Wednesday, November 12, 2014, Sacramento, CA: Mary reads poems from Travelers With No Ticket Home with poet Dennis Schmitz. TIME: 3:00 pm. PLACE: Library Gallery, California State University Sacramento, 6000 J Street, Sacramento, CA. Free and open to the public.
On Saturday October 11th at 12:30 pm at Hotel Rex, Mary will read poems from Travelers With No Ticket Home as part of the Litquake event “Off With Your Heads and Off the Richter Scale.” Mary will be reading with Litquake authors Judy Berhnard, Maggie Glover, David Koehn, and Aimee Suzara. TIME: 12:20 pm. PLACE: Hotel Rex, 562 Sutter Street, San Francisco, CA (at Powell Street). This event is free and open to the public. Bring a friend!
Thursday, September 25, 2014, San Francisco, CA: Mary Mackey reads her love poems including “The Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 2″ at the launch party for San Francisco musician-songwriter Holly Munoz’s debut album Maps and Lists. TIME: 7:00 pm. PLACE: The San Francisco Institute of Possibility, Private Warehouse on Caesar Chavez at Mission, San Francisco. Mary’s “Kama Sutra of Kindness: Position Number 2″ is recited as “Interlude” on the final track of the Maps and Lists. To purchase tickets to this event, click here. (Holly is so cool that she is recording on vinyl!). Between the sets, Mary will do a short reading of her love poems and other poems from Travelers With No Ticket Home.
A Celebration of the Indigenous Cultures of the Americas at the Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, Sunday September 7, 2014. The Poetry Unbound Reading Series will celebrate the indigenous cultures of the Americas with three very different readers. Kim Shuck, whose ancestors hail from the Tsalagi and Sauk and Fox peoples, will grace us with her woven words and insights. John Paige will present a variety of his expert and gorgeous translations from Nahuatl, language of the Aztecs. And Mary Mackey will share her acclaimed poetic observations from decades of travel in the Amazon. The Poetry Unbound Series is curated by Richard Loranger, Carla Brundage, and Clive Matson. TIME: 5:00 pm. PLACE: Art House Gallery & Cultural Center, 2905 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley CA. The featured readings will be followed by a brief open mic.
Thursday September 5, 2014, Davis CA: Mary Mackey will poems from Travelers With No Ticket Home at the John Natsoulas Center for The Arts. TIME: 8:OO pm. PLACE: John Natsoulas Center for The Arts, 521 First Street, Davis CA (at the corner of E and First). Joining her will be Sacramento poet Andrew Williamson. This reading is curated by Dr. Andy Jones, host of the popular radio show “Doctor Andy’s Poetry and Technology Hour.” (KDVS 90.3). After Mary and Andrew read, there will be an open mic. Free and open to the public.
Read Jonah Raskin’s review of Mary Mackey’s Sugar Zone just published in Culture Counter Magazine by clicking here. Raskin praises the poems in Sugar Zone calling them “fluid, organic,” “magical,” and “tightly designed,” drawing on “the force of the Amazon itself.”
“The poems I like best,” Raskin says, “are about ghosts, hosts, disappearances and reappearances. They embody the richness of Brazil itself that’s inhabited by prowling jaguars and purple snails: the nation that pulses with the blood of the great anaconda and that’s polluted by the smoke of burning rainforests.”
Raskin notes that Sugar Zone “offers apocalyptic poems, private poems and poems about the limits of human expression . . . You might finish the book feeling you’ve made a terrifying and exhilarating journey, that you’ve searched the depths of your own soul and that you’d go back again with the poet herself as guide and translator who dishes out catastrophe and beauty, the sweetness of sugar cane, and the bitterness of Brazil itself.
In 2012, Sugar Zone received the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award for Excellence in Literature.
Mary Mackey Is Now Answering Readers’ Questions at Goodreads.com
Goodreads.com has just launched Ask The Author, a program which allows readers to ask direct questions and get direct, personal answers from their favorite authors. Mary Mackey has accepted Goodreads’ invitation to participate in Ask The Author and is now answering questions about her novels and poetry as well as general questions about the craft of writing, the joy of reading books you can hold in your hands, the digital revolution in publishing, how to get an agent, and other topics her readers are interested in discussing with her. She is also inviting readers to ask her questions about her new Blog Interview Series People Who Make Books Happen. Ask her a question by going to her Goodreads Author Profile Page and scrolling down to Ask The Author.
