out a melody  
against the roar.
Mary Ann Mayer © 2010



{mooblock=Hunger Moon}

sounds like a proverb or song
I once heard
about how people should be in love
most of the time,
grateful for ways the body
in moon light, native
or amplified
Mary Ann Mayer © 2010