Flight Patterns

Flight Patterns

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About the Author

Mary K. O’Melveny lives near Woodstock, New York with her wife Susan. After retiring from a distinguished career as a labor rights attorney, Mary revisited poetry writing, an interest dating back to her college days. Mary’s poetry has been published in many print and on-line literary journals. She is an active member of several writing organizations, including The Hudson Valley Women’s Writing Group.

Mary’s website is:

Praise for Flight Patterns

Mary K. O’Melveny’s poems are fierce and tender, political and melodious all at the same time. Like a prayer, they use hidden rhyme for incantation and hypnosis. They will bring you to action if you need help with pressing the button to donate to a cause. They will guide you gently if you forgot how to be patient and kind. They will inspire you if you forgot how to have faith. They will help you heal and flourish if you’re ailing. Above all, they will inspire you to be mindful of the earth, generous with nature, caring to birds. Full of storks, parakeets, and swans, these poems invite you to learn from birds about the resilience of refugees, the faith of the poor, the trust of the forlorn. “Talking indignant politics” or spelling out a prayer, O’Melveny’s poems teach about companionship, curiosity, and optimism.  

—Dr. Lucia Cherciu, Professor, English Department, SUNY/Dutchess; Poet Laureate, Dutchess County, NY 2020–2022

This beautiful, courageous, truthful book makes for delightful reading. Mary K O’Melveny’s  Flight Patterns begins with memories rich in the physical joy of nature. Through these contemplative, imaginative and image-filled poems, we experience the poet’s love of birds and her concern for losses in our natural environment. The collection touches on age, injustice and violence; the harm wrought by Covid-19, political events here and abroad; and threats to the Earth and its inhabitants, including those birds that the poet loves so dearly, valuable because they, “remind us of what we love rather than what we fear.” Many of those fears are justified.

To those who find themselves oppressed and undervalued, “flight” is a metaphor for escape. Here, it is also a metaphor for personal growth and a call to respond now to the progressive complexity and challenges of our changing world. These poems offer meditations and fantasy, dialogues between birds and humans and a path to reversing daily losses of “birdsong.” Here, we can celebrate nature’s ineffable, profoundly moving gifts and understand the work required to save ourselves and those who will follow us into the future. Fortunately, the poet imbues us with signs of enduring hope, supported by the persistence of living things that have survived over the millennia.

—Rhina P. Espaillat, Poet, Short Story Writer, Essayist, Translator, Teacher, Author of, most recently, And After All and The Field  

Readers of this collection will be struck by how consistently imaginative Ms. O’Melveny’s poetry is. Her poems are atmospheric and magical, tender and humorous, revealing and smart. She also possesses a rare and keen eye for the connection of nature to sound, wisdom, and character.  Highly recommended!

—Joe Maita, Editor/Publisher, Jerry Jazz Musician

Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Kelsay Books (July 19, 2023)

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Lightwood Press