Mary D. Esselman

Mary D. Esselman

I'm a freelance writer and editor living in Charlottesville, Virginia, where I work part-time for the University of Virginia Women's Center. I've written/edited four books of "literary therapy," with my friend, Georgetown University Feminist Theory professor Elizabeth Vélez. This all started back in the 1990s when I'd gone through a bad breakup and at the same time I was caring for a dear friend who was dying of ovarian cancer. Elizabeth gave me a Mark Doty poem ("Tiara") to help me feel better, to try to pull me back into the world, and I thought, "That's what people need -- the right poem for the specific moment, like a prescription -- poems to mend a broken heart, poems to help you find your way, poems to share you grief and help you start over." So we wrote the first book (The Hell with Love: Poems to Mend a Broken Heart), and we've just published our fourth (How Did This Happen: Poems for the Not So Young Anymore), a collection to accompany you as you face the freakouts and insights of growing "older." As English teachers, we've always loved poetry, but we know many people think poetry is weird, inaccessible, hard to "get." But as former People magazine writers and big pop culture lovers, we knew we could help people find their way into the magic of poetry, by just talking with them about the poetry, the way we'd talk about, say, Broad City or Insecure or Veep or Girls or Scandal. We truly believe poetry can help people find clarity and consolation when the world seems too crazy or too sad. Thanks for taking a look at our books.

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