Two collections of Mary’s poetry have been published, both by Second Light Publications: As Birds Do (2007) and Inside the Brightness of Red, a posthumous collection published in 2010, which contains an Afterword by her tutor and mentor, Mimi Khalvati. Work from and reviews of both collections are offered here – see Poems and Reviews – in the hopes of engendering greater awareness and appreciation of her poetic skill and accomplishment.
In her Afterword to this second, posthumous, collection of poetry by Mary MacRae, Mimi Khalvati says of these poems, ‘We cannot read Mary without becoming her, so strong is her empathy with all living things, so intense her desire to be fully alive, so palpable her sense of mortality.’ The wide range of poems here includes poignant work written when she was terminally ill but also beautiful lyric poems about childhood, youth, relations with parents, marriage, friendship and her responses to art and nature.
ISBN: 978-0-9546934-8-0, (96 pp), £8.95 + £1.50 p&p.
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Read Mimi Khalvati’s Afterword
Mary MacRae’s first poetry collection. Her work had been published in journals and many anthologies. She lived in London but had travelled widely and had close connections with Kent and West Wales. Outer landscapes in city and countryside are often the entry point to the inner, spiritual landscape explored in her poems.
ISBN: 978-0-9546934-3-5, (68 pp), £7.95. NOW OUT OF PRINT
Entering the Tapestry (ed Mimi Khalvati), Enitharmon Press, 2003, ISBN 1-900564-48-3
Four Caves of the Heart (ed Myra Scheider & Caroline Price), Second Light Publications, 2004, ISBN 0-9546934-0-x
And the Story Isn’t Over… (ed Prof Dr Lidia Vianu & Anne Stewart), poetry p f, 2009, ISBN 978-0-9552040-1-2. The anthology takes its title from a line of Mary’s poem Life Story which appears in the anthology. (
Forward Book of Poetry 2011, Faber & Faber, 2011
i.m. Mary MacRae, Issue 3, November 2009
Poem – Issue 1, November 2008
Tribute to Mary MacRae, Issue 24, Autumn 2009
Mary has a great deal of work published in Magma and the majority of this is available to view at the Poetry Library’s Poetry Magazines website. Once you’ve clicked on the link simply use their Search function to look for “MacRae”. One of the links (Issue 34) is to Mary’s poem Virgin and Child which also has a recording of it. As far as we are aware, this is the only recording of Mary reading one of her own poems. Listen here
Poems – Issues 9, 10 & 11, 1997; Issue 13,1998; Issues 14 & 15, 1999;
Issue 16 & 17, 2000; Issue 19, 2001; Issue 21, 2001;
Issue 23, 2002; Issues 28 & 29, 2004; Issue 32, 2005;
Issue 34, 2006; Issue 41, 2008;
Mary’s first collection, As Birds Do reviewed by Rob A MacKenzie, Issue 51, 2008;
Interview with Marilyn Hacker in ‘Presiding Spirits’ series, Issue 28, 2004;
Review of Marilyn Hacker’s Desesperanto, Issue 29, 2004;
Editorial: Issue 12, 1998
Poem – Issue 138 (Jury, shortlisted for Forward Prize)
Poem – Issue 8, 2004
Poem – Issue 54, 2002
The Frogmore Papers:
Poem – Issue 60, 2002
Her prose writing includes a number of interviews with poets and reviews of collections and a biocritical essay on Mimi Khalvati in Twenty-First-Century “Black” British Poets, Gale, 2002.
Mary’ poetry won Scintilla magazine’s Long Poem Competition and joint first prize in the Second Light Poetry Competition.
In 2011, her poem The Clearing was included in the BBC Radio 4 programme Something Understood, an ethical and religious discussion, taking a spiritual theme to ‘explore some of the larger questions in life’ through music, prose and poetry.
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