Marcia B. Loughran won Mrs. Mott’s prestigious haiku prize in fifth grade at the National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., and resumed her writing career thirty years later. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from the Bennington Writing Seminars in 2013. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Spoon River Poetry Review and elsewhere. She’s the author of three chapbooks, Still Life with Weather“My Mother Never Died Before” and Other Poems, and Songs from the Back-in-the-Back. Her latest chapbook, Tap Dance at the Nursing Home, will be available in 2024. Marcia reads her work in bars, bookstores and black-box theaters in New York City and the Hudson Valley. She is a nurse practitioner and proud resident of Queens, NY.

New publication:
The New Guard Review
Vol. X
Marcia B. Loughran is the featured poet in the latest issue.
Order copies.



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Cover of Marcia Loughran's newest chapbook Songs from Back in the Back



My Mother Never Died Before


It’s been three weeks
since my mother died and I am starting
to forget, not her, to forget
each crazy mini-moment since,
how the EMT got on the phone—
it’s what we all want,
our own bed, our own pajamas—
how the next day
Kevin from the funeral home
pronounced pah-JAY-mas
the way they do in the Midwest,
she’ll be dressed
in a new set of pah-JAY-mas—
he is from Ohio,
although a different part
than my mother.
Just being from Ohio
felt like a miracle to us
as we stood in the parlor of Grommer’s Sons,
which incidentally did
Presidents Taft, Roosevelt, Roosevelt, JFK—
then I stopped listening
because we walked into a room full of coffins—
thoughtfully laid out like new cars,
angled to imagine an exciting journey in comfort and safety—
some open to white quilted interiors,
some closed to accentuate a glossy finish.
I kept saying, Uh! Ugh! Uck!! as we passed through
which was probably rude.
But Kevin never blinked—
he is a professional—
and when my brother and I
squabbled, you could tell
Kevin had a sister somewhere—
maybe in Ohio—
he would squabble with, too.
Walking towards the urn display
my father spied a tasteful wooden box
holding tissues—
She’d love that one! he said.
Even Kevin laughed.
It made looking at the urns easy, I was surprised
how simple, I’d imagined a Grecian vase
with curvatures and animals in blue
cavorting, not these plain wooden containers
bigger than a toaster
smaller than a breadbox.
We picked one and wandered out
making small talk about the renovations.
I want to remember
the scraps of things,
what people say, offerings,
a patchwork quilt to comfort us—
moments of incredulity, this is
my mother has died, the event
I have been dreading and preparing for,
imagining the possibility,
possibly since I was born.
Here is how it felt to get the news:
like the boat I had been sailing
thudded into a dock.
Like I stepped onto the pier and held
the stillness of land
after a long time afloat—
my sea-legs stopped rocking.
Maybe because the cord
that had been gently, persistently
tugging me along,
pulling me over the ocean,
the cord
that yanked me into the world
has been cut.


My Mother Never Died Before & Other Poems, January 2021
Nominated by The Poetry Box for the Pushcart Prize:
Best of the Small Press Awards, for poetry published in 2021

Marcia B. Loughran reads
her work at the event
From the BQE to QED

Past Events

Click on the image to hear/see Marcia read.

27-16 23rd Avenue
Astoria, NY 11105
Storytelling evening (think faux “Moth” with a Queens/NY accent) in Astoria.
Thursday March 14, 2024

The Hudson Valley Irish Festival
Peekskill Riverfront Green Park
Spoken Word Tent
Peekskill Metro-North

Saturday September 23, 2023 at 1 PM

2023 Irish American Arts Awards
Marcia Loughran, Honoree
Friday April 28, 2023 at 5:30 PM
The Statler, 107 Delaware Avenue, Buffalo, NY

See more at The Irish Echo.

The New York Poetry Festival
Courtesy of Irish American Writers and Artists (IAWA)
Nolan Park on Governors Island
Sunday Sep 11, 2022 at 2:30
More information

See write-up in The Irish Echo.

The Friars Club
Courtesy of Irish American Writers and Artists (IAWA)
Monday Aug 15, 2022 at 7 PM
57 E 55th St, New York, NY 10022

If you missed the September event, see Marcia read in the above YouTube video.
View the whole video here, or click to go to YouTube.


The Poetry Box LIVE – September Edition
September 11, 2021
ZOOM poetry reading series
4pm PST; 5pm (Mountain); 6pm (Central); 7pm (EST).
The entire show will be approximately 60 minutes.

Bennington Writers
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 – 7pm EST
Facebook Live

Link on the Bennington Writers FB page.

Please join these five formidable, yet genial, Bennington writers: Claudia Stanek, Marcia Loughran, Julia Pistell, Bree Wolfe, and Alex Dawson. V. Hansmann, host



The Poetry Box LIVE Zoom
Saturday, January 9, 2021
7pm (Eastern)

Author portrait: Cam Sanders