Contributor Spotlight: Mary Silwance

The poems “Cool Water” and “Monkey Mind” by Mary Silwance appeared in Issue 13 and can be read here.

We’d love to hear more about this pair of poems.

“Monkey Mind” literally reflects what my experience in yoga class is. I’m also derisive of yoga culture because it’s commercialized in a way that seems antithetical to its origin and purpose. This poem also reflects the negative chatter in my brain whenever I try to do something challenging.

“Cool Water” was also about someone I dated and let go of because I got scared.

What was the most difficult part of writing these pieces?

The difficulty is always economy of words and precision in word choice.

Recommend a book for us which was published within the last decade.

This Changes Everything: Naomi Klein

If you could have a drink with any living author, who would it be? Why?

I would drink with Barbara Kingsolver because her book, Small Wonder, is like a Bible to me. I appreciate her fiction and nonfiction, the intense and intelligent compassion that shapes her work.

What are you working on now? What’s next?

I’ve been posting intermittently on environmental issues for years on my blog, Tonic Wild and I’d like to figure out a way to write about the really terrifying and disheartening things I research in a way that brings people along. That is, how can I deliver devastating information in a way that doesn’t shut people down but instead moves them to greater empathy, reflection and action? Further, I approach poetry from an intuitive place, following an inner inarticulate lead. I want to figure out how to rely on that sense more in my environmental writing.

Our thanks to Mary for taking the time to answer a few questions and share her work. Read her poems “Cool Water” and “Monkey Mind” here:


In a former life Mary Silwance was an English teacher. Now, she is an environmental educator, activist and blogger ( Mary has always written poetry and is just now venturing out of the closet as a poet. Silwance have been published in the Syracuse Cultural Workers Women’s Datebook, Konza Journal and Descansos.