Reviews of Mary MacRae’s poetry

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Anne Cluysenaar

John Killick

Martyn Crucefix

Musing by Moonlight

Myra Schneider

Book Club Comments

In reviewing Inside the Brightness of Red for ARTEMISpoetry Issue 6, Anne Cluysenaar, in a review entitled The Resonance of Simple Things…, begins “The deeper I go into Mary MacRae’s poems the more spacious my own world becomes.”
She refers to Mary’s fascination with “the packed, corrugated, wrinkled, layered, coiled nature of the world” and the “extraordinary acuity with which she observes ‘simple’ realities and turns them into words”
Read Anne Cluysenaar review
by kind permission of the editors of ARTEMISpoetry, Second Light Publications
Reviewing in The North magazine, John Killick speaks of “a reaching out, a yearning even, for what is impossible to achieve (a continuation for someone who was dying) and what is impossible to express (the flux of experience, apprehensions of otherness)” and poems which “on the one hand burgeon with colour, and on the other are filled with images of almost-absence”
Read John Killick review by kind permission of the editors of The North and the Poetry Business
In Martyn Crucefix’s review in Acumen (2011), he refers to her poetry as containing “emotionally-charged, vital identifications with natural creatures and, more profoundly, with the sense that what can sustain us in life must be derived from everyday common objects” and tells us that “MacRae’s visions are almost always peripheral, fleeting, askance. The unfolding of daffodils – which, in a quite different age, Wordsworth could contemplate steadily and then stow away for future use – here can never be more than something ‘waiting for us somewhere in the wings / like angels’ (from Mary’s poem, Daffodils).
Read Martyn Crucefix review
by kind permission of the editors of the editors of Acumen
Jamie Dedes’ popular and respected blog, “Musing by Moonlight”, features an extensive article “MEET POET MARY MacRAE” which includes comment on Mary’s poetry, her poem Elder, and an interview with Dilys Wood of Second Light Publications about Mary’s work. The article was published on the blog in April 2011 and blogging activity continues (at December 2012).
Read article at Musing by Moonlight
Writing specifically for this site about both collections, Myra Schneider highlights the intensity of Mary’s observation, thought and feeling, and how “for me the outstanding feature of her work is its reflection of this intensity and the way it is controlled by brilliant use of form”
Read Myra Schneider review
Book Club comments: As publisher of Mary MacRae’s two collections, Dilys Wood (Second Light Publications) made copies of Inside the Brightness of Red available to Book Clubs and Reading Groups and invited their comments on Mary’s work: “I wanted to discover how book groups round the country might react to a poet, Mary MacRae, whose work is both honed and vivid but does not come packed in media hype.”
Dilys then collated the groups’ responses into her article Report on a ‘Blind Reading’: “We supplied four groups with copies … letting them loose on the challenge of poems which deal with central issues – poems about nature, relationships, creativity, life and death – disclosing her observant, subtle, probing mind …”
The article includes comments from George Abel, Patricia Bloom, Joyce Crawford, Ann Cuthbert, Doris Green, Alan Hall, Audrey Jones, Anthony Magrys, Sandra Moran, Beth Soule, Lucy Vignoles, and Nat Young.
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With thanks to the authors and publishers of these reviews and reflections who have very kindly agreed to permit them to be reproduced here.

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Inside the Brightness of Red cover As Birds Do cover Gannet, illustrated poem card Traherne, illustrated poem card Cyclamen, illustrated poem card