Poetry. “Sensuous, sensual, brave and insistent, Sanelli’s work shows the enclosures we tend provide no refuge. Cruelty, violation, aging or sudden death aren’t invaders; they’ve been under our feet all along: ‘the world, suddenly, too over-exposed/ to see, too piercing to hear.’ This gardener is…unprotected by pose. Her poems lead us out of self-consciousness into the risk of presence and truth…” – Jody Aliesan. “I came away from her poems resolved to look more intimately at life and with a fervent desire to write down my own observations. That alone is the highest compliment I can pay this excellent poet” – Laurie Wagner Buyer.
Mary Lou Sanelli was raised in Connecticut, educated in Boston, and now lives and works in Port Townsend, a small coastal town located on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula, and in Seattle’s vibrant downtown Belltown district. Sanelli’s previous collections include Close at Hand (High Plains Press), Long Streaks of Flashing Daylight (Blue Begonia Press), and Lineage (Empty Bowl Press). Her poems have also been published widely in journals and anthologies including The Seattle Review, Calyx, Crab Creek Review, Pontoon, and others. Her work will appear in Woven on the Wind: A Collection of Western Women Writers (Houghton-Mifflin, 2001). She coordinates Port Townsend’s celebrated Sunday at One Poetry Series, now in its fifteenth years, and she is Artistic director of The Moving Arts Dance Company.
“When Mary Lou Sanelli reads her work, her energy says to audiences, these words or images or ideas exist in this poem for a reason–listen to them and pay attention. Because she performs her work this way, her listeners help make the poem as she is reading it. Audiences have commented that Sanelli’s readings are “inspiring,” “informal, friendly,” “playful,” and “have real emotion.” One last observation from a listener: “Throughout her reading and her interjections, I would be set to hear one thing and another would come out. Her poems follow the pattern of surprises at every bend in the road.” – Carmen Germain, Foothills Writers Series