Poems and Stories

Ivy Lodge

A strange house, a creepy landlord, and a pair of white cats: new short story on East of the Web‘Ivy Lodge’.

posted 27 June 2019

Poem Posters

Two poem posters, ‘Winter Dance’ and ‘Match of the Day’, are available to purchase from Cultured Llama Publishing. The posters were designed for the exhibition Orchard: Art inspired by Rainham Community Orchard. Poems by Maria C. McCarthy, artwork and design by Sara E.Fletcher and Mark Holihan. View low res versions of the posters and order copies here: Poem Posters.

‘Match of the Day’ and another poem, ‘Mulch’, appear in Confluence 9.

posted 1 May 2019

‘Caged’ on East of the Web

My story ‘Caged’ appears on East of the Web. When Ellen moves to a village, all is not as quiet as she hoped. There is a dog kept in a cage in the neighbours’ garden. It barks day and night.  But who is really caged?

posted 28 December 2017

Two poems from There are Boats on the Orchard on Abegail Morley’s Poetry Shed

The title poem of There are Boats on the Orchard, and another poem, ‘Boy on a Ladder’, feature on Abegail Morley’s Poetry Shed, alongside illustrations by Sara Fletcher.

posted 30 October 2017

‘Cold Salt Water’ on East of the Web

‘Cold Salt Water’ a story from the collection As Long as it Takes, features on East of the Web. On the night of the Guildford pub bombings, Kieran comes home with his shirt splattered in blood. The bucket of cold salt water into which his mother drops the shirt, will not erase the prejudice towards an Irish family living in England in the 1970s. Read it here: East of the Web

posted 30 October 2017

Another Woman’s Kitchen

A new story, published exclusively on The Short Story: ‘Another Woman’s Kitchen’. This began after a comment by Medway poet Barry Fentiman Hall, saying he wouldn’t be interested in reading a story about having tea on the lawn in Surrey. So I wrote a story that included tea on the lawn, in an ex-council house in Surrey, and named one of the characters Barry.

Brenda is delighted to have her son and daughter-in-law living in the newly built extension. Teena, the daughter-in-law, doesn’t live up to Brenda’s hopes and dreams, so Brenda reckons she’ll give the couple a helping hand. But Brenda’s plans don’t turn out as she hopes. Read it here:‘Another Woman’s Kitchen’

posted 9 August 2017

England’s Future History

England’s Future History: Volume 1 is now published as an ebook, featuring my story, ‘How Beautiful’.

The 13 winning short stories from the online competition England’s Future History are featured here along with illustrations never seen before. The concept was to create a future timeline of this country through short stories. Every 3 months, a new selection of stories was chosen from the dozens of entries. Once they were published, their events were added to the timeline. No future entries could contract these events. The winners come from established, award-winning writers to new writers just starting out – our youngest winner is aged just 16 years old. The stories mix sci-fi, politics and great characters to create a future that is both hopeful and bleak.

Buy it here, and please take the time to review it: England’s Future History: Volume 1

posted 9 May 2017

Stories on The MacGuffin

The MacGuffin is a literary jukebox, which allows readers to read and listen to poetry, fiction, or creative non-fiction. Two of my stories appear on the site: ‘Caged’ and ‘Cold Salt Water’, the latter being from my collection As Long as it Takes. You can search for my stories on The MacGuffin using the hashtags Maria C. McCarthy and Cultured Llama.

posted 11 February 2016

Wandering Words

Sheep in orchard at Teynham, by S Palmer

In the spring of 2015, I was commissioned by Ideas Test and Rochester Literature Festival to write site-specific work about the A2 in Swale and Medway. I had already been working on a sequence of poems about the orchards that surround me: orchards that grew along the A2 in Swale and Medway and are now in decline. The result is a sequence of poems, three prose pieces – nature writing – and several audio pieces including interviews with local people. These are enhanced by photos by Stephen Palmer and others, plus my own. You can read them, along with the work of eleven other commissioned writers, at the Wandering Words website. You are also encouraged to write your own Wandering Words and upload them to the site, which will become a literary map of Swale and Medway.

posted 6 June 2015


No Eggs

Some poems take a long time from writing to publication. Here’s one I prepared much, much earlier. Read ‘No Eggs’ on Black Sheep Journal.

