Meet the Authors

Meet the Authors: Mary Christine Delea

Eliza Tudor
Eliza Tudor
July 11, 2023
15 min read
Meet the Authors: Mary Christine Delea

Welcome back to our special Q&A series with Old Iron Press authors. We are thrilled to present Playing Authors contributor, Mary Christine Delea!

Mary Christine Delea has a Ph.D. in English/Creative Writing and is a former professor who, since leaving academia, has volunteered for various nonprofit organizations. She is the author of a full-length book, The Skeleton Holding Up the Sky, three chapbooks, and numerous journal and anthology publications. She also makes beaded jewelry, headdresses, and quilts. Her website is It includes a blog where she posts poems she loves twice a week, on Sundays and Wednesdays, and a writing prompt every Sunday.

Welcome, Christine!


At OIP, we love the fact that everyone has their own set of “classics” (i.e., books, songs, recipes, comics, food, objects, movies, shows, etc. that shaped you). What were some of your favorite childhood classics?


Poetry Book: A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson

Song: “Chirpy Chirpy Cheep Cheep” by Middle of the Road, 1971

Food: Chinese, pizza, Carvel ice cream

Movies: musicals and old horror, Abbott and Costello, Marx Brothers

Role Models: Amelia Earhart, Harriet Tubman

A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, Illustrated by Alice and Martin Provensen

What inspired your piece for Playing Authors?


The story of Marianne Moore and her relationship with Ford has always fascinated me. This poem came from that bit of interesting history.

"How to Be a Poet" is part of a series of How To poems I have been working on for years.

As a native of Long Island, I have written many poems about Long Island. Whitman also makes an appearance, as he does here, in a number of my poems.


Favorite word / font / letter?


R is my favorite letter.


Where would your adventure be set: underwater or in space?


My COPD makes any adventure in which breathing is an issue terrifying.


Snacks while you work? If yes, what’s your go-to?


Fruit with poppy seed dressing, popcorn (salt, no butter), cola gummy bears.

"Salt, no butter."


What are some of your favorite tools-of-the-trade?


I usually write on my Mac. During my prompt group writing, I write by hand. I write by hand every once in a while while not in a group, just for fun. I am always surprised at how different my poems are, as far as line breaks, stanzas/sections, and form in general, when I write by hand as opposed to writing by computer.

Notes for poems—titles, phrases, lines, images, general ideas—are written in or on whatever is handy, usually in the Notes on my phone. There are papers and notebooks everywhere in our house with bits written on them.


You are hosting a party. Who’s coming? Where and when? What’s being served? (Fictional characters and locales are welcome.)


Guests: Shirley Chisholm, Janis Joplin, Lucy Stone, Gwendolyn Brooks, Eva Mirabal, Anne Sexton, Jane Adams, Jane Addams, Anna Mae Wong, Lucy Terry Prince, Agatha Christie, Ai Ogawa, Patsy Mink, Mother Jones, Dusty Springfield, Queen Lili’uokalani, Grace Hopper, Elouise P. Cobell, Grandma Moses, Audre Lorde, The Del Rubio Triplets, Andrea Dworkin, Sylvia Rivera, Marsha P. Johnson, Linda Laubenstein, Sacagawea, Amy Lowell, Edith Wharton, Frida Kahlo, Maeve Binchy, Lupe Vélez, Dolores O’Riordan, Marie Curie, Harriet Tubman, Amelia Earhart, Eleanor Roosevelt, Eileen Chang, The Andrews Sisters, Mary, Queen of Scots

We’d eat at my fantasy house (a mansion outside of Las Vegas), and I would make various fancy appetizers, fun cocktails, and cupcakes. We would also have wine—it is Oregon, after all. Appetizers would include ginger shrimp lettuce wraps, pesto-filled cherry tomatoes, smoked trout, steak bites, mini soup bread bowls, crab-stuffed mushrooms, bruschetta, dolmas, and grilled pineapple. Cocktails would include pineapple rum punch, mai tai, Singapore slings, and Blue Hawaiis. Cupcakes would include s’mores, lemon lime, salted caramel, maple bacon, chocolate chip cookie dough, hot cocoa, raspberry lemonade, peppermint, dulce de leche, chocolate orange, pistachio, and vanilla bean. There would also be fresh fruit, cheese and crackers, veggie trays, flavored waters, iced tea, and homemade ginger ale.


What mashups do you wish existed?


I am too old for mash-ups, although I love DJ Earworm’s Mash-ups at the end of every year (2014 and 2015 are my favorites, although the last 2 are also really good).

Duet I would love to see: Rickie Lee Jones and Taylor Swift

Covers: any pop song covered by a symphony orchestra


What are some things you enjoy doing off-screen?


Quilting, beading jewelry, reading, baking, volunteering, traveling by car, visiting wineries, being at the beach.


Any recommendations for the OIP community? What have you been enjoying lately? Or something you’ve been working on that you’d like to share?


I have a website that includes a blog. On this blog, I post poems by other people on Sundays and Wednesdays—my tastes are eclectic, so these poems are as well. On Sundays, I also post a writing prompt. The site is I am reading/re-reading Agatha Christie’s books. I am learning Irish on Duolingo.

The Skeleton Holding Up the Sky by Mary Christine Delea
Thank you so much, Christine. We love what you make, and we’re so excited to publish your work.

Find more on Instagram @mchristinebd. Look for The Skeleton Holding Up the Sky (Main Street Rag), and make sure to check out Christine’s writing prompt this Sunday.

This fall, you can find Mary Christine Delea’s work in Old Iron Press’s inaugural anthology, Playing Authors!

Gutenborg...On the Road
Continue to follow along all summer with Gutenborg, our favorite one-wheel wonderer, as we roadtrip to meet Old Iron Press authors near and far. Look for Playing Authors, coming out fall 2023.
Next up, Traci Cumbay!
← Prev
← Prev
Next →
Next →