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Helen Marie Casey shared her poem, "Trailblazing," at the Massachusetts State House as the hundreth anniversary of Woman Suffrage was celebrated.

Helen Marie Casey's newest poetry chapbook, "Zero Degrees", will be available from Finishing Line Press in late February 2018.

Check out National Poetry Month Spotlight: Helen Marie Casey on Black Lawrence Press.

April 5, 2016
National Poetry Month Spotlight: Helen Marie Casey

Welcome to National Poetry Month, 2016! We’re celebrating all month long. Each day we will bring you a poem we love–a selection from one of our published or forthcoming collections.

Today’s featured poet is Helen Marie Casey, who won the inaugural Black River Chapbook Competition with Inconsiderate Madness, a series of poems chronicling the life of Mary Dyer, a Quaker martyr.

caseycoversmallAdvice to Mary Dyer from an Old Woman

Mary Dyer, listen to me. There is evil in the wind.

I hear it circle. I hear it flap its great black wings

as if the devil himself will beat his way indoors.

We knew no cure, Mary, your unborn baby dead inside,

unable to get herself born.

Poor misshapen thing, never meant to live.

We buried her out back, beside the birch.

If they come searching here, say you do not know.

They will look for devil’s signs.

They will see what they have come to see.

Guard yourself, Mistress,

from men who come to do God’s will.


HelenHelen Marie Casey’s chapbooks include Fragrance Upon His Lips, a series of poems about Joan of Arc, and Inconsiderate Madness, a series of poems about Mary Dyer, which was named a Highly Recommended book by Massbooks of the Year/Poetry. Several of these poems were set to music by Lynn Petersen and sung by Kimberly Gratland James. She has also written a biography, My Dear Girl: The Art of Florence Hosmer. Her single monograph is: Portland’s Compromise: The Colored School 1867-1872. She won the 14th National Poet Hunt in 2010 and the 2014 Frank O’Hara Prize from the Worcester County Poetry Association. She was a semifinalist in the 2015 Paumanok Poetry Award competition and has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies.

Tagged: Black Lawrence Press Poets, helen marie casey, Inconsiderate Madness, My Dear Girl: The Art of Florence Hosmer, National Poetry Month 2016

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Helen was the featured poet during National Poetry Month on April 26, 2015, at Berlin's 1870 Town Hall, Berlin, Massachusetts.
Helen presented a lecture, "Out of the Shadows: The Story of Florence Hosmer" in Miss Hosmer's home on Oct. 8th, after which copies of "My Dear Girl: The Art of Florence Hosmer" were sold.
Helen autographs copies of "My Dear Girl" at Second Hand Prose Bookshop in Acton, Massachusetts.
The 1929 Florence Armes Hosmer portrait, "The Harpist," was exhibited at the Wayside Inn on October 4, 2012.
Helen presented "A Verbal Portrait" of Florence Hosmer at the Wayside Inn on October 4, 2012.

Check out National Poetry Month Spotlight: Helen Marie Casey on Black Lawrence Press.

See the following blog for Kim Triedman's review of "My Dear Girl":
The office may be messy but it's a hive of creative energy.

Helen won the 2012 Barbara Bradley Award from the New England Poetry Club for her poem, "What Winter Brings."

TROOP 72458 of the Sudbury Girl Scouts restored Miss Hosmer's Faery Garden. Here they discuss MY DEAR GIRL, the story of Florence Hosmer's life, with the author.

Follow this link for a fine review by Chris Bergeron of MY DEAR GIRL: THE ART OF FLORENCE HOSMER:

Click the link below to hear an excerpt from "Inconsiderate Madness" as aired on BATV

National Poetry Month Spotlight: Helen Marie Casey
April 25, 2010


She began to dream of death,
of how he would lie down with her,
close her eyes, taste her various parts.
She would awake believing him present,
believing he could not take his eyes off her.
She began to carry him in her heart,
speaking to him under her breath.
She began to think she loved him.
When he walked beside her, she felt herself uplifted.
She thought death held her hand in his.
She thought she heard the rat-a-tat of drums.
She thought her breath was leaving her body.
She had never been this happy.

Q: Do you remember where you were and what you were doing on the day you wrote the above poem?

A: If it took me only a day to write a poem like “Mary Dyer’s Courtship,” I might well remember the day. As it is, most of my poems are longer a-borning. I do remember that I was trying to imagine myself into the mind of a woman who was choosing to die for her beliefs. This led me to think of Mary Dyer and Death in courtship with each other. I recalled the medieval renderings of Death walking with his victim and invoked those images as well as the drums that actually sounded as Mary Dyer walked to the gallows. The eroticism in the poems comes from my thinking of Mary choosing Death as her lover. This poem was particularly challenging to write and I remain quite fond of it.

Q: What is the last book you’ve read that made you want to grab a pen and write?

A: The poetry collection of Ann Snodgrass, Fields Across Which No Birds Fly (Sheep Meadow Press), which I read two weeks ago, is so filled with a knowledge of literature, history, poetic form, and evocative strength, that it makes me want to work harder than ever to write such powerfully irresistible and deep poems. Her work makes us ponder the question: How does the good writer put so much into so few lines?

Q: What is the most sublime meal you’ve ever eaten?

A: Sublime meal? On an abnormally hot day in Orleans, France, beside the path Jeanne D’Arc rode in her victorious march through Orleans in 1429, there is an outdoor café teeming with activity. I ordered a piece of melon, never dreaming that one-half of a cavaillon, a small cantaloupe-like melon, sweeter than any other melon I have ever eaten, would be served to me in a silver bowl filled with slivered ice. It was so refreshing that the single object, the cavaillon, remains in my mind as one of France’s sublime delicacies.

Helen Marie Casey’s poetry collection Inconsiderate Madness was a finalist for the Julia Howe Award and is available for purchase at Black Lawrence Press.Type your paragraph or brief header here

Helen Marie Casey reads from "Inconsiderate Madness" at the Boston Authors Club Julia Ward Howe Award ceremonies.