Congrats to our October Writer’s Regimen winner

Learn more about The Southeast Review’s Writer’s Regimen

At the end of every month-long Writer’s Regimen, participants are invited to submit up to three of their best regimen-inspired pieces for a chance at publication in SER Online. It was difficult for our editorial staff to narrow down the submissions we received following October’s Writer’s Regimen! We’re pleased to congratulate Mary Beth O’Connor on her winning piece, “fruit of the womb.”


In the last few years, her poems and prose pieces have been published in Minerva Rising, Passager, Sliver of Stone, The Penduline Press, River Lit, Literary Bohemian, and Painted Bride Quarterly.


O’Connor writes, “I’m very recently retired from twenty years teaching at Ithaca College. The photo is my farewell photo for my final reading at the college. When I saw that SER had an upcoming Writer’s Regimen coming up, I jumped at the opportunity to participate. Though I always tried to write with my students in class, I had a hard time balancing teaching with my own writing, so this was a chance to put myself in the place of the student or initiate, or—. I found the daily prompts challenging and interesting, and I came away from the month of daily writing on specific themes, images, words with lots of beginnings I will return to, as well as a couple of perhaps finished pieces. I’m very grateful, and I look forward to the next regimen.”

Mary Beth O’Connor’s winning poem was inspired by Day 30’s Reading-Writing exercise, which accompanied a piece by Philip B. Williams whose “intense poem, along with the concept of hiddenness, provoked (O’Connor’s) poem into being” (O’Connor):

What do you hide, and how do you work to keep it hidden? Where do you allow this part of yourself to hide, and where do you allow it to expose itself? Write a piece that describes this hiddenness, but, like Williams does with the moon, the body, etc., rely on a few specific images to carry the piece.


fruit of the womb

tumor, cyst-studded fibroid

all those years

fearing an unborn ball of fetus

in my protruding belly

I’d heard tell of a woman

who had to carry her dead one

–to what term?

the usual terms fail to apply

they put me

on the maternity ward

surrounded by new moms

and offered me a gourmet dinner

on my last night

all I could do

was throw up my pain meds,

limp around the block,

up and down the mazing corridors

trailing my IV stand

one hand pushing that sad walker

the other behind my back

holding the gown closed

as if crossing my fingers

to cover up a lie


Learn more about The Southeast Review’s Writer’s Regimen