Mary McCray


Mary McCray is the author of two books of poetry, St. Lou Haiku, a collection of haiku poetry about St. Louis, Missouri, co-authored by Julie Wiskirchen and Why Photographers Commit Suicide, poems about space exploration and new frontiers. She is also the author of the eBook Writing in the Age of Narcissism. 


Photo by Stephanie Howard


Writing in the Age of Narcissism

Trementina Books (2015)Cover-small
72 pages

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If you’re a poet or writer in any other form or genre, you’ve probably witnessed many modern, uncivilized behaviors from fellow students, writers and academic colleagues—their public relations gestures, their catty reviews and essays, and their often uncivil career moves. Like actors, visual artists and politicians, cut-throat pirate maneuverings have become the new normal. It’s what occurs whenever there are more people practicing an art than any particular economy can support.

The difference with writers is their ability to develop highly conceptualized, rationalizations in order to prove their worth and ideals. This isn’t a new phenomenon, but it has reached a critical mass in meaningless attempts to pull focus in a society obsessed with the show-biz spotlight.

Writing in the Age of Narcissism traces how the narcissism epidemic affects writers, including our gestures of post-modernism and irony, and proposes an alternative way to be a more positive writer, critic and reader.

More about the book, including bonus discussion on writing strategies and narcissism.


"The influence of narcissism on today's pop culture has warped the way people interact. The author's commentary was smart and relevant. It caused me to think about the way I treat other people. Even as I criticize vapid, self-aware narcissism, I'm sure I still act that way out of a desire for validation. Like they say, 'everybody wants to be special.' If I was a college professor, I'd have my students read this book. It provides a good lesson in humility."  —  Joshua Ebert on Smashwords


Why Photographers Commit Suicide

Finalist in the 2013 Indie Excellence Awards

Trementina Books (2012)
ISBN 0985984503
87 pages/8 illustrations by Emi Villavicencio      
9x6/paperback and eBook

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Why Photographers Commit Suicide explores, in small narratives and lyrical poems, the American idea of Manifest Destiny, particularly as it relates to the next frontier—space exploration. Mary McCray examines the scientific, psychological and spiritual frontiers enmeshed in our very human longing for space, including our dream of a space station on Mars. These poems survey what we gain and what we lose as we progress towards tomorrow, and how we can begin to understand the universal melancholy we seem to cherish for what we leave behind, the lives we have already lived. McCray unearths our feelings about what it means to move ahead and stake out new territory, and what it means to be home.


"Remember when, in Carl Sagan's Contact, the main character said "They should have sent a poet?"  Now we have. In a skeptical age, it is extraordinary that we still have dreamers. Mary McCray is one of the best and brightest.  From the great Tharsis volcano on Mars to Olympus Mons, these poems are a celebration of what is best about humanity's exploration of the planets. We are moving out among the stars, and Mary McCray is leading us there."  — David H. Levy, astronomer and author of The Quest for Comets and David Levy's Guide to the Night Sky

"What a surprise! Poetry that rightly deserves the praise, by which I mean poetry that makes you forget you're reading poetry. How refreshing. For far too many American poets, their poems are a glitter of self-consciousness--the facile of the MFA crowd. This new collection by Mary McCray should earn her a wide readership with its outer space leaps of invention. Her ribald sense of humor. Grit. Originality. " — Tom Crawford, Author of The Names of Birds, Wu Wei, and The Temple on Monday

"...a book of poetry for our leads us to the existential abyss, prickling our fears and anxieties...Here we have stars and planets personified, acting out the baser human emotions and acts of lust, lost love and betrayals, dealing with their own fears and anxieties about loss and the ultimate end...Her language is rich and daringly playful, and her sense of poetic rhythm is excellent...If a poet can strike upon the heart, the mind, and the ear all at the same time, then the poet is getting the job done."  — Devin McGuire of the Aurorean


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