Simultaneous Windows


poems by Mary Corkery

Print: 978-1-77133-389-4 – $18.95
ePUB: 978-1-77133-390-0 – $8.99
PDF: 978-1-77133-392-4 – $8.99
92 Pages
April 26, 2017  

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Simultaneous Windows is a metaphoric and narrative journey, both personal and political, in which rebellion, love and loss open windows to change. Each window is a frame through which we see the limits and possibilities of one small life. The voice is strong and the journey vivid. Poems are located in Toronto, Borneo, the Middle East, Rwanda and elsewhere.

“In Simultaneous Windows, Mary Corkery explores both the landscapes of travel and those of the human heart. A beautiful and accomplished poetic debut.”

—Helen Humphreys

“What impresses me most about these poems is their obvious tender regard for human life, for the complex simplicity (the simultaneous windows) of the journey we’re all on together. Warm, worldly, and vivid, this collection provides a welcome antidote to the easy cynicism of our apocalyptic times.”

—Tim Bowling

“With passion and intelligence, Mary Corkery opens Simultaneous Windows onto times and terrain both local and global, strange and familiar. She crafts empathy and a keen eye for detail into poems that are fresh, relevant.”

Robert Priest

“Mary Corkery’s poetry startles the heart and enlightens the mind. In Simultaneous Windows, she brings her clear-eyed gaze and poetic reach to memories of the repression and tenderness of childhood. Tender also her elegies. Her poems are witness, not just to disasters but to resistance and survival in places like Nepal, Aleppo and Rwanda.”

—Maureen Hynes

“Ranging from dark and raw to deep and caring, Simultaneous Windows is poetry that makes your skin tingle. Mary Corkery’s is a graceful, bold new voice among poets.”

—Harvey McKinnon

Simultaneous Windows

Mary Corkery’s career includes various roles in social justice and international development organizations, most recently KAIROS: Canadian Ecumenical Justice Initiatives where she was executive director for eight years. Now retired, Mary focuses on her writing, and volunteer work as a board member for The Catherine Donnelly Foundation, which funds social justice work. Recently, her poems have been published in Room, Descant, The Malahat Review, The Antigonish Review, Existere, The Nashwaak Review, Writing at Wintergreen (a 2012 anthology edited by Helen Humphreys), The Dream Catcher, (U.K.), and Kindred (U.S.A.).


Big Dipper pours starlight through
larch and alder sloping down to the lake.
Distracted by a tiny relentless
flicker on the porch railing, I encounter
a firefly caught in a spider’s
invisible trap, signalling May Day
May day may day, until the fire
goes out.

I’m squeezed at a small wooden
desk where thirty-six brand new
Crayola crayons fail
to help me add, subtract or draw. One day
those crayons create a canary-haired
stick girl standing on spikes of emerald grass
by her burning house.
High overhead a thin line
of sapphire sky, one charred cloud.
No one else on the page to notice
a girl trapped in blank space
with a sky too high
to rain on her house


3 reviews for Simultaneous Windows

  1. inannaadmin

    Simultaneous Windows by Mary Corkery
    reviewed by Candice James, Canadian Poetry Review – June 14, 2017

    With the ‘turn of a word’ Corkery leads us from pathway to highway to trail back to pathway with such an eloquent ease that all we are aware of is the scenery and not the route. A feat unto itself indeed.

    “Simultaneous Windows” is a steeped in vivid imagery, ever changing moods and a magical weave of poetry wending throughout. Set the gone for the book:“Silent Desperations” exquisite imagery sets the tone for the book: “those crayons create a canary haired / stick girl standing stiff on spikes of emerald / grass by her burning house”. AND it sets the mood for the book too: “No one else on the page to notice / a girl trapped in blank space / with a sky too high / to rain on her house/ collapsing.”

    In her poem “Where The Heart” she displays, in vivid detail, her brilliant braiding of words onto the brush of emotion that flows as paint onto the mind’s canvas: Her adept poetic ability to make the page come alive in the tender embrace of emotion’s clutch is nothing less than amazing. Once I read this poem, the poet had me in the palm of her hand, eating poetry and enjoying it more than immensely: “Dawn creeps over rooftops, peels night / from blue and rose coloured cornices // Harbour wraps around me, murmurs / unzips, steps into ocean / and swims on its own.”

