Mary Carroll-Hackett’s work is alive with the language of the heart.
It is angry, sad, celebratory, sexy, erotic, reverent and irreverent in equal degree. The voices on these pages are distinct, and human, and so accessible, you can see the whole world through the prism of these poems. Mary Carroll-Hackett wields the prose poem as a cudgel or a caress, as a song, or a meditation, a prayer or a curse. She is as fine an artist with this form as we have in our time.
~Robert Bausch, author of Far As the Eye Can See, Almighty Me (optioned for film and eventually adapted as Bruce Almighty), A Hole in the Earth (a New York Times Notable and Washington Post Favorite Book of the Year), and Out of Season.
Death for Beginners
Mary Carroll-Hackett’s Death for Beginners unfolds in delicately powerful evocations of the author in communion with the dead still continuing as ghosts woven from the remnants of memory, conversations, songs, shared lives, dreams and love. This book in essence is a multi-layered love story in the great mystical traditions of poetry, from the Song of Songs to the poems of such as Rumi, Hafiz, and Mirabai. Poignant and heartbreaking yet stunningly beautiful, Death for Beginners guides one on a journey of love, death, loss, and ultimately enduring life. In a world that people can treat so cheaply and carelessly, Mary Carroll-Hackett once again gives us a poetry of consoling wisdom and luminous originality.-Susan Deer Cloud, author, Before Language, Car Stealer, and Hunger Moon
In Death For Beginners, Mary Carroll-Hackett gives voice to lingering energies encountered by the poet, while revealing her own deep heart. These poems pierce the veil in keen, finely-wrought language. This is a book for all souls. If we love, we grieve. Carroll-Hackett is light for the earthbound and ethereal, asserting that love surpasses all.-Clare L. Martin, author, Eating the Heart First and Seek the Holy Dark; editor, MockingHeart Review
Mary Carroll-Hackett’s Death for Beginners breaks open a haunted world. Her lyricism and narrative drive resist sentimentality, but bring us into the full force of grief and the acceptance of mortality. We walk with her through rooms and across mountaintops, and cannot help but wonder at the ghosts who may surround us, but we’re just deaf to their voices. She doesn’t give easy answers or any answers at all in her poems. What she does give us is wisdom distilled into stunning imagery that we readers must puzzle out for ourselves. It is death after all, but Mary Carroll-Hackett shows us what it’s like to live with ghosts in a way only poetry can.-Jerry D. Mathes, author, Fever and Guts and Shipwrecks
A Little Blood, A Little Rain
“Mary Carroll-Hackett’s poetry is a spiritual journey of muddy feet and starlight, hunger and fullness—illuminating the ordinary, love, and loss, with deep-rooted wisdom and abiding love.” ~Carmel Mawle, Founder and Director, Writing For Peace
These poems are surrender, transience and impermanence. I am mindful of my own impermanence and I surrender to the flow of Mary’s well-crafted prose poems, as I savor each one before continuing. Her work has depth and many layers, blending the real, surreal and abstract with a memoir feel to it, yet it becomes the reader’s narrative as well. Mary Carroll-Hackett’s poems are poignant, meditative, energetic and fun. She writes with affirmation and celebration, but not without caution, as she warns in her final poem, “There is so much to be dangerous about.”~Jonathan K. Rice, Editor/Publisher, Iodine Poetry Journal, author of Killing Time
Thanks and love to Editor Diane Kistner and all the beautiful folks at FutureCycle Press.
Trailer Park Oracle
This is a book that peers from the edges of wild places: from the flickerings of a French film to the heady thrills of train trestles, from the doorways of long-abandoned houses to the quiet of the vigils at the hospital bed. With a voice both gentle and fierce, Carroll-Hackett’s poems are unafraid to see us as the aching creatures we are, to ask the hard questions of language and loss, not even flinching as they reveal the wonder and pain of our very world like the title poem’s Oracle, “calling them as they played, no cushioning of the blow.” — Amy Tudor, author of A Book of Birds and Studies in Extinction
Thanks and love to the Editor Karen Kelsay Davies and all the beautiful folks
at Aldrich Press!