Other authors who are helping Goodreads launch Ask The Author include: Isabel Allende, Margaret Atwood, Dan Brown, Michael Cunningham, James McBride, Ayelet Waldman, Anne Lamott, Frances Mayes, Michael Pollan, Jeff Kinney, Hugh Howey, Richelle Mead, and Kevin J. Anderson.
To ask Mary question, visit her author’s profile page by clicking here (or use the search box at the top of the Goodreads site to search for “Mary Mackey.”) Scroll down her Goodreads author profile, and you will see a space called Ask the Author. You can also select “More answers from…” to view all of the questions Mary has answered in the past. When Mary answers your question, the question and answer will appear on her profile as well as in the newsfeeds of Mary’s followers, and you will be notified on your Goodreads homepage and by email.
Poet and performance artist Richard Loranger has just given Travelers With No Ticket Home, a rave review in his blog Hawk Eye. Travelers With No Ticket Home is my most recent collection of poetry, published by Marsh Hawk Press in April 2014. To read other reviews of my novels and poetry, you’re invited to visit the Review Page on my website. On the Video Page, you will find recordings of me reading poems from Travelers With No Ticket Home.
Here is Loranger’s review:
REVIEW :: Travelers with No Ticket Home by Mary Mackey
Whenever Mary Mackey writes, she makes worlds. Whether you pick up one of her historical novels (The Notorious Mrs. Winston), her speculative early culture fiction (The Earthsong Trilogy), or her poetry (Sugar Zone and many others), you are guaranteed immersion in a universe that radiates from the focus of action outward. Her latest book of poetry, Travelers with No Ticket Home, is no different, except in that we journey without a guarantee of return. In this collection, Mackey transports us through several scapes, each as vivid as the last though vastly different in and of themselves. As she has in her previous two collections, she takes us through Brazil and into the heart of the Amazon. She travels with us there, but she is no tourist, as she and her husband, a professor of Environmental Studies, have been visiting regularly for over twenty-five years. This is her world, her backyard, a Rio and a rainforest that she knows, and she brings us to it with razor details swimming in verdant language (some of it Portuguese). So soon enough we find ourselves
nesta cidade dos sonhos
in this city of hallucinations
the air is like cola quente / hot glue
and the buildings are stuck waist-deep
in asphalt tão suave / so soft
you can chew it like gum (“Travelers with No Ticket Home”)
suspended on a black mirror that reflects the sky
we pass our fingers through clouds
as if they were the souls of birds (“A Estação das Chuvas / Rainy Season”).
Both very real and, yes, hallucinatory, her tone and word choice convey the impact of the places she deems to take us on several levels at once, the experience steeped in emotions, scents, cultural filters, shocks and epiphanies and the cycle of life lurking in every corner. This terrain is gorgeous and epiphanic, yet Mackey pulls no punches; whether stewing a monkey in cream sauce (everyone’s favorite image from “In Those Days Rivers Could Not Cool Me”) or lamenting for
…this city of despair where the poor live
in cardboard packing crates and children
are born to be shot (“Where I Left You”),
she remains uncompromising in her vivid and deft recounting.
Despite what I’ve said, lest you imagine this merely a travelogue, as the title implies these are places from which we might not leave, or which might not leave us. Perfectly in line with that conceit, this book takes us beyond the physical world to journeys into the affairs of the human heart and spirit. For Mackey also ventures more than a few steps into the experience of madness (via fever, drugs, and the world-beaten brain); explores the deep dusk of grieving, where lost ones “move toward us slowly like swimmers / floating toward the top of a pool that has no surface” (“Dreaming of the Dead We Have Loved”); and lifts us into the more ecstatic realms of human love. These latter pieces are given a section and a series title of their own, The Kama Sutra of Kindness, and it is indeed a kindness to place these toward the end of the book, lightening our journeys after treks through myriad daunting terrains.
There is, in fact, an ecstatic quality to much of this book, regardless of tone and subject, and this is precisely how Mary Mackey seems to travel – by throwing herself into life and place. And as language is itself a vessel, a carriage, a mode of travel, it carries that same excitement, an intoxication by which she transports us into the realms of the jungle, the realms of the mind from which there may be no complete return. As she notes in “After Carnival,” “how easy it is to give ourselves to the gods, o meu bem / how hard to take ourselves back”. Do yourself a well-deserved good, and book a one-way trip with Mary Mackey right soon.
