The Poetry of Mary K. O'Melveny





Mary K O’Melveny lives with her wife, Susan Waysdorf, in Washington DC and Woodstock, New York.  After retiring from a distinguished career as a labor rights lawyer in New York City and Washington DC, where she represented workers, labor unions and political prisoners, she returned to writing poetry – an interest she had not seriously pursued since graduating from Rutgers Law School in Newark, New Jersey in the 1970’s.  Mary grew up in Seattle, Washington, Washington DC and Emmitsburg, Maryland and moved to New York City after graduating from college. She has been active in various labor rights, community service organizations and bar associations.  Mary received many peer-based honors and awards during her long legal career and her extensive legal writing included several scholarly articles for law review journals as well as numerous legal conference papers. 


Mary’s poems have been published in a variety of print and on-line journals, including GFT Press, The Write Place at the Write Time, Allegro Poetry Magazine, FLARE:  The Flagler Review, West Texas Review, The Offbeat, Slippery Elm Literary Journal, Into the Void and The Voices Project.  Her poems have also appeared on blog sites, including The New Verse News, Writing in a Woman’s Voice, Women at Woodstock and Walkill Valley Writers.  Mary is a member of the Hudson Valley Women’s Writing Group, a longstanding writing group that has just published its first anthology, “An Apple In Her Hand” (Codhill Press January 2019).  She is also a member of Walkill Valley Writers. She is a member of the American Academy of Poets as well as other writing organizations.


Mary’s poem “Cease Fire” won the 2017 Raynes Poetry Competition sponsored by Jewish Currents Magazine.  The poem appears in the anthology “Borders and Boundaries” (Blue Threads Press 2017). In 2017, Mary was also a Finalist for the Pangaea Prize sponsored by Poet’s Billow Magazine.  In 2017, Mary was a Finalist for the Howard/Reid Poetry Prize sponsored by Winning Writer’s Magazine and she won Honorable Mention in the 87thWriter’s Digest Poetry Competition (Non-Rhyming Category).  She was also a Finalist for the 2018 Raynes Poetry Prize and her poem “As Truth Vanished” was published in the anthology “Fakes, Facts, Fictions” published by Blue Threads Press.  Mary’s work was also short-listed for the 2018 Fish Publishing Prize.  Her poem “KINDNESS” was nominated for a 2019 Pushcart Press Prize.  Her work also appears in other poetry anthologies, including Birds Piled Loosely Press “Who Want the World Like It Is?”-An Election Anthology [“Canvassing”]   (January 2017) and Origami Poems Project, “BEST OF KINDNESS” ANTHOLOGY (2017): [“Pillows”].  Mary’s poem “Hot Flashes” will appear in the anthology “Awake In the World, Volume II” to be published by Riverfeet Press in Spring 2019.


Mary’s poetry chapbook, “A Woman of a Certain Age,” was published in September 2018 by Finishing Line Press.  (add ordering info/link).  The anthology, “An Apple In Her Hand” (Codhill Press January 2019) may be ordered at


Mary is working on three new poetry collections:  “MERGING STAR HYPOTHESES,” “GOATS IN BROOKLYN” and “PORTRAITS AND SNAPSHOTS.”


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