Maureen Thorson

I have been sent from the future to tell it like it is.

What if I could cure and keep our one sad slice of time?

Writing is a vain, heartbreaking, and lonely act.

Welcome home from the thunderstorm, stranger.


Maureen Thorson is a poet, publisher, and book designer living in Washington, D.C. She is the author of the full-length collections My Resignation, published by Shearsman Books in April 2014, and Applies to Oranges, published in 2011 by Ugly Duckling Presse. She has also written a number of chapbooks, including Mayport, which won the Poetry Society of America's National Chapbook Fellowship for 2006. Her poems can be found in many anthologies and journals, such as Drunken Boat, Parcel, Washington Square, Columbia Poetry Review, The Rumpus, Exquisite Corpse, and Hotel Amerika.

Maureen is the poetry editor of Open Letters Monthly, an online critical review. From 2006-2009, she was the publisher and editor of Big Game Books, a small press dedicated to emerging poets. Big Game was named Washington's "Best Small Press" by the Washington City Paper in 2008. The press published 57 chapbooks and "tinysides" during its three-year run. Maureen is now in the process of digitizing the 50 "tinysides."

Maureen is the former co-curator of the In Your Ear reading series at the DC Arts Center. The series brings poets to DC from far and wide. Past readings have featured poets such as Anne Tardos, Bruce Andrews, Bill Berkson, Cathy Wagner, and Rob Halpern. You can read the Washington Post's write-up of a reading here.

Maureen is also the founder of NaPoWriMo, an annual project in which poets attempt to write a poem a day for the month of April.

You can contact Maureen at reenhead-AT-gmail-DOT-com.

books + publications


My Resignation -- now available from Shearsman Books! Read more here!

Applies to Oranges -- available from Ugly Duckling Presse. Read more here!


The Woman, The Mirror, The Eye (Bloof Books 2015)

A Good Attitude (Flying Object 2014)

from 'On "On Dreams"' (Dusie 2013)

Twenty Questions for the Drunken Sailor - (Dusie/flynpyntar Press, 2009)

Mayport (Poetry Society of America 2006)

13 Osips (Big Game Books 2006)

Villanelles are Retarded (with Shafer Hall) (Big Game Books 2006)

The Spectacle of Meat (Big Game Books 2006)

Abecedarium (Hermosa Neutron 2005)

Evol (Hermosa Neutron 2005)

Novelty Act (Ugly Duckling Presse 2004)

Calamity and The Calamity Annex (Hermosa Neutron 2003)


The Book of Scented Things (The Literary House Press 2014) - [A Real Psychology]

Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington DC (Plan B Press 2010) - [K Street Interview]

The i.e. Series Reader (Narrow House 2009)- [And in Late Winter, We Began to Kick the Tires]

The Meat Book (Hot Whiskey Press 2006) - [The Butcher Bunny]

Bedside Guide to No Tell Motel (No Tell Books 2006) - [Time Warp Girl]

A Slice of Cherry Pie (The Private Press/Half Empty-Half Full 2006) - [Sayonara, Cherry Pie]

Aubergine (Josh Corey 2004) - [The aubergine libertine in his green limousine]


Drunken Boat (forthcoming): [Meet Aristotle]

Parcel (forthcoming): [A Witching Hour]

Ladowich: [A Rumor About the Queen of Spain]

Yemassee 22.1: [Blue Plate Special]

LEVELER: [The Scarlet Ibis]

Big Lucks: [Orange Crush], [Greenbacks]

Washington Square (Winter/Spring 2014): [A Change Will Do You Good]

horse less review #16: [Meet Me at Vanishing Point], [The Sun Sets Every Day]

dusie #15: [The Quick Brown Fox], [Gold Rush], [A Primrose Path]

Gondola #4: [Closer Than They Appear]

Ping-Pong 2013: [Pattern: Grandmother], [Pattern: Girafters], [Pattern: Stichblatt], [Pattern: Seagulls], [Pattern: Urwald]

Gargoyle #60: [Purple Haze]

Cartagena: [Famous American Naval Officers], [Pattern: Pillar]

The Pink Line Project: [Gray Matter]

H_NGM_N #15: [Directory Assistance], [Shortwave]

Poetry Society of America: [Red Dawn]

Conduit #24: [Gentlemen Prefer Blondes], [The Mill Stream]

