“I knew Mary MacRae as a member of a poetry workshop we both attended in north London. She came to writing poetry late and published just two collections – As Birds Do (2007) and (posthumously) Inside the Brightness of Red (2010) both from Second Light Publications. Her poem Jury … (follow link above to read whole article)
Mary MacRae was a fine poet who died of cancer in 2009. Her poetic influence was considerable, not only through her teaching and her editorial work at Magma poetry magazine, but through the support she gave to others and through her poetry, though she wrote only during the last fifteen years of her life.
Read more about Mary by Lachlan MacRae
Contribute your Remembrance / Appreciation here
For evidence of this influence, we have only to look at the level of appreciation in reviews of Mary’s work or the 15-page article How Will You Live? A Tribute to Mary MacRae in Brittle Star magazine (Issue 24, Autumn 2009), to which 21 poets contributed articles and remembrances and poems written for or in remembrance of Mary.
Read Brittle Star article
Her poetry is of both personal and academic interest, as her work embraced traditional forms as well as more modern styles and is “greatly admired by those who give proper attention to its exceptionally well-honed, accurate, thoughtful and eventful character…” (Dilys Wood, Second Light Publications, writing in Brittle Star, Issue 24).
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 both collections are offered here in the hopes of engendering greater awareness and appreciation of her poetic skill and accomplishment.
Read Mimi Khalvati’s Afterword
July 2014: During the course of 2013, Dilys Wood (Second Light Pubications) invited book club ‘blind readings’ of Mary’s posthumous collection, Inside the Brightness of Red and found the comments made both poignant and touching. She has collated the results into an article, of which more here.
Her poem Jury, both painful and deeply-perceptive and which first appeared in Orbis poetry magazine and then in her first collection, was shortlisted for the Forward Poetry Prize and subsquently published in the Forward Decades of Poems anthology in 2011.