Poet and novelist Mary Mackey is noted for her powerful, moving readings. Nine of her performances, captured on video, are now available on the Video Page of her website. In these videos, Mackey reads poems from her collections Travelers With No Ticket Home (Marsh Hawk Press 2014), Breaking The Fever (Marsh Hawk Press 2006) and Sugar Zone (Marsh Hawk Press 2011) winner of the PEN Oakland Josephine Miles Award. She also talks about her Civil War novel The Notorious Mrs. Winston, reminisces about the legendary Shameless Hussy Press which published her first novel Immersion, and discusses why now is a great time to write poetry in an Author Learning Center webinar.
Although all of Mackey’s poems can be understood by those who only speak English, Mackey sometimes uses Portuguese words to add an extra layer of rhythm and depth. Several of these videos give you a chance to hear how these words are pronounced and to discover how musical Portuguese can be.
These videos of poet novelist Mary Mackey exist thanks to many people including: John Rhodes, who produces and records poetry videos; poet Eileen Malone, and Audrey Daniel founder of Culture Connect TV. You are encouraged to check out more of their work on Youtube and on other sites where videos are shown and to visit the Author Learning Center for videos and webinars about writing.
You are invited to enter the competition for the 2013 Mary Mackey Short Story Prize. Three years ago the National League of American PEN Women created the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize as part of the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition. This contest is open to all writers, published and unpublished. I judge the entries each year and am looking for well-crafted stories that are original and compelling. The winning stories must demonstrate a mastery of and love for the English language. They must move, not wallow. The characters need to be vivid, the dialogue convincing. Above all, something must happen. This need not be a grand event, but some change must take place: an event, a revelation, or perhaps an insight. Please do not submit your story until you have polished and revised it multiple times.
Guidelines for Mary Mackey Short Story Prize from the Soul-Making Keats Literary Competition: Up to 5,000 words. One story per entry. The deadline is November 30th. First Prize is $100; Second Prize $50; Third Prize $25. All prose works must be typed, double-spaced, page numbered, and paper-clipped. Please indicate word count on title page. Do not put your names on your manuscripts; instead, enclose one 3″ x 5″ card typed, affixed with a printed label or carefully hand-printed (if we can’t read your handwriting, there will be problems in our contacting you) with your name, address, phone, fax, email, and title(s) of work(s) and particular category/categories entered. Entries are sent to judges unidentified. Don’t use your real name if referring to yourself in your contest entry.
Please do not send your entries to Mary Mackey (or to Mary Mackey Short Story Prize). Mail all entries to:
The Webhallow House
1544 Sweetwood Drive
Broadmoor Village, CA 94015-2029
Please note: We do not accept electronic (e-mail), special delivery, certified, or registered entries
Category “Short Story” must be indicated on 3″ x 5″ card as well as on manuscript. You may enter as many categories in the Soul-Making Literary Competition as you wish and as many times as you wish but you may not enter the same work in more than one category, nor may you re-enter a work that has previously earned a Soul-Making Keats award.
Previously published works okay; however, those winning awards in prior Soul-Making categories may not be resubmitted. No mss will be returned; no substitutions or revisions of work will be accepted after initial submission.
Entries that do not adhere to the guidelines will be disqualified. Entry fees are nonrefundable.
Winners will be announced and posted on our the Soul-Making Keats website early the following year.
Please enclose $5 per entry payable to NLAPW.
International entrants please send Travelers Check drawn on a USA bank.
Again, please send entries to:
The Webhallow House
1544 Sweetwood Drive
Broadmoor Village, CA 94015-2029
Questions? E-mail SoulKeats@mail.com
Besides the Mary Mackey Short Story Prize, the Keats Soul-Making Literary Competition awards yearly prizes in the following categories: Poetry, Sonnet, Prose Poem, Flash Fiction, Memoir Vignette, Humor, Novel Excerpt, Inter-Cultural Essay, Creative Non-Fiction, Religious Essay, Young Adult Poetry, and Young Adult Prose. An award ceremony honoring the winners is held in San Francisco each spring.