Does your national identity influence you?

M.E. Walsh, in her Creativity Series interview, asked if my national identity influences me. As I’m in the middle of an interview now for NYC’s Brooklyn Rail magazine – in which we examine the contentious concepts of exile and liminality – it dawned on me that the idea of national identity is integral to this…

Sacré Coeur & Wound Man

Sacré Coeur & Wound Man (First published in The Cincinnati Review, Issue 15.1, 2017) A painting of the Virgin hangs at the foot of my bed. She wears her sacré coeur like a brooch, fastened with a sword through her chest. Mary’s sacred heart is crowned with flowers, just as gravestones are. I wish I…

Laughter & Forgetting

     (First published in Cutbank, 2018) Then it came, real laughter, total laughter, taking us into its immense tide. Bursts of repeated, rushing, unleashed laughter, magnificent laughter, sumptuous and mad.                                                    …

Drawing with Blades

Old & new work! The huge Celtic piece was inspired by a drawing I made with a Sharpie when I was a teenager. I have yet to turn every line into two lines, to accentuate the Celtic cross-over effect. It’s so meditative. I need to replace my blade every 10 minutes or so. I love…

Still Lifes in our Artists’ Loft

My treasures aren’t worth anything but mean the world to me. The paper-cut oak leaves were collected on a stroll up to the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte last year. I love cutting shapes into dried leaves – so ephemeral, they promise to rip and turn to mulch on the studio floor. I love…

My own Nijinsky Faun

                                       These nymphs, I would perpetuate them.                                                            …

The Democracy of Night

  I just came across some old poems of mine in FRIGG and I’m astounded again by the journal’s wispy, dreamy aesthetic. It’s not often that poets have a visual sensibility, which is odd, seeing as metaphors and imagery are our stock and trade.  I thought I’d share a couple of these old (revised) poems…

Tumbling Down the Rabbit Hole…

Tonight I was looking for an essay of mine that was published in Cutbank last year, and all these hits came up… I’m so pleased to find so many quotes of my work that have been posted and reposted on Tumblr and various blogs, etc. All night I’ve tumbled into the Tumblrsphere. For instance, a…

A Geography of the Heavens

The working title for my current memoir – a meditation on my exile and love affair – was A Natural History of the Sky – the sky being a running motif throughout the narrative for many reasons (natural history, art history, magical realism, dreams, astrology, etc). With chapter titles ranging from “Miranda Pirouetting on a Zephyr”…

Letting the World Rush in…

I’ve been asked by the founder of the Internations Women’s Empowerment Seminars in Florence to deliver a talk about my solo pilgrimage from Canterbury to the Vatican. I’m so honored, and a bit bashful – to be honest, I didn’t think I’d make it two days along the trail, let alone finish the pilgrimage. This…

We Two, How Long we Were Fool’d

Whitman always says it best. Whatever it is, he says it best. My dad and I just spoke about Whitman, and coincidentally, the next day, I got my copy of Leaves of Grass out of storage and I found a poem that I don’t remember reading, though I must have read it a dozen times….

Tattoo’ed Maps & Dragons – my Inspiration

My poem Mappa Mundi has been published by The Roanoke Review, The editors asked me to write a little bit about the inspiration behind this poem. Mappa Mundi was inspired by my passion for books of antique maps, some of them so large, I could step through them like doors into imaginary, naively drawn worlds. These…

The Weight of Prayer

I’m excited to announce that my poem The Weight of Prayer has been published by The Roanoke Review, a literary journal that was founded by a Pulitzer Prize winner and one of his students; a down-to-earth journal that publishes writers with no previous writing credits as well as well-known writers. The Roanoke Review editors asked…

My First Pilgrimage Was a Scavenger Hunt

My girls made the “please do not remove” note for me years ago when I was suffering from depression and couldn’t get out of bed. It’s one of my most treasured belongings, even though it’s just a ripped piece of paper. It was one of many that lined the streets – secret messages taped to the walls,…

Goldilocks on Pilgrimage

Securing a bed each night on my pilgrimage is an ordeal and a blessing. For a faithless pilgrim such as myself, leaving my bed to fate or luck or chance or serendipity or street smarts or the kindness of strangers is a strange show of faith. 

She’s a whirlwind in a thorn tree…

This is a loose step-by-step of how I’m creating this papercut. I hope you find it useful! My sister, who I’m making this for, said she’d like a picture of a goddess. I took a Johnny Cash lyric as my muse and title of this piece – A Whirlwind in a Thorn Tree – a…

Paper Moth Heaven

Paper Moth Studios is here! I’ve been ankle-deep in cuttings and confetti for quite some time now. I love the mindfulness and meditation of paper cutting; just following lines, cutting space, making way for light to shine through. I’ve been in heaven. What would a paper moth’s heaven be? A lightbulb? I think so; good…

Silk Skirt Ripped from the Lining of an Antique Wardrobe 

  Dupioni silk – stiff, high sheen – has always been used for royalty and wedding dresses. This gorgeous silk lined my antique wardrobe until this weekend. When I bought it, the silk was ripped and hanging loose, threadbare, begging to be stripped. I had just moved to Oxford and vowed to buy a wardrobe so…

Chalk Skulls & Vodka

The Chiltern Hills in England are made of chalk. Friday night Sean collected armfuls of the rocks from a building site that were bound for the skip. Balls of chalk rolled from Sean’s arms onto the kitchen table like dusty skulls. We took them in hand and wrote each other love notes on the house –…

Home-Grown Love Letter

In my Oxfordshire garden in 2012 I spelled out my name and my lover’s name with dandelion leaf, pods, seeds, sweet pea tendrils, and anemone. The neighbor’s horse on the other side of the wall nuzzled me and searched my pockets for fruit as I arranged my foraged love letter. The horse, the wind, and…

let’s go home and cuddle

Cuddling is our favorite pastime. Our ritual, our retreat, tangle of tears, nude knot; our hibernation, hiding place, our fort, our place of worship and horseplay. Our rest and resuscitation. After the year we’ve had, cuddles are necessary as medicine and manna. The cuddle is our mother. It is home. “Let’s go home and cuddle,”…

Echo Borealis

“WHITMAN WOULD HAVE SALUTED THE FEARLESS WAY MHYANA MAKES A SORT OF RELIGION OF THE SENSUAL.”   – Amy Gerstler ECHO BOREALIS: Poems for Ecstatic Visionaries Exiles Outcasts Madmen & Hopeless F*cks who Are Nonetheless Filled with Wonder From a suite of poem-prayers and curses written on the poet’s solo pilgrimage across Europe when she was homeless…