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Mary Ann Samyn

Mary Ann Samyn is the author of five collections of poetry including My Life in Heaven, winner of the 2012 FIELD Poetry Prize (Oberlin College Press, 2013); Beauty Breaks In (New Issues, 2009); Purr (New Issues, 2005); Inside the Yellow Dress (New Issues, 2001); and Captivity Narrative (The Journal Prize/Ohio State UP, 1999). She received her MA from Ohio University and her MFA from The University of Virginia. She is the recipient of the Emily Dickinson Prize from the Poetry Society of America, the James Wright Poetry Award from Mid-American Review, and a Pushcart Prize. She is a professor at West Virginia University. 

By This Poet


Beneath Speech

—She lay very still, looking up at the undersides of words.

Pink was pink all the way through, like any organ might be, 
plucked from the body and held quiet on a little tray—

Night was a starry dish. One side convex, one side concave.

This must be like winter for fish, she thought,
and all the nouns went seamless as ice and slightly opaque.

If she put out her tongue, she might stay there forever.

In the air, the smell of snow like bits of speech—may I
have a little word?, she wondered, because or so to cover me—