This Choice: Tim Mayo

This Choice is Who You Are has been my mantra these past years: a mantra for becoming the person I want to be. I believe that choosing to live with the attention that poetry demands is a good start.

In the podcasts, I look to other artists to learn from their experiences.

I ask poets how their work with poetry influences the choices they make in their daily lives, and how these, in turn, affect their sense of self and their relationships.

How are they using the experience of art to shape The Good Life for themselves?


Tim Mayo lives and writes in Brattleboro, Vermont, where he is also a mental health worker at the Brattleboro Retreat and a substitute teacher.  He holds an ALB, cum laude, from Harvard University and an MFA in Writing & Literature from Bennington College. He’s also been studying circus arts and flying trapeze at the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vermont, off and on for the last ten years.
His book The Kingdom of Possibilities (Mayapple Press, 2009), which was a finalist for the 2009 May Swenson Award  and a chapbook, The Loneliness of Dogs (Pudding House Publications, 2008), which was a finalist in the WCDR 2008 Chapbook Challenge in Ajax, Ontario, Canada.
Tim Mayo’s work has appeared in a long list of journals, and his many awards include the International Merit Award from Atlanta Review 1999 and 2000; Finalist in the 2009 Paumanok Poetry Award Contest and five Pushcart nominations.


His most recent book is Thesaurus of Separation, published this past summer by Phoenicia Publishing:


As the title suggests, Tim Mayo’s carefully structured book deals with the multiple forms of separation: separation from the past, from a sense of family, a sense of belonging and ultimately from the self. His poems capture the sense of alienation many of us feel in this contemporary world where we want (as the poet does in “The Yellow Afternoon”):“the inexplicable to be/explained and the eggshell of answers/to close over the yoke of our questions.” Full of surprising phrases and metaphors (“Trapezing,” “Darning Needle,” “Self-Storage”) the poems ring with important truths such as: “you must accept the perennial fly/its karmic place in your ointment,” and “what do we know about the world/except what we know about ourselves.” These poems are extraordinary and generous gifts.  

—Patricia Fargnoli, former New Hampshire Poet Laureate, author of Winter and Then, Something

Poems read or referred to in the podcast:

“The Body grows without-” by Emily Dickinson
Upon Julie’s Clothes” by Robert Herrick
“The Remedy”, “Crow”, “Puppet Therapy” and “Shelter” from Tim Mayo’s new book Thesaurus of Separation


Original music and artwork by Karl R. Powell.

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4 Replies to “This Choice: Tim Mayo”

  1. I’m so happy to have discovered your blog! What an inspiring gem. I’ve actually been researching trauma informed mental health care using a template that’s come out of Vermont.

  2. Ren, I’ve been so busy that I first missed when you put this podcast up, and the business didn’t stop until now, today, when I finally was able to sit down and listen to the interview. Thank you for inviting me to do this, it came out so well, because of your excellent editing. You’re wonderful and so generous!!!



    1. I am so grateful that you took the time! It was a pleasure to talk to you, and a difficult thing to edit out so much of your story. I have an eye out for reviews. Please drop me a line if they slip by me! Much love and admiration, Ren


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