A gift with words

Mary Jean Hillhouse is a woman of words. It’s not that she speaks nonstop, but that when she speaks, you stop and listen.


An interview with the poet Mary Hillhouse

At the recent meeting of the L’Arche Canada National Council in Montreal, Mary, from L’Arche Greater Vancouver, was a Western Region delegate. On the Friday, the Council listened to Brenda Herman, the consultant working with us to reflect on strengthening L’Arche organizational culture in order to renew how we live the mission. Brenda was engaging and had a lot to share. Every now and then Mary’s clear voice would drop in an observation, carefully worded and insightful. It often take Brenda a moment to make the connections to what she was saying at the time, but it helped her make a deeper connection not only with Mary but also with the other delegates.

Mary is also a poet. With Janis Harper  “my editor” and friend, Mary worked on a poetry project in 2012-13. From this project they created a book of poetry which they published as “Family: A Book of Poems.” Mary who is also a visual artist created the cover art. They launched the book in Burnaby where Mary lives and the sales raised $200 for BC Children’s hospital. Mary is grateful for the support she received there as a child. A later book launch in Montreal raised almost $200 for Montreal’s Children’s Hospital.

In June, Mary and her friend and housemate Cristel will perform at the Vancouver Poetry Slam held regularly at the Café Deux Soleils on lively Commercial Drive in Vancouver. Mary was disappointed that a winter Slam was cancelled due to icy conditions; she is eager to perform some of her work with an audience. Mary Hillhouse has something to say.