If you would like to send your remembrance of Mary MacRae, for inclusion on the website, we would be very pleased to receive it. Please send it from here.
Mary was known to many contemporary poets who admired her work and her support of fellow poets as well as valuing her friendship.
When the editors of Brittle Star invited articles, remembrances and poems for their Tribute to Mary MacRae (Issue 24, Autumn 2009), they filled 15 pages with contributions from 21 poets.
Lucy Hamilton, a friend and colleague of Mary for many years, wrote in her In Memoriam article (later reproduced with Brittle Star’s permission in ARTEMISpoetry, Issue 3), that working with Mary “was a hugely enriching and rewarding experience.” and that Mary “had a lightly-worn breadth of knowledge and a natural authority.”
Read Jacqueline Gabbitas – “Introduction”
Read Lucy Hamilton – “A Tribute to Mary MacRae”
Read Myra Schneider on “Working with Mary”
Read Dilys Wood “On Publishing Mary”
Several of the contributors had already written poems in Mary’s memory, such was the effect her death had on those of her contemporaries who admired her.
Read poems by: Linda Black, Martyn Crucefix, Mick Delap, Mimi Khalvati, Kate Ling, Ruth O’Callaghan, Anna Robinson, Jeremy Solnick, Anne Stewart and Jill Townsend.
Mrs MacRae taught me English GCSE at JAGS. I just wanted to say that I think of Mrs MacRae often. I absolutely loved my GCSE English lessons with her and still remember them very vividly (they would have been in 1996 to 1998). I also remember her mixed disappointment and disapproval when I said I was going to do science A levels rather than English! Several of the books we read in her classes are still absolute favourites on my bookshelf, annotated and very well-thumbed. I’m no natural poet, but I even enjoyed composing poetry for her festival, which looking back was such a wonderful occasion. We corresponded for some time after I left JAGS in 2000 and I was so sorry to hear she’d passed away. I am very grateful for all she taught me and the real love for literature that she passed on to us all.
As a friend of Brockley & Ladywell Cemetary – Foblc – I helped to co-lead guided walks through the cemetary. We often pass Mary’s final resting place with Wordsworth’s words memorably inscribed on her headstone. Knowing a little more of her poetry collections will now enable a longer stop to reflect and remember her life and work.
In Roger Moulson’s remembrance, he recalls a “remarkable account of the dance by a neighbour’s Downes daughter at a party full of pleasure and happiness”. His final comment simply “A lovely woman and a very fine poet.”
Read remembrances by Maggie Butt, Karen Green, Sue MacIntyre and Derrick Porter.
With thanks to the Editors of Brittle Star for their permission to republish “How Will You Live? A Tribute to Mary MacRae” in its entirety.
from Issue Twenty Four / Autmn 2009
© Brittle Star and with the contributors
Brittle Star is a fantastic not-for-profit little magazine with a reputation for publishing talented writers at the beginning of their careers, and reflects a flourishing creative scene across the UK and beyond. Each issue is filled with fresh new poetry, short stories, articles, and regular features including close-readings and interviews with established writers.
“Over ten years, Brittle Star has created a vibrant new platform for emerging writers of poetry and fiction and, invaluably, for new readers too.” – Mimi Khalvati