Award: Artist Research & Development Grant
Discipline: Literary Arts
Project Collaborator(s):

City/Town: Tucson
Year: 2018
Artist Website:

I am deeply invested in poetry of place, and believe that the clearest writing comes from a clear sense of one’s place in the world, even if that place is strange and stark.

Laura Maher’s grant will help her complete a series of poems on the themes of chronic illness, health, healthcare policies, and caregiving, as well as the impacts these topics can have on the body and mind, finances, and familial relationships, part of her larger book-length manuscript, Cure.

The poems will explore Maher’s own experiences, but will also include other first-person narratives gathered from anonymous surveys and research on specific health issues. She will also pull language from the primary healthcare texts of recent memory: the Affordable Care Act, the American Health Care Act, and the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Though the primary texts—and recent conversations around healthcare—are politically charged, the poet aims to deepen the conversation around the human experience of being well or ill instead of adding to any political dialogue on the subject of healthcare.

In the process of working on these poems, Maher will also conduct writing workshops on the subjects of health and illness at community and health centers in Southern Arizona. These workshops will be hands-on, generative courses that will teach students strategies for continuing writing beyond the workshop.

Read “Cure” by Laura Maher

Read “Letter to the Gone Lover, Late May”

Laura Maher is the author of the chapbook, Sleep Water (Dancing Girl Press, 2017). Her poetry has appeared in Crazyhorse, Moonsick Magazine, The Collagist, New Ohio Review, and Third Coast. Her criticism has appeared or is forthcoming in Cutbank Online, The Bind, and the radio program Speedway and Swan with Brian Blanchfield. A recipient of fellowships from Vermont Studio Center and the Academy of American Poets, she will be teaching a course on the revision process, titled “Revisioning,” at the University of Arizona Poetry Center in Fall 2017.