Sink Review: [Whitespace], [Orange You Glad]

Verse: [Brownian Motion], [Gray Lady]

Everyday Genius: [Black Hole]

South Dakota Review: [Applause for this Shared Vigilance], [Bounded in a nutshell, yet . . .] [Love Poem in Four Drafts]

Columbia Poetry Review #25: [A Late Omen], [Doubtless]

Sprung Formal #7: [The Simile]

The Rumpus (Feb. 29, 2012): [In the Pink]

Painted Bride Quarterly #84: [Three Squares and No Funnin'], [Otter Pop Blues], [Tomatoes]

Everyday Genius: [Shinigami]

No Tell Motel (April 25-29, 2011):[How to Get Out of Dodge], [Bucky Follows a Cold Trail], [All in Your Head], [A Crooked Mile], [Can It, Mr. Eastwood]

Propeller (Winter 2011): [The WONDERS of My ENCHANTED GARDEN], [Clarity], [You vs. The Castles of Blue]

Phoebe (Spring 2011):[Atmospheric], [Dogsbody], [The Worst That Could Happen]

horse less review #8: [In Dreams]

The Equalizer #1: [Pattern 4: Mothballs and Sugar], [Pattern 7: Captain Cook], [Pattern 8: Jack Tar], [Pattern 16: Treetops], [Pattern 18: Industry], [The Past Isn?t Over], [Jackpot]

Hotel Amerika Vol 6, Issue 2: [Shielded from the sun's thick orange blot], [The Zenith's reruns are interrupted]

Poor Claudia #3: [Malleus Maleficarum], [A Pathetic Fallacy], [Now We See Things Face to Face], [Becoming forgetful, we apply], [The orange is a sweet fruit. It grows]

LUNGFULL! #18: [Sturm Sans Drang], [Last Frontier]

H_NGM_N # 10: [For the Long Haul]

Barrelhouse #8: [Theatrical lightning over the bar], [Say Uncle], [Twenty Questions for the Drunken Sailor]

So-and-So #2:: [High in soft mountains, where indigo], [This actress right for screaming--]

A Handsome Journal #2: [The zenith revels in shadow's heyday],[Dogs bark on a barge on the river at night], [Your army swills down the country lanes]

Beltway Quarterly, Vol. 11, Issue 1:[Sea Shanty], [The Captain], [Ye Mariners of England]

Saltgrass #4: [There Will Come the Great Reshelving], [Damn the Torpedoes]

6X6 #18: [Figure 2.31]. [Figure 3.3 - Pointed Pip], [Figure 4.21 - Colonnade], [Figure 5.18 - Automation], [Figure 3.1 - Zodiac], [Figure 4.7 - Spectators]

LIT #15 : [Loosed to their own devices, islanders], [Across the river, the horizon curdles]

Open Letters Monthly (May 2009): [The Path of Least Resistance], [Sleepwalker]

The Hat #8: [At first, heartbreak made me beautiful], [A fox-shaped car rolls through], [Sail Bait]

LocusPoint (DC Edition): [Sailor's Warning], [Educational], [Lambing time at the Hotel Cordillera], [This is how stalagmites build, meaning], ["A Total Victory For Chaos"]

Bird Dog #10: [Theory Has Nothing on Practice], [And Now, the Monster], [Peace for the Poor Student of History], ["Like the 1950s, Without the Barbiturates"]

Beltway Quarterly, Vol. 9, Issue 2: [Permanently 1975], [Steve McQueen on His Motorcycle], [The Meat Magi], [Up She Rises], [Superman Would Like to Come Down Now]

Foursquare Special Edition: [The Parameters of This Relationship], [In the Valley of the Shadow of Macrame], [At the End of the Day, We've Got Each Other], [If the World Were Perfect, We Would All Smell Like This], [Revelations of the Bad Hotel Room] (See a review here!)

Listenlight #11: [Argonauts], [Eglantine], [Iditarod], [Optimus Prime] [Ulster]

Coconut #11: [Miscues in the greenery - can you find], [The politician wins the debate by proving], [I halve the rooster's heart again]

Boog City #37 (The Baseball Issue) [Tho' John Olerud Should Walk in the Shadow...]