posted 20 April 2015

A Piercing

My first publication of 2015 is ‘A Piercing’ – a poem on The Open Mouse. Read it here

posted 10 January 2015


The Good Book

‘The Good Book’, a film by Anton French and Rosie Escott, was premiered on a pedal-powered cinema at the Wise Words festival in Canterbury on Friday 13 September 2013. The film is about the opening of the Beaney House of Art and Knowledge, and features poems about the physical book, some of which won the Wise Words poetry competition. My poem, ‘Preparation for Reading’ is the second poem read in the film, about five minutes in. Canterbury poet Mary-Anne Smith also has a poem in the film. Both of us wrote our poems rather quickly as the competition deadline was approaching – nothing like a deadline to get the work done. Poems featured are by Heathcote Williams, Ann Drysdale, Mary Anne Smith, Anna Bolton, Maria C. McCarthy and Helen Kay. You can watch ‘The Good Book’ here https://vimeo.com/73997765 The film also features on the Just About Right Productions website, where there is a link to the written poems. Click here.
posted 16 September 2013

‘How Beautiful’

Read my dark satire inspired by welfare reform on the Writers’ Hub website: ‘How Beautiful’.
posted 24 June 2013

‘Travellers Welcome’ and an interview with Maria C. McCarthy

The poem ‘Travellers Welcome’ and the interview with Maria C. McCarthy by John Mackay appear in Issue 14, the final issue of the magazine. This is reproduced with the kind permission of 14 Magazine. Read it by clicking Here.
posted 28 January 2013

‘Bless This House’, ‘Blithe Spirits’ and ‘Travellers Welcome’

My poem ‘Bless This House’ can be read on the Ink, Sweat and Tears website by clicking here; it was posted on 8 December 2012, so do scroll down the page to read it, stopping to read other poems on the way.
My poem ‘Blithe Spirits’ can be read on the Cultured Llama website by clicking here.
My poem ‘Travellers Welcome’ can be read in Issue 14, the final issue of 14 Magazine, along with an interview with John Mackay on how I came to write the poem. Buy 14 Magazine by clicking here.
posted 11 December 2012

Poetry, music and gumboot dancing on You Tube

There are some clips from the ‘From Page to Stage’ event held at the Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne on the new Cultured Llama You Tube channel. These feature poetry readings, music and gumboot dancing. The evening was to launch my poetry collection ‘strange fruits’ and to raise funds for Macmillan Cancer Support. £225 was raised that evening alone, and the fundraising total now stands at £603. Thanks to everyone who took part in the evening, giving their time and talents for free. More videos from the evening will go up in the next week, so do go back and look again. You can link to the clips here. posted 17 November 2011

Poems from ‘strange fruits’ – read by Maria C. McCarthy

The first video from the launch of ‘strange fruits’ – From Page to Stage at the Avenue Theatre, Sittingbourne – is now on You Tube. This clip is my first reading on the evening, with three poems: “Strange Fruits”; “The Brickbat Wall” and “Missed you on the Day it Rained”. Watch it here.
posted 14 November 2011

As Long as it Takes

The title story of my collection ‘As Long As it Takes’ is now on the Writers’ Hub website. Read it here.
posted 1 November 2011


I’m posting this in honour of Record Store Day. It’s a prose poem I wrote a few years ago. I showed it to the brother mentioned in the poem, and he told me that the record was ‘Hole in my shoe’ by Traffic. Oh well, my memory is not always accurate; but the song in the poem works better. Call it poetic licence. Here it is: Flowerpot. posted 16 April 2011

From Norah to Noreen

Writers’ Hub have published a companion piece to my story ‘More Katharine than Audrey’. It’s about how I came to write the story, and my writing process once the idea took root. The piece is called ‘From Norah to Noreen – on writing More Katharine than Audrey‘. There is a link to the story to the right of the page on the Writers’ Hub site. I recommend you read the story first, so as not to spoil the ending. posted 24 March 2011

More Katharine than Audrey

My story ‘More Katharine than Audrey’ is now available to read on the Writers’ Hub website. I am so excited about this, as my work is alongside Polly Sansom, Alan Beard and several other published authors that I admire. The story started with a news story a couple of years ago, plus a family story told to me by my father’s cousin in Ireland. But I won’t spoil it for you. Read it at this link and if you are on Facebook, please click the ‘Like’ link and post it your Facebook wall. posted 7 February 2011

At the Shrine of St Jude, Faversham

This poem was highly commended in the Save As Poetry Awards 2010. My visit to the shrine was inspired by it featuring in The End of Mr Y by Scarlett Thomas. It brought up all sorts of heebygeebies about my Catholic upbringing, and was originally a longer, more personal poem. posted 10 January 2011


My poem ‘Story’ gained second place in Canterbury Festival Poet of the Year 2010. Read it here.

Hear Maria as a columnist on Radio 4’s Home Truths

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