The Night I Heard Everything
“Mary Carroll-Hackett knows what love means, both for body and soul. She knows about the riches of listening as well as the rewards of watching. For her, looking, listening, and remembering are forms of prayer. With an intense focus on language that is sharp, precise, and rhythmic—she reminds us…”~Peter Makuck
If We Could Know Our Bones
A-Minor Press, 2014
“These prose poems offer us shelter and meaning in the everyday, yet reach out to brush the hair back out of the face of the immortal as if to say, “God, let me see your eyes.” Intimate and strange they occupy a place thumping within the physical human heart and the other heart we cannot fathom.”~ Jerry D. Mathes II
Thanks and love to Editors Nicolette Wong, Walter Bjorkman, and all the beautiful folks at A-Minor Press.
The Real Politics of Lipstick
“This work is unlike any other, in its range of rich, conjuring imagery and its dexterity, its smart voice. Carroll-Hackett doesn’t spare us—but doesn’t save us—she draws a blueprint of power and class with her unflinching pivot: matter-of-fact and tender.” —Jan Beatty
Slipstream Press, Winner 2010 Poetry Competition.
Thanks and love to Editor Dan Sicoli and all the beautiful folks at Slipstream.
Kattywompus Press, 2013
“In her new collection, Animal Soul, Mary Carroll-Hackett does not just give us “the colon before the list of truest things.” She begins that list for us, with poems like “Galileo’s Fingers,” “Six Rules For Devils,” and “This Bread, Those Beans.” ~Sammy Greenspan
Thanks and love to all the beautiful folks at Kattywompus.
Mary Carroll-Hackett earned Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy and Anthropology and a Master’s of Arts in English/Creative Writing from East Carolina University, then went on to earn an MFA in Literature and Writing from Bennington College. Her poetry and fiction have appeared in more than a hundred journals including Carolina Quarterly, Clackamas Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, The Potomac, Reed, Superstition Review, Drunken Boat and The Prose-Poem Project, among others.
Her awards include being named a North Carolina Blumenthal Writer and winner of the Willamette Award for Fiction. Her scripts have won or placed in numerous competitions, including Best Screenplay at Moondance, the Great Lakes Film Festival, Beaufort Film Festival, American Gem, Gimme Credit, the Page Awards, and Wildsound. The National Center for Film in Toronto staged a reading of her script OBX in 2008. She had an O Henry Recommended recognition for her story “Placing.”
Her first chapbook, Three, was released in 2004, and her first collection of stories, What the Potter Said, in July 2005. The Real Politics of Lipstick was named winner of the 2010 annual poetry competition by Slipstream. A chapbook, Animal Soul,was released in 2012 from Kattywompus Press, and a full-length collection, If We Could Know Our Bones, by A-Minor Press in January 2014. Another full collection was released in April 2015, The Night I Heard Everything, from FutureCycle Press, and a chapbook, Trailer Park Oracle, from Aldrich Press in February 2016. Another full collection, A Little Blood, A Little Rain, from FutureCycle Press was released in April 2016. Her most recent collection of prose poems, Death for Beginners, was released October 31, 2017, from Kelsay Books.
Mary founded and for ten years edited The Dos Passos Review, Briery Creek Press, and The Liam Rector First Book Prize for Poetry. She also founded and serves as the Editor at Large of HeartWood Literary Magazine. She is a member of the Board for Writing for Peace, an international organization dedicated to promoting empathy and peaceful activism through Creative Writing. Check out Writing for Peace here!
Mary regularly teaches workshops and seminars on Writing Through the Chakras, Writing the Spiritual Life, Writing Prayer, Writing the Body, and Writing the Mother, and Intensive Promptathon workshops.
She has taught writing for twenty years, and in 2003, founded the Creative Writing programs, undergraduate and graduate, at Longwood University in Farmville, VA, serving as Program Director of those programs until Fall 2011. She also teaches as low-residency faculty for the MFA program at West Virginia Wesleyan.
Mary is currently at work on a novel.