Sunday, June 23, 2024

"In ‘Look to the Crocus’ Marion McCready truly and vitally does dwell in poetry and produces a work of both necessity, illumination and efflorescence as well as spiritual and aesthetic pleasure."

I was delighted to read this thoughtful and generous review by Richie McCaffery of Look to the Crocus in the Association for Scottish Literature's The Bottle Imp magazine. A gift to be read with such careful, intuitive understanding.

Tuesday, May 07, 2024

Voices from the Blog – in collaboration with Mary Evans Picture Library

Online (Zoom) Poetry Reading organised and hosted by Irena Hill

Picture 10438415,
illustration by Julie Wolfthorn
Jugend, September 1898,
image copyright Mary Evans

14th May at 7PM

Readings by Natan Barreto, David Bottomley, Wendy French, Sue Hubbard, Maggie MacKay, Marion McCready, Hugh McMillan and Jill Sharp. 

I was always happy to contribute poems over the years to the wonderful Mary Evans Picture Library Poems and Pictures Blog founded and curated by the lovely Gill Stoker who was always a delight to communicate and work with. 

Sadly, Gill passed away earlier this year. However, I'm pleased to be part of an online poetry reading in celebration of Gill's work with the Picture Library in creating this wonderful collection of poems matched with pictures.

Further information about the reading and how to attend can be found here.

Thursday, December 07, 2023

Poetry for Christmas...

Looking for Christmas gift ideas??? 

Look to the Crocus is available to buy from here - Look to the Crocus 

Or signed copies can be purchased directly from myself, email me at -

Sunday, September 10, 2023

 It's nearly here!

It's been a long journey getting to this point with Look to the Crocus but I'm delighted with it. 

Through the creating and editing process, the manuscript has gone through many shapes and forms like a snake shedding skin. The final result is a tripart collection: Flowers & Trees, The Long Water, and Mother Moon, and each section is prefaced with a quote from Theodore Roethke. 

It contains my versions of Scottish ballads, close encounters with nature, my relationship with the Firth of Clyde, and elegies to my parents. The presiding poets include Roethke, Transtromer, Plath, W.S. Graham, Sujata Bhatt and D.H. Lawrence.

The cover art was created by Irish artist Brigid Collins after I met her in a special garden.

John Killick was central to bringing this book to publication and I'm hugely grateful for his support for my work. 

Friday, June 16, 2023

Unexpected delays has meant the publication of Look to the Crocus has yet to materialise and, quite honestly, I've no idea when it will... Putting together the collection now feels like a project from the distant past.

However, my writing is moving on. I've moved into dabbling with writing creative non-fiction essays over the last few months and I'm thoroughly enjoying the space to write in essay form yet with the feeling of the work coming together in a way not too differently from when a poem comes together. And I may be finding my way into writing poems in a different way from before too, it's too early to say if the poems are working out but I'm enjoying the process. 

I suppose I had become quite bored with my usual approach to writing, it was becoming 'samey' / repetitious, no sense of tapping into anything new. 

Anyway, here are a couple of poems published since my last update - 'The Branches of my Heart are Steel Wire' in The Manhattan Review, and 'Salt and Peat on my Tongue' in Atrium Poetry which can be read here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

And then it was December...

Life moves on, sometimes in ways hard to fathom. The months pass quickly but weeks can last forever.

As usual, keeping a record here of publications. I've had a few poems published recently. It feels like the waiting times for magazine submissions has vastly increased over the last few years. I'm guessing there are more folk writing and submitting poems now than ever before. 

I have a couple of poems in the lastest issue of Stand Magazine, a couple of poems in Ofi Press issue 71 which you can read here. And, I'm particularly pleased to have a poem in the latest issue of The Manhattan Review.

Quite probably the last poems in magazine publication from my next poetry collection, Look to the Crocus, before it is due out in Springtime (may Spring come quickly). 

I'm going through various drafts of my forthcoming collection, editing and cutting poems from it. I have way too many poems. It's a pleasant process to be absorbed in, particulary in these wintry cold days. 

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

New bumper issue of Northwords Now is out with a couple of my poems in it. Always a pleasure to have work in Northwords Now which is freely distributed across Scotland and every edition fully available to read online which you can access here. Lots of poems, short stories, non-fiction writing and book reviews from across Scotland, a fab read! 

So, Look to the Crocus is due to be published spring next year and my manuscript is now pretty much ready for publication. It's nice to be able to sit the ms aside for a sort of resting period which means I can go back to it closer to publication with fresh eyes. 

This also means I have the sort of feeling of a blank slate in front of me for new writing...!

Friday, April 15, 2022

Life is very busy and although poetry has taken a back seat, it is always going on in the background. Plans of a third collection to come out next year, a few poems published, daydreams about what to write next...

This Spain-inspired poem appeared on Ink, Sweat & Tears a while back.

A few poems from my Van Gogh sequence were published in the recent Poetry Salzburg Review.

I'm occasionally contacted by people who have been moved by one of my flower poems and it's nice to know that my poems are out there and working their way into occasional lives despite my minimal active involvement in the current poetry scene. 

