Before Mary Stewart Hammond’s first book, and between the first and second one, she worked professionally as a child TV star, a child print model for Sears Roebuck, served as Little Miss National All Day Sucker (this was a very large lollipop [the old kind] popular 50 years ago; that the poet has done some of the things she has done in her life, shows the astuteness of the judges in bestowing this title on her), a “salesgirl” in the women’s clothing department at Smart Wear Irving Saks in Roanoke, VA, an actress on the Outdoor and Dinner Theater circuit, a secretary in the Philosophy Department at Yale, a stringer for UPI, a sportswriter at the Baltimore Sun, an Editor/Talk Show Host at WAYE radio, a media advisor and writer/producer for radio and TV spots for Maryland Senatorial candidate (he lost), a writer/producer for Culture Affairs, Maryland Public TV (John Waters was one of her cameramen), an interior designer at Pamela Banker Associates, later self-employed as Mary Stewart Allen Interiors, a property manager for 30 years of a large waterfront real estate company, while publishing poems, receiving fellowships for writing, conducting Master Classes in poetry year-round for 25 years, and editing manuscripts. All she has wanted to do since she was 7 years old was write. It has been a long journey from Out of Canaan to Entering History, and she continues to write today. She is currently at work on a new collection and a memoir.


Mary Stewart Hammond’s poems have appeared in many magazines and journals including The Alaska Quarterly Review, American Poetry Review, The American Voice, The Atlantic Monthly, Barrow Street, Boulevard, Field, The Gettysburg Review, The Kenyon Review, The New Criterion, The New England Review, The New Yorker, The New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, The Southwest Review, The Yale Review, and have been included in many anthologies and textbooks.

Mary Stewart Hammond’s first book, Out of Canaan, published by W.W. Norton, received the Great Lakes Colleges Association's “New Writers Award for Poetry.” She has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize. Other awards include MacDowell Colony and Yaddo fellowships and a Writer's Community Poet-in-Residence fellowship. Her new collection of poems, Entering History, is being published by W.W. Norton in October 2016.

Mary Stewart Hammond has read and conducted workshops throughout the Midwest and the South. She lives in New York City, where she teaches master classes in poetry through the New York Writers Workshop and works privately as a consultant on book manuscripts.


Mary Stewart Hammond was the Poet-in-Residence at the Writers Community in New York and on the faculty of The Writer’s Voice of the West Side Y. She conducted master classes in poetry for 25 years under the auspices of the New York Writers Workshop. Many of her students went on to achieve admission to MFA and PhD programs, to publication in a wide spectrum of literary journals, to publication of chapbooks, as well as full collections, with awards such as the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Pushcart Prize, The Nation/Discovery, and the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize from Story Line Press, and a Guggenheim. Past students of Mary Stewart have gone on to receive many first book awards, such as the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize from Story Line Press, one of the largest book publication prizes in the country.

 

Student Testimonials: 

 

"Mary Stewart Hammond is a truly empowering teacher whose insights are magical, whose passion for the right word, discerning eye for even the smallest details, respect for the creative process, compassion for our frailties and celebration of our strengths, unfailingly inspire us to reach higher." 
—Joe Bacal

"Mary Stewart is an astonishing teacher. She edits and critiques poems rigorously and has the ability to pare down a poem to what is essential...She creates a safe place to bring writing, of even the most personal nature. Finally, she brings to the workshop an extraordinary intellect. It is really a privilege to study with her." 
—Margot Mindich

"...She is remarkable in being open to differing styles of writing and rigorous in her criticism and in upholding a high standard of artistic accomplishment..." 
—Kip Zegers

"I have never studied with a more gifted teacher...her guidance and critiques, always so insightful, so clear...her encouragement has empowered me..." 
—Benjamin Kukoff

"Anyone who has read Out Of Canaan would relish the opportunity to study with Mary Stewart Hammond. But who could guess that she would combine the ability to write such a book with the gift for teaching poetry. How does she do it? Maybe it's her attention to the craft and line by line editing. Maybe it's her quick grasp of what the student is trying to say even when the poem is not quite there yet. Certainly it's her creation of a "safe" environment. I do know that she gets results. Her students grow. And publish. And keep coming back. What more could you ask for?"
—Betsy Harrington