    Corkery pens one of the best lines I’ve ever read; a call to action re conjuring up the past in the reader’s mind in her poem “Late Harvest Ghazal”: “Startled moths of memory leap from skin /stoked by hands.” She quietly shocks with amazing alacrity.

    I absolutely LOVE the poem “Carousel”; so much so that I simply must excerpt the first and last stanza: ‘Once in a while that childhood dream / of a carousel returns, red horse prancing / in musical waves, round and round / blurred edges of trees flickering / until darkness rolls over us. Suddenly / I can’t see him anymore. Panic sinks my belly / as the horse rises in slow motion, stops – / and there is no one / to come lift me down.” /// “Before all the losses, we didn’t know the scale / of that carousel, everyone on it, undulating / in swift or slow motion, each face turns / to someone who isn’t there / anymore, someone who will / never be over.” Not only am I in awe of Corkery’s poetry, I also find myself feeling I am almost present on and off the carousel, both riding, and simply watching. Somehow she has succeeded in transporting me from my reality to her reality as I become fully immersed in this poem.

    And then, just when I think it can’t get any better… it does. I am captured like a butterfly seeking sanctuary and pinned to the page of the poem “Unpin This Day”. Here are some lines to whet the appetite for a surreal taste of infinity: “peel a slice of sky / taste it // reach for light, bend it forward / to read this gentle braille / of broken twigs// let a sparrow reclaimed by life / lead you inside // one infinite moment.”

    Simultaneous Windows is an amazing debut book of poetry by a poet who I consider to be an inspired poet. Even in this, her poetry debut, it is very evident that Mary Corkery was born to be… a poet!

    About the Reviewer: Candice James is in her 2nd three year term as Poet Laureate of New Westminster. She is past president of both Royal City Literary Arts Society and Federation of British Columbia Writers; and author of thirteen poetry books: the first A Split In The Water” (Fiddlehead Poetry Books 1979); and the most recent are “The Water Poems” (Ekstasis Editions 2017); and “City of Dreams -the New Westminster poems” (Silver Bow Publishing 2016) . Her awards include the Bernie Legge Artist Cultural Award and Pandora’s Collective Citizenship award. She is the founder of the annual “Fred Cogswell Award For Excellence In Poetry”; Poetic Justice; Poetry In the Park; Slam Central; Poetry New Westminster and Royal City Literary Arts Society. Further info at website: http://www.candicejames.com and Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Candice_James

  2. Renée Knapp

    Tender but Uneasy
    Simultaneous Windows by Mary Corkery
    reviewed by Jessi MacEachern
    Canadian Literature – October 13, 2019


    The title poem of Corkery’s Simultaneous Windows demonstrates the poet’s unique mastery of form: three tight tercets with a nearly perfect adherence to ten syllables per line, a counting measure akin to the nervy poetry of Marianne Moore. Zigzagging across the landscape of memory are nostalgic recollections of a rural childhood—the book opens on “Why I Can’t Sleep,” seven prose poems offering snapshots of a child’s fears—and exotic portraits of elsewhere…Corkery is most successful during her characteristic final stanzas, which spill across the page in fragmented forms and linger on abstract images: “a slice of sky,” “a sparrow,” “one infinite moment.”

  3. Renée Knapp

    Simultaneous Windows by Mary Corkery
    reviewed by Carole Giangrande, author of The Tender Birds and All That is Solid Melts Into Air
    for The Minerva Reader – December 15, 2019

    Mary Corkery’s first collection of poetry is a joy to read. She engages her subjects at a midpoint between the observant journalist and the soul engulfed in suffering; it’s detachment that remains connected and involvement that is never overwhelmed by its subject. The poetry is beautiful, filled with evocative language, specificity of detail and frequent startling endings that cause the reader to put the book down, take a deep breath and read the poem again. Highly recommended.

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