I'm so enjoying the work of Matthew Sweeney at the moment, it has taken me a while to really get on board with his poems but I'm seeing possibilities in his work that could potentially help me move on in my writing. I absolutely love his poem The Owl

Monday, November 01, 2021

I was unable to attend a recent launch event at the Scottish Poetry Library for Beyond the Swelkie anthology in celebration of George Mackay Brown so was asked to contribute a video reading of my poem to be played at the event instead and here it is!

It was lovely to receive my contributor copy of Marble Poetry Magazine with a poem in it I wrote about my counselling room! The magazine is  beautifully put together and is filled with poems and reviews, copies can be purchased here.

I've been invited to read my poems to an Edinburgh-based 'Poem and Plant Hunters' group run by artist, Brigid Collins, who is the artist-in-residence at the secret treasure that is Dr Neil's Garden in Edinburgh. 

I've had such a pleasant time looking out 'plant-themed' poems to read and was surprised to see that I have even more flower poems in the manuscript for my new collection than in my previous collections!

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Relieved to be past the height of summer - always feel not quite myself in summer and the quiet space for writing poetry disappears in the busy summer months. 

I now feel, in the back-to-school lull, the autumn urge to write falling over me and I'm preparing for it by reading a poet who is new to me and I'm utterly bowled over by her poems - Mary Szyblist. Always a joy to come across a new poet whose poems feed and inspire. Not just her themes of nature, spirituality, female experience; but her hard, crisp imagery, her music, the bringing together of metaphysical and the sensual external world reminds me of Akhmatova.  

I find myself looking again for a large theme to work within and to write a series of poems around rather than going from writing opportune poem to poem. 

It's been lovely to have poems in two Scottish anthologies that have come out this summer: Summer Anywhere published by Dreich (a new and very dynamic press on the Scottish poetry publishing scene), a bumper anthology containing poems by around 200 poets. 

And Beyond the Swelkie edited by Jim Mackintosh & Paul S. Philippou, published by Tippermuir Books and is a collection of prose and poems to celebrate the centenary of the birth of George Mackay Brown.
Click on the links for more info on both books.

I've also had a few poetry acceptances (in the midst of several rejections!!), especially pleased to have some poems taken for Stand literary mag where I've never published before, they will appear in the magazine sometime next year.

Sunday, April 11, 2021

It was lovely to receive a parcel from Athens last month with my contributor copy of a selection of Scottish poetry translated into Greek. The anthology contains poems from Niall Campbell, Penny Boxall, Stewart Sanderson, Janette Ayachi amongst others. Now I know what my name looks like in Greek!

I've been reading poems by the Polish poet Adam Zagajewski. I attended his zoom reading recently as part of the StAnza poetry festival online, which was really great. Then sadly he passed away just over a week later. It's an oddly different experience reading someone's poems just after they've died, as if all of their poems now take on the spectre of elegy regardless of what the poem is about. 

I was asked to contribute a poem inspired by George Mackay Brown to a book coming out this year celebrating the centenary of his birth. So I spent a very pleasant few days reading through my collected GMB which I hadn't done for a while and wrote a poem inspired by a line from his poem 'Beachcomber'.

It's an odd place to be - at the end of a collection of poems and inevitably at the start of another. Plus the process of submitting to publishers and the endless cycle of acceptance / rejection and re-submission endemic to writing and publishing. The endless waiting for responses... such a slow process.

Except for a few intense writing spells, last year was not a hugely productive poetry writing year for me. I hope this year will be different and I've certainly found myself writing my way though this month so far and seemed to have, without planning to, joined in with national poetry writing month! Lots of dross coming out but I'm long enough in the tooth to know, if I persevere, I'll get past the dross. 

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Mary Evans Picture Library/John Maclellan
I don't think about the old world now - pre-covid life - in fact it barely crosses my mind. I'm living in the here and now, taking each day, each week with its own plans, expectations, pressures and commitments. I'm lucky to have enough in my life to occupy me during this slow snail's pace existence. I have essays to write, reading to do, children to look after, counselling commitments, a dog to walk. The days and weeks are ticking by in ultra-slow motion. I dare not look ahead to the end of this lockdown or imagine life beyond covid - that would make the present unbearable. 

I stopped my ekphrastic writing spree at twenty poems and have since culled three from the sequence of poems as not up to standard. But the remaining seventeen poems I'm happy with! I recently re-read Sharon Olds' beautiful collection Stag's Leap and I so much admire how she shines a light on the tiny, mostly unnoticed moments in daily life and relationships and yet which encapsulates the essence of those relationships.  

Being called 'young' in the poetry world has a decidedly different meaning from how the rest of the world defines 'young'! So bearing that in mind I'm happy to have a selection of poems translated into Greek in a newly published anthology of contemporary young Scottish poets (featuring also some genuinely young Scottish poets!!). 

