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Mary Leader

Mary LeaderMary Leader has been the recipient of two major awards, the National Poetry Series and the Iowa Poetry Prize, and has published four collections of poetry, in the United States with Graywolf Press and University of Iowa Press, and in Britain with Shearsman Books.

Her most recent collection, She Lives There Still, came out from Shearsman in 2018. There, the reader will encounter Leader’s characteristic passions for form and for variety. But the book also affords a tightly organized demonstration of what The New Yorker called Leader’s “quite remarkable sensibility, which is one of the most self-possessed in contemporary poetry.”

Mary Leader began writing poems in the midst of a career as a lawyer in her home state of Oklahoma. She made a second career teaching poetry as well as literature and law and is currently Professor Emerita at Purdue University. She has returned to Oklahoma to live and means to stay there from now on.

About She Lives There Still

She Lives There Still

She Lives There Still is Mary Leader’s second collection with Shearsman Books. In some senses, it is an extension of her previous Shearsman volume, Beyond the Fire, in that it reinforces what John Muckle in PN Review described as “The overall impression is of a mind that’s acute, musical and subtle being brought to bear on everyday life.” In other senses, it seeks radically to complicate any concept of the everyday to account for wisdom, but be warned, it is a peculiar wisdom.

The “she” of the title is from a Mother Goose rhyme, but two key series (‘A Warty Chin’ and ‘A Withy Hut’) and between them a key sequence (‘Cornucopia of Arcadia’) could also be called ‘Crone Cards.’ An initiating question asks: “And, well, should she rule for mythology / versus history? What material / difference is there?” And, well, seventy pages later, questions are still being asked: “Who are we, so / physically new?”

Throughout, the reader will encounter Leader’s characteristic passions for form and for variety. But the book also affords a tightly organized demonstration of what The New Yorker called Leader’s “quite remarkable sensibility, which is one of the most self-possessed in contemporary poetry.”