Mary Meriam

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Mary Meriam
Mary Meriam in 2017
Mary Meriam in 2017
Passaic, New Jersey, U.S.
OccupationFreelance writer/editor
Alma materBennington College
Columbia University
Literary movementNew Formalism

Mary Meriam (born 1955) is an American poet and editor.[1] She is a founding editor of Headmistress Press, one of the few presses (possibly the only press) in the United States specializing in lesbian poetry.[2]


Mary Meriam was born in Passaic, New Jersey.[3] She earned a B.A. in Poetry from Bennington College and an M.F.A. in Poetry from Columbia University.[4] She has published two full-length collections of poetry and four chapbooks. Three of her books (Word Hot, Conjuring My Leafy Muse, and Girlie Calendar) make up the Lillian Trilogy, which is dedicated to her mentor, Lillian Faderman.[5]

Her first full-length collection, Conjuring My Leafy Muse (2015), was warmly praised by Naomi Replansky, David Bergman, Willis Barnstone, and others; it was nominated for the 2015 Poets' Prize.[6][7][8] Girlie Calendar (2016) has been similarly well received.[7][9] A new collection, My Girl's Green Jacket (2018), was favorably reviewed by several advance readers, including Rhina Espaillat, Rachel Hadas, and Stu Watson.[10]

Meriam founded Lavender Review, an e-zine of lesbian poetry and art, on Gay Pride Day, June 27, 2010.[11] In 2013 she founded Headmistress Press, a lesbian poetry press, with Risa Denenberg.[2]

Her poetry, reviews, and essays have been published widely in literary journals, including Poetry,[12] The Cimarron Review,[13] The Evansville Review,[14] The Gay & Lesbian Review,[15] The Journal of Lesbian Studies, Literary Imagination, Measure, Mezzo Cammin,[13] Rattle,[16] Sinister Wisdom,[17] and The Women's Review of Books;[18] in anthologies, such as Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse,[19] Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters,[20] and Obsession: Sestinas in the 21st Century;[21] and on websites such as the Poetry Foundation,[1] Ms. magazine,[22] and The New York Times.[23]

Meriam often uses traditional forms in her poetry. She invented an original form called "Basic Me" which has been used by other poets, including Catherine Tufariello and Marly Youmans.[24][25][26]


Full-length poetry collections:

  • My Girl's Green Jacket, Headmistress Press, 2018
  • Girlie Calendar, Headmistress Press, 2014
  • Conjuring My Leafy Muse, Headmistress Press, 2013


  • The Lesbian, Seven Kitchens Press, 2016
  • Word Hot, Headmistress Press, 2013
  • The Poet's Zodiac, Seven Kitchens Press, 2011
  • The Countess of Flatbroke, Modern Metrics, 2006

Honors and awards[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Mary Meriam". Poetry Foundation. January 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Headmistress Press". Poets & Writers.
  3. ^ Ager, Deborah; and Silverman, M. E. The Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry, p. 150. Bloomsbury Publishing USA, 2013. ISBN 9781441183040. Accessed December 26, 2017. "Mary Meriam - Born in Passaic, New Jersey in 1955, she has published essays, reviews, and poems appearing recently in The New York Times, Poetry Foundation, American Life in Poetry, Measure, Mezzo Cammin, Bridges, Light, Think, and Sentence."
  4. ^ Editorial Submission, Haworth (2002). "About the Contributors". Harrington Lesbian Fiction Quarterly. 3 (2): 127–130. doi:10.1300/J161v03n02_13.
  5. ^ "Seasonal Revelations of the Self: A Review of Mary Meriam's Girlie Calendar by Mindy Kronenberg". Weave Magazine.
  6. ^ "Review of Conjuring My Leafy Muse". Foreword Reviews.
  7. ^ a b c "Read a F*cking Book: 'The Lillian Trilogy'". Autostraddle. February 25, 2016.
  8. ^ "Praise for Conjuring My Leafy Muse". Mary Meriam.
  9. ^ "Jenna Le: 'Hard-Ridden Heart'—Mary Meriam's The Lillian Trilogy". Poetry Northwest. March 24, 2016.
  10. ^ "My Girl's Green Jacket". Mary Meriam. December 10, 2017.
  11. ^ "Lavender Review: Lesbian Poetry & Art". Lavender Review.
  12. ^ "Dictionary of Owl by Mary Meriam". Poetry Foundation.
  13. ^ a b "Mary Meriam: The Lesbian". Seven Kitchens Press. 2016-09-22.
  14. ^ "Archives". The Evansville Review.
  15. ^ "Mary Meriam". The Gay & Lesbian Review.
  16. ^ "Mary Meriam". Rattle.
  17. ^ "Sinister Wisdom 66: Lesbians and Activism". Sinister Wisdom.
  18. ^ "November/December 2017". Women's Review of Books.
  19. ^ Bauer, Grace; Kane, Julie, eds. (2017). Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Lost Horse Press. ISBN 978-0998196336.
  20. ^ Finch, Annie; Oliver, Alexandra, eds. (2015). Measure for Measure: An Anthology of Poetic Meters. Penguin Random House. ISBN 9780375712487.
  21. ^ Krysl, Marilyn, ed. (2014). Obsession: Sestinas in the 21st Century. University Press of New England. ISBN 9781611685299.
  22. ^ "Mary Meriam". Ms. magazine.
  23. ^ "Poetry Pairing". The New York Times. July 29, 2010.
  24. ^ "Basic Me". Mary Meriam.
  25. ^ Tufariello, Catherine. "A Lexicon". Mezzo Cammin.
  26. ^ Youmans, Marly. "Glossary by Twilight". Mezzo Cammin.
  27. ^ "Pushcart Prize Nominations". SWWIM. December 1, 2017.
  28. ^ "2016 Over the Rainbow List". American Library Association. 2016-01-19.
  29. ^ "A call for sonnets". The San Diego Reader. April 27, 2016.
  30. ^ Cavalieri, Grace. "June 2014 Exemplars". Washington Independent Review of Books.

External links[edit]