The Hat #7: [Meditation at Five-Thirty], [Ye Mariners of England]

String of Small Machines (September 2007): [Typewriter keys in abandoned places], [A fantasy of annexes], [An infancy provisionally set]

Hot Whiskey # 3: [The rain catches them on their way back home], [In a role reversal, the dramatis personae], [The ship's propeller churns the rough.], and [Say it with flowers. Bottlebrush aplenty.]

Foursquare #1.2: [Four from Lovely Osip]

Listenlight #5: [Comparisons of unlike things: yesterday's], [The man in the boater and the woman], [Waxy fingers lay gray gloves], [Waist deep in the river, I hear]

Cannibal #2: [Commerce Leaves Us in the Dust], [Prayers for the Occasionally Happy]

Small Town #10: [Valentine], [Skin], [A Prophet Among His People]

Drill #7: [Sea Theology], [To Comprehend the Scientific Temperament], [Pineapple Honeymoon]

Kulture Vulture #4: [Darla's Journey, Jessica's Hope], [Sea Shanty]

Upleasant Event Schedule (March 2006): [Panthers], [Just Calm Down], [Them Dreary Black Hills]

Typo #8: [History of Time]

La Petite Zine #19: [He Ate the Sandbox]

Octopus #5: [The Blue Ox], [And the Invitation Read: Payable on Death], [Monster Island Domestic Drama: Already in Progress]

Goodfoot #6: [Riddle]

The Tiny #1: [The Robot]

Poetry Less Than Daily (April 28, 2005): [What's Your Number?]

No Tell Motel (January 17-21, 2005): [Time Warp Girl], [Another Reason Mom's Not Welcome at the Wives' Club], [Rumor Has It Her Bedroom Window Is Locked from the Outside], [Homecoming], [The Recruiting Videos for the Japanese Navy Have Song-and-Dance Numbers]

Painted Bride Quarterly #74: [The Eyepatch], [The Pirate Cure], [The Daughter of Israel Hand]

LIT #9: [Too Late Now]

Muse Apprentice Guild (Summer 2004): [This Verse is Closed]

Canwehaveourballback #19: [Calamity Pays the Piper], [It All Comes Down to the Sweet Science]

Exquisite Corpse #14: [Max Ernst], [Calamity Speaks to the People]


August 10, 2015 -- Reading with Dan Torday at Arcadia University -- Philadelphia, PA

August 11, 2015 -- Workshop/Seminar with Arcadia University Low Residency MFA Students -- Philadelphia, PA

August 3, 2015 -- Reading, Word Portland -- Portland, ME

June 21, 2015 -- Reading, In Your Ear -- Washington, DC

May 31, 2015 -- Reading, Bridge Street Books -- Washington, DC

May 9, 2015 -- Reading, COLOR BKLYN -- Brooklyn, NY

April 18, 2015 -- Panel Discussion on Writing while Working, Conversations and Connections Conference -- with K. Lorraine Graham and Michelle Dove -- Washington, DC

April 8, 2015 -- Reading, The New Century: Bloof + Coconut + Saturnalia at AWP -- Minneapolis, MN

February 17, 2015 -- Poet in Residence for Shakespeare Theater Co.'s performance of The Metromaniacs -- Washington, DC

January 1, 2015 -- Video Reading for What's New in Poetry -- The Internet

November 9, 2014 -- Reading, SAFTA Reading Series -- Knoxville, TN

October 12, 104 -- Reading, Arts & Crafts Beer Festival -- Arlington, VA

August 3, 2014 -- Reading, Boog City Festival -- New York, NY

July 29, 2014 -- Reading, Little Salon -- Washington DC

June 22, 2014 -- Reading, Three Tents Reading Series-- Washington DC

June 21, 2014 -- Reading, Barn Swallow Reading Series -- Philadelphia PA

June 14, 2014 -- Reading, Red Rover Reading Series -- Chicago, IL

May 18, 2014 -- Reading, In Your Ear Reading Series -- Washington DC

April 16, 2014 -- Reading at the Arts Club of Washington -- Washington, DC

April 3, 2014 -- Reading at Berl's Poetry Shop -- New York, NY

December 7, 2013 -- Reading, Federal Dust Reading Series -- Baltimore, MD

September 7, 2013 -- Reading celebrating H_NGM_N #15 -- Washington DC

May 4, 2013 -- Reading for the opening of "Superstition" -- Washington, DC

March 17, 2013 -- Reading, In Your Ear Series -- Washington DC

January 23, 2013 -- Reading for Kate Greenstreet's "Young Tamblyn" tour -- Washington, DC