I have a poem showcased on the Mary Evans Poems and Pictures blog which you can read here.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

So amidst the madness of Christmas seasonal whatnot's, I've managed to write eighteen poems over this last week or so in a series of poems I've called the Van Gogh Variations. They are loosely ekphrastic poems based on paintings by Van Gogh but really, in many of the poems, just using the paintings as a jumping off point and following the poems where ever they go. They are odd little poems, incredibly absorbing and pleasurable to work on. And I'm learning a lot about the life and works of Van Gogh as I go along!

After a year of writing very little (the pandemic has not at all been conducive to my writing) working within these rhyming quatrains and couplets has released me to write. I hope to keep writing many more in this sequence of poems and I'm excited to see how far I get! 

Saturday, December 19, 2020

I've been surprised to find myself having written eight short poems in the last two days as part of a, hopefully, much longer sequence of poems inspired by my reading of Durs Grunbein's book-length sequence Porcelain and Joseph Brodsky's sequence A Part of Speech.

Each poem in my sequence is ten lines long with an ababcdcdee rhyme scheme. I can't remember the last time I worked in such a regular form and although I'm not keeping to a regular meter or syllable count in each line, all the lines are fairly long and roughly the same length. It's been a mental pleasure to work within the rhyming scheme and great to move away from the more intensely lyrical poetry I normally write. 

I absolutely love Porcelain, translated by Karen Reeder. Aside from the actual poems, it's a beautiful book inclusive of notes on the poems by Grunbein himself. It's a sequence of forty-nine poems about the destruction of Dresden by the allied forces during WW2. The poems of course are wonderful, fascinating, intriguing, informative, elegiac, questioning, all in Grunbein's stylish and ironic way of writing. It also includes photos of Dresden and artifacts mentioned in the poems. Only now translated into English, the poems are not recent works of Grunbein and proved controversial when they were first published in German in 2005. 

Thursday, November 26, 2020

So I feel I may have finally completed the manuscript for my third poetry collection. 

My idea earlier this year of splitting the collection into three parts each prefaced with a quote has been abandoned! I have come up with a new book title (and feel fairly set on it) - googled it and checked on Amazon to make sure there were no other books by that title. 

The spirit of Transtromer has been my guiding poet through many of these poems - in fact I wonder if I'll ever be able to write a poem again without having his work open in front of me for inspiration! 

Undoubtedly I'll probably add a few more poems to it between now and eventual publication - whenever that may be - but right now it feels pretty complete. 

And I feel set free to do something different...change direction...have a new focus in my poems. Perhaps a large scale project of some sort...I like the idea of having a specific book-length project for my next book. 

However, the immediate focus is on submitting my manuscript to poetry publishers, tricky... as many are not accepting submissions at the moment because their publishing schedule has been disrupted by Covid. 

However, my baby is ready to be sent out into the world, and it's an exciting place to be!

Monday, November 02, 2020

I recorded my poem 'Apple Trees' for a new podcast - Salon B- produced by Berghahn Books. The poem was first published in the academic journal Critical Survey and was inspired by folklore associations of the life of a newborn being inextricably linked to the fortunes of a newly planted tree. You can hear me read my poem at around 50/51 mins here

I've been enjoying reading through the new biography of Sylvia Plath: Red Comet by Heather Clark. You'd think there couldn't possibly be anything left worth saying about Plath and her life that's not already been (excuse the pun) done to death. However, and I'm only about a third of the way into it, my feeling is this will be a fairly definitive, balanced, more objective and fuller examination of Plath's life in the context of her time than has been previously achieved. Plus it's always a pleasure to escape into a literary biography especially during these weird times. 

Tuesday, October 06, 2020

I was delighted to read a very kind review of Madame Ecosse in the latest issue of The North magazine. The reviewer, John Killick, very kindly sent me a copy of the magazine via my local bookshop as it turned out he had bought my book actually here in Dunoon during a visit to the area! Anyway it was a very pleasant and unexpected surprise since Madame Ecosse has been out for over three years now. 

I was also very happy to have a poem commended in the Buzzwords Poetry Competition judged by Penelope Shuttle. I've always been an admirer of Shuttle's poems and to have a poem of mine read and commented on by her in the judges report is such a pleasure to me. My poem 'The Telephone Box' can be read here alongside the winning poems. I particularly love Penny Boxall's beautiful runner-up poem. 

Thursday, September 03, 2020

I recorded another video poem for Hugh McMillan's fab #plagueopoems series which are now being showcased weekly by Dumfries & Galloway and Renfrew libraries.
A poem I wrote for my daughter, 'Her Hair is a Landscape of its Own', is in the recent issue of the London Grip and can be read here.

It's been a slow return to writing after effectively a five-month summer holiday for the kids. And summer holidays have never been a productive writing time for me. I've been reading Wendell Berry's The Peace of Wild Things and I'm enjoying the quiet simplicity of the poems, the drawing back to silence as I get to experience silence at home again. I've also been re-reading Michael Hamburger's excellent book The Truth of Poetry which I've written about before. It's helping me come back to writing and thinking about what kind of poems I want to write, for what purpose, and how I conceive of my writing in terms of the tradition of poetry and how that translates into poetry of the present. I wrote a poem about cobwebs this week - my first completed poem since April!