Reading Mary Kay Rummel's poems is more important than ever. During this pandemic, I read her poems to remember how spiritually connected we are to each other, no matter where we are on this planet. Her poems express her spiritual journey. Color, light, music, and art, are woven into these poems that read like psalms. In one poem, she writes, "Lapis lazuli, original blue mined from earth/in Afghanistan, ground to aquamarine of illuminations, /found in the teeth of a medieval female/ scribe, ground to paint the Virgin's gown in centuries of Annunciations." In another poem, we journey with her to Paris, the Notre Dame Cathedral, and again to St. Paul, Minnesota where she is from, to end the poem: "A surge of strings against the night. /Past present future one smooth stone." We can't ignore what is happening in the world. Rummel reminds us to focus on finding beauty, and transform the chaos into hymnal music.
Mary Kay Rummel was the first Poet Laureate of Ventura County, CA. Nocturnes: Between Flesh and Stone is her ninth published poetry book, her seventh full collection. Blue Light Press also published Cypher Garden, The Lifeline Trembles (a winner of the 2014 Blue Light Press Award) and What's Left is the Singing. This Body She's Entered, her first book, won the Minnesota Voices Award for poetry and was published by New Rivers Press in 1989. It was a finalist for the Minnesota Book Award. Her work has appeared in numerous regional, national and international literary journals and anthologies and has received several awards, including a Loft Mentor Award and eight Pushcart nominations. She was a co-editor of Psalms of Cinder & Silt, a collection of community poems related to recent California wildfires published by Glenna Luschei at Solo Press.
Mary Kay has read her poems in many venues in the US, England and Ireland and has been a featured reader at poetry festivals including in Ojai and San Luis Obisbo, CA. She has participated in numerous poetry residencies and workshops and loves to perform poetry with musicians. Born in St. Paul, she has been on the faculties of the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and Duluth campuses and California State University, Channel Islands. She is a board member of the nonprofit Ventura County Poetry Project. She and her husband, Conrad, live in California and Minnesota, near children and grandchildren in both states.