November 17, 2012 -- Reading, FUSEBOX art & word series -- Chattanooga, TN

July 21, 2012 -- Rose Metal Press Reading for "I Took Back the Sponge Cake" -- Washington DC

March 21, 2012 -- Reading, Call Your Girlfriend Reading Series -- Washington DC

February 11, 2012 -- Reading, Publicly Complex Reading Series -- Providence, RI

November 19, 2011 -- Reading, So & So Series -- Raleigh NC

November 12, 2011 -- Reading, Improved Lighting Series -- Fayetteville, AR

November 11, 2011 -- Reading, Bozarts Gallery -- Water Valley, MS

November 10, 2011 -- Reading, What's New in Poetry Series -- Atlanta, GA

November 9, 2011 -- Reading, Fermentation Lounge -- Tallahassee, FL

November 8, 2011 -- Reading, Green Bar -- Tuscaloosa, AL

November 7, 2011 -- Reading, Indian Spring Visiting Writers Series -- Birmingham, AL

November 5, 2011 -- Reading, General Idea Series -- Philadelphia, PA

October 20, 2011 -- Reading, Bridge Street Books -- Washington DC

September 23, 2011 -- Reading, Moles not Molars Series -- Philadelphia, PA

July 19, 2011 -- Reading, Riverby Books -- Washington DC

June 11, 2011 -- Reading, Pierogi Gallery -- NYC

May 21, 2011 -- Reading, Pleasant Plains Workshop -- Washington, DC

May 7, 2011 -- Reading, Segue Series -- NYC

April 1, 2011 -- Reading, Poetry Lab -- Vienna, VA

March 13, 2011 -- Reading, Zinc Bar -- NYC

March 11, 2011 -- Reading, Ruthless Grip -- Washington, DC

February 4, 2011 -- Reading, Table X Party at AWP -- Washington, DC

February 2, 2011 -- Reading, Phoebe/Big Lucks/Gigantic Sequins/Folio Reading -- Washington, DC

January 15, 2011 -- Reading, Cadmium Text Series -- Kingston, NY

November 14, 2010 -- Reading, Gold Without Warning Poetry Festival -- Washington, DC

November 11, 2010 -- Reading, Barrelhouse Presents Open Letters Monthly -- Washington, DC

October 17, 2010 - Reading, Sunday Kind of Love Series -- Washington, DC

September 24, 2010 -- Reading, Boog City Festival -- NYC

May 22, 2010 - Reading, Barrelhouse #8 Launch Party -- Washington, DC

February 18, 2010 - Reading, Cheryl's Gone Reading Series -- Washington, DC

November 21, 2009 - Reading, Frequency Reading Series - NYC

November 19, 2009 - Reading, 6x6 Launch Party - NYC

February 15, 2009 - Reading, In Your Ear Reading Series - Washington, DC

September 20, 2008 - Reading, Boog City Festival - NYC

May 3, 2008 - Reading, The i.e. Series - Baltimore

June 2, 2007 - Reading, The i.e. Series - Baltimore

April 14, 2007 - Reading, Cadmium Text - Kingston, NY

April 9, 2007 - Reading, PSA Festival of New American Poets - NYC

December 9, 2006 - Reading, Ruthless Grip - Washington, DC

December 7, 2006 - Reading, PSA 2006 Chapbook Fellowship Reading - NYC

October 30, 2006 - Reading, Burlesque at Bar Rouge - Washington, DC

October 24, 2006 - Reading, Battle Hill Reading Series - NYC

October 13, 2006 - Reading, The Poetry Project - NYC

September 15, 2006 - Reading, The Burning Chair Reading Series - NYC

March 21, 2006 - Reading, Grace Church - Washington, DC

September 10, 2005 - Reading, Ruthless Grip - Washington, DC

June 18, 2005 - Reading, The Ear Inn - NYC

June 5, 2005 - Reading, FEAST@Camaje - NYC

May 16, 2005 - Reading, Pete's Big Salmon - NYC

May 1, 2005 - Reading, Frequency Series - NYC

March 13, 2005 - Reading, Zinc Bar - NYC

November 13, 2004 - Reading, Frequency Series - NYC

critical writing

I am currently the poetry editor of Open Letters Monthly. The journal is open to submissions of poetry in May and October, and to submissions of reviews year-round. See our submission guidelines for more information.


