Living Published Women Poets in the UK
Maggie O’Sullivan
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Maggie O Sullivan poet

Maggie O’Sullivan was born in Lincoln to Irish parents,moved to London whilst working at the BBC and is
now living near Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire.


ALTO (Veer Books, 2009)

waterfalls (Etruscan Books, 2009)

Windows Opening (Belladonna Chapbook #108, Belladonna Books, NY, 2007)

Body of Work (Reality Street, 2006)

all origins are lonely (Veer Books, 2003) – limited edition of 40

Palace of Reptiles (The Gig, Ontario, 2003)

red shifts (Etruscan Books, 2001)

Etruscan Reader III (Etruscan Books, 1997)

that bread should be (RWC, 1996)

In the House of the Shaman (Reality Street, 1993, 2003)

Ellen’s Lament (PUSHYbroadsides, Toronto, 1993)

eXcLa with Bruce Andrews (Writers Forum, 1993)

Unofficial Word (Galloping Dog, 1988)

States of Emergency (ICPA, 1987)

Divisions of Labour (Galloping Dog, 1986)

Un-Assuming Personas (Writers Forum, 1985)

A Natural History in 3 Incomplete Parts (Magenta, 1985)

An Incomplete Natural History (Writers Forum, 1984)

Concerning Spheres (Broken Ground, 1982)


Rockdrill 11: States of Emergency 1982 – 1988 contains complete readings of Concerning Spheres, Un-Assuming Personas, States of Emergency and Unofficial Word (London Optic Nerve, Birkbeck College, 2005)

her/story.eye contains complete readings of red shifts and waterfalls and in-progress reading of Murmur (STEM, 2004)


Out of Everywhere (Reality Street, 1996)

Maggie O’Sullivan was one of the first poets to be published by Reality Street and edited the press’s Out of Everywhere anthology of contemporary linguistically innovate poetry by women in North America and the UK.

Maggie O’Sullivan is also an artist and has performed her work in venues in the UK, USA, Canada, Czech Republic and other European countries. She has collaborated with dancers and musicians.

Maggie O’Sullivan worked for the BBC from 1973 to 1988, latterly on arts documentary files and as a production assistant/researcher for the BBC’s Arena series. After moving to Yorkshire she ran Writing in Action Adult Education courses for over a decade. Maggie O’Sullivan has also tutored on creative writing and poetry for Open  College of the Arts correspondence courses. She still runs workshops on a freelance basis.

“This personification of poetry with an evolutionary and ontological anxiety resurrects the surrealist obsession with the unconscious and with unfettered forms. Her method as outlined in ‘Riverrunning’ – described as ‘Sickness: Contradiction: Improvising Upon: INTENT’ – also evokes Breton’s experiments with automatic writing and will-less creation, though also infused with the openly mystical cosmology of Robert Duncan’s invitation to misuse ‘the whole spiritualized universe’. The task is to surrender the writing to chance; to dance with words without saying, letting that speculative construct ‘nature’ provide the rhythm (hares dance with ‘A LITTLER RODENT, / I’ in ‘Doubtless’). The result is the invocation of a literary pantheism in which the human mind and its untrustworthy weapons of language and  consciousness attempt to release, perhaps touch, its primordial other – and be transformed perhaps recovered by the encounter. Thus, the concluding image of Ellen’s Lament is of ‘My Own Shadow’ drinking from ‘the Stream’: the subconscious seeking communion with landscape and finding it despite the self-possessing author. The appeal to communion through subterfuge is effectively evoked in linguistic gaming, as in ‘Now To The Ears’ where she writes, ‘flicker.fleur.de.feather.fly.VOICINGS’. Nature and self are aligned in this speculative hurl. Rather than to the sentence, the phoneme, or the line, most of these poems seem to be oriented toward the clause. Syntactic relationships emerge – ‘She too starts / to sift mobile & rapidly’ (‘Doubtless’) – but slip with the disjunctive enjambment of new (perhaps found) threads – the passage above continues ‘Part-Song / all Yellows — / a powdered / yarrow, the stars.’ The clausal relationships, the hint of grammar, the ritual of meaning, are the errant gestures of cognition that dissolve into the pools of O’Sullivan’s aleatory, naturalist swirl.” Gregory Betts

Official website http://www.maggieosullivan.co.uk/


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