Kissing the Shuttle – A Lyric History (Blackstone River Books, 2018) is a full-length collection of poetry, historical illustrations and explanatory captions, reenacting a little known history. The lead title refers to a common weaving practice that spread tuberculosis. The book explores the nexus between labor and health, and features the first public health movement to stamp out TB. Set largely in the newly industrialized Blackstone River Valley, notably Rhode Island, this associational history also traces “Cotton Fever’s” effects beyond regional borders. Well-researched, engaging, and full of period details and diverse voices, it shows the human face of industrialization as well as society’s new “esprit de corps” for public health. Readers will experience daily life in the mills and villages, the TB sanatorium, and the nation’s first “open-air schools.” The Historian Laureate of Rhode Island has praised the book as “a blend of both triumph and tragedy.”
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Mary Ann Mayer’s most recent collection is Salt & Altitudes (Finishing Line Press, 2014). Her poems, essays, and translations have been widely published. Her honors include the GrubStreet “Blue Period” Poetry Prize, a Massachusetts Cultural Council grant, and Massachusetts Book Award and Pushcart Prize nominations. She has been a finalist for the May Sarton New Hampshire Book Award. Mary Ann is an editor for Crosswinds Poetry Journal and volunteers with the Ocean State poets, promoting poetry in underserved communities. She was raised in Rhode Island. Newly retired from her occupational therapy practice, she divides her time between Sharon, MA and Franconia, NH. Contact information: firstname.lastname@example.org