I wrote about Admiral Richard E. Byrd's Alone for Open Letters Monthly's 2015 summer reading feature.

I wrote the afterward for The Women in Visual Poetry: the Bechdel Test, published by Essay Press in March 2014.

I reviewed Alice Fulton's Barely Composed for the February 2015 issue of Open Letters Monthly.

I wrote about Gregory Robinson's All Good Movies Love the Moon and Chris Nealon's Heteronomy for Open Letters Monthly's 2014 "Our Year in Reading" feature.

I interviewed Katy Bohinc, author of Dear Alain, for Open Letters Monthly's December 2014 issue.

I reviewed Joseph Massey's To Keep Time and Jean Donnelly's Green Oil in the November 2014 issue of Open Letters Monthly.

I wrote a series of writing prompts inspired by Bernadette Mayer's list of Experiments, which appeared in Please Add to this List, Tender Buttons' teaching guide to accompany the 25th anniversary edition of Mayer's Sonnets.

I wrote about Mikhail Bulgkov's Heart of a Dog for Open Letters Monthly's list of Great Minor Works by Major Hands.

I wrote about Juan Rulfo's Pedro Páramo for Open Letters Monthly's 2014 summer reading feature.

I reviewed Maxine Kumin's And Short the Season in the June 2014 issue of Open Letters Monthly.

I reviewed Melissa Broder's Scarecrone and Sara Nicholson's The Living Method for the April 2014 issue of Open Letters Monthly.

I organized and wrote for OLM's February 2014 Twoo Wuv feature.

I wrote about Lolly Willowes and Where'd You Go, Bernadette? for Open Letters Monthly's 2013 "year in reading" feature.

Here's my review of Ange Mlinko's Marvelous Things Overheard, from the October 2013 issue of Open Letters Monthly.

From August 2013, here's my review of James Longenbach's The Virtues of Poetry.

I wrote about Sarah Gridley's book, Loom, for the July issue of Open Letters Monthly.

For Open Letters Monthly's 2013 summer reading feature, I wrote about Nabokov's Pale Fire and Sylvia Townsend Warner's Mr. Fortune's Maggot.

In February 2013, Delirious Hem published a conversation between myself and my sister regarding Labyrinth, as part of their "Chick Flix" feature.

I wrote about Rudyard Kipling's Kim, Lisa Robertson's Nilling, and Daniel O'Malley's The Rook for the December 2012 edition of Open Letters Monthly.

I reviewed Anthony Madrid's I Am Your Slave Now Do What I Say for the October 2012 edition of Open Letters Monthly.

I wrote about Craig Dworkin's "Mote" and Liz Walder's "Play" for the July 2012 edition of Open Letters Monthly.

I reviewed Brandon Brown's The Poems of Gaius Valerius Catullus for the April 2012 edition of Open Letters Monthly.

I wrote about Randall Jarrell's approach to criticism for the March 2012 edition of Open Letters Monthly.

I reviewed Kate Schapira's "The Bounty: Four Addresses" and "How We Saved the City" for the February 2012 edition of Open Letters Monthly.

I interviewed Anne Gorrick for the January 2011 edition of Open Letters Monthly.

I reviewed Rebecca Skloot's "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," as part of Open Letters Monthly's look at 2010's nonfiction best-sellers.

My review of Tan Lin's "Seven Controlled Vocabularies and Obituary 2004. The Joy of Cooking (Airport Novel Musical Poem Painting Film Photo Hallucination Landscape)" is up at the The Montserrat Review.

You can find my review of Caroline Knox's "Quaker Guns" here.

With Cathy Eisenhower, I edited the Washington DC section of the Portable Boog Reader 4.

I edited the Winter 2009 edition of Beltway Quarterly.

You can find my review of Rachel Loden's "Dick of the Dead" and Kevin Prufer's "National Anthem" here.

You can find my review of Lauren Bender's "The Dictionary Poems" here.

Y/ou can find my review of Kate Greenstreet's "Learning the Language" here.

You can find my review of Elizabeth Treadwell's "Cornstarch Figurine" here.