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We Remember Ourselves, New Poetry

Mary Silwance 's solo poetry collection, We Remember Ourselves.

The cover of "We Remember Ourselves" has a photo by the author of a sunset in a warm golden huge with a firey path of reflection on cold blue water. distant purple clouds make room for the title. Author's name in white in a delecate danding font with oval serfs.

Praise for We Remember Ourselves

....An authentic dance examining the negation of self to the demands of motherhood and cultural strictures. This is a tightly choreographed excursion, with the intent to claim that self as the ending poem sagely states’ 'not knowing/I would someday yearn to tell my/ daughters I was feral once/and I remember myself' ~ Jose Faus-poet/artist

....Mary Silwance invites the reader to slip through a portal and shake off expectations, inherited and self-imposed. She urges wonder at the abundance of the natural world, to find our place within its rhythms. These poems challenge us with an unflinching view of the choices one makes and accepts— yet are in turn sensual, tender, and always true to our longing for relationship. ~ Susan Carman-poet/editor

....A favorite poem in this collection, “Tomato Tar,” connects a list of tomato types with her life, followed by the intriguing lines “what does either/have to do/with love but/I am not/writing a love/poem.” This collection deserves a place next to books by Pattiann Rogers and Mary Oliver. ~ Marcia Hurlow-poet/editor/professor

In this first full collection, "We Remember Ourselves," poet Mary Silwance arranges words free-form like leaves cascading from trees. From her birth in Egypt to transcendent moments gardening, or a grocery run before a blizzard, she shares poems hailed as "tightly choreographed" and "an authentic dance" between examining cultural expectations and familial relationships. "Why are there rules?” Silwance asks, crafting a poetic form of her own to share a narrative in which the reader is invited to discover the moments when we remember ourselves; when truths are harvested like fruit hanging fresh on each page.


What has being a poetry editor in residence been like? What are some of the projects you worked on as a poetry editor? 

In 2023, I got to do four writing workshops--at MCPL, Poetry Jam, and at Poetic Underground. It is a thrill to facilitate people’s relationship with their creativity. I’m constantly coming up with workshop ideas to make writing more playful and soulful. I also love getting to share my work, and I got to do 16 readings!! I am tremendously grateful for those opportunities with Poetic Underground, the Speakeasy, Riverfront Readings, Femme Magik, KC Folk Fest, Truth in Comedy, KC Rep, to name a few. I aspire to share work with more audiences as it is gratifying to create something that resonates with others.  

Working with Polly Alice McCann and Flying Ketchup Press as  Poet-in-Residence has been such a gift. I'm amazed at how fearlessly Polly pursues her artistic aspirations as well as teaches herself how to do so many complicated publishing technologies in order to create opportunities for herself and other artists to get their work out into the world. I also appreciate how she strives to create platforms to facilitate community for artists. All in all, getting to be Poet-In-Residence with Flying Ketchup Press has been a terrific ride! I got to co-create a poetry festival, publish my first full-length collection as well as create and edit an anthology on a subject I’m passionate about. 

Where can we hear you perform your poetry and get your new book?

Here's what's coming up for me this summer:

Of Our Own Accord is a forthcoming poetry anthology that aspires to shed light, widen awareness, and create space for the embodied experiences and often unexpressed happenings of those who identify as female. In fact, the hardest part of being Poet-in-Residence has been limiting the number of pieces for Of Our Own Accord because we had such a huge response to our call for entries.

This September, we had quite an adventure putting together Poetry Jam, KC's first-ever all-day Poetry Festival. It went really well! We wanted to create an event specifically for regional poetry since we poets often get lumped in with other writing genres. It was a great day of workshops, guest speakers, and open mics. 

Also, It's been such a delicious learning experience working with Polly and Kevin Callahan to put together my first-ever full-length poetry collection, We Remember Ourselves. Thematically, the poems meander through various aspects of my identity: immigrant, daughter, mother, lover, gardener, to name a few.


What are some future goals? As for my plans as a writer, I came away from the experience eager to create another collection! Previously, I was intimidated by the publishing process, but getting to work in this close way at Flying Ketchup Press made publishing more accessible for me. While I have a smattering of poems for another full-length collection, my energy for the next couple of years will largely be focused on a novel that I’ve been chipping away at for about five years. 

What’s a good word for your fellow poets? If I have any advice for aspiring poets creating or editing a full solo collection to submit to publishers or to share with their audience, it’s love your process. Honor your work. If something feels off-like a rock in your shoe or bunched-up clothing in your work, respect your discomfort and address it. Luxuriate in the details. It’s a form of intimacy. Take the time for it to feel juicy to you. Understand that you are imbuing your work with that good juju. In a sense, that’s also what my writing process is like, taking the time for what I write to feel right to me. Which is also to say, treating my work with reverence and playfulness.


The author is pictured wearing a black shirt and bright orange triangular earrings. She has black culy hair and a broad smile.

 Originally from Egypt, Mary Silwance lives in Kansas City and is a mother of three daughters. She has been an English teacher, Farm to School Coordinator, environmental educator, and farmhand. Mary provides writing workshops and serves on the editorial team of Kansas City Voices. She also explores ecology from an intersection of justice and spirituality in workshops and writing. While her poetry and essays appear in numerous publications, you can find her work, chapbooks, radio, zoom presentations, and workshop offerings at When not writing, you can find Mary gardening, hiking, thrifting, or planning her off-grid village.


Thanks, Mary, for telling us more about your poetry and your upcoming events, readings, and projects. We were so glad to have you with us this year at Flying Ketchup Press!!



Upcoming Poetry and Short Fiction Collections by Flying Ketchup Press.

  • Of Our Own Accord: Women's Poetry Anthology 2024- winners emailed Feb 19th, 2024

  • Picture Book Poetry Anthology for Kids 2025

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Flying Ketchup Press ® founded in 2018 to champion new and diverse voices in short fiction and poetry. Our dream, to share worlds of wonder and delight.

Ketchupedia. To empower new and diverse voices in Kansas City's regional poetry. Making room for poetry opens space for personal narrative; empowers, heals, and unites diverse audiences.

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