Maria Taylor

Maria Taylor




Maria Taylor is a poet and reviewer. She co-ordinates events for the Leicestershire Arts group,  Crystal Clear Creators. Her poetry and reviews have been published in a variety of publications, including The TLSStapleThe North and IotaMelanchrini, her debut poetry collection, is published by Nine Arches Press and was launched at the Ledbury Poetry Festival in Summer 2012.
Maria was born in Worksop in 1978 of Greek Cypriot parents. As a child her family moved to London. After studying at Warwick and Manchester she became a teacher of English and now lectures in Creative Writing at De Montfort University. She currently lives in Leicestershire with her husband and twin daughters.

Creative Work

This poem first appeared in Under The Radar.

Par Avion

Air-speeded letters sing the light of home,
lyrical with distance, the blue and red
flecked envelopes become a mother.

Home so far away it turns into myth.
Memory lapses into dream and dreams
are forgotten. The only reality is ink.

Your mother’s handwriting neat and clean
on the blue paper, soon spidered
with age. Hands tremoring, years passing

like the planes tearing overhead as letters
exchanged over the arc of earth between
a woman and her son, par avion.

Faces, half-recalled, revived by pen:
sisters getting married, fathers always busy,
babies getting born, you missing.

Homesickness is an open wound,
you may have thrown the letters away, but
I saw the blood through your shirt.

It spoke with a red mouth.



When I was a child, my father used to receive Air Mail post from my grandmother in Cyprus. The look of those letters, ‘the red and blue flecked envelopes’ and the words ‘Par Avion’ in the corner, made a huge impression on me. They felt as if they were from a different world. Many years later I was in a stationer’s, wheeling around my twin daughters in their buggy and I saw a packet of those Air Mail envelopes. All at once I was transported back to my childhood. For so many years it was the only way my parents had of communicating with home – remember that not everyone had a telephone and getting in touch was difficult.

It was through those letters that many important family events were revealed, mainly births, marriages and deaths. When my grandmother died in the late eighties and the letters stopped, everything changed. My father’s way of coping was unconventional: he burnt almost all his letters from his mother. My own mother happened to save just one, which I would sometimes have a look at from time to time. The ‘spidery’ letters meant a lot to me.

Through poetry, I am able to explore my heritage and I often include many Greek and Greek Cypriot dialect words in my work. Since leaving London with its Greek Community, and settling and marrying in Leicestershire, I’ve actually addressed this important part of my identity in my writing. I am starting to make some sense of things in retrospect.



Melanchrini, Nine Arches Press, 2012



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