Winner of The Teacher’s Voice

2006 Chapbook Contest

"Sardonic, hilarious and at times magnificent, the poems in Mary Beth O’Connor’s Smackdown! draw us into a frenetic fictional universe as she captures the murderously picayune world of academia -- high stakes and sometimes low folks duke it out in poems that position us in between a dean ‘caressing his wild eyebrow hair’ as his ‘wife's pink Cadillac swings into the smooth macadam drive’ and a nontenured Assistant Professor who is sitting in as Department Chair (while the real chair goes on sabbatical), ‘Late that night I woke/from a troubled sleep/I couldn't let him ambush me/Next morning. I surprised him/at his mahogany desk.’ Obsessive and petty, they duke it out for no less than how the past will be remembered and the future imagined, that is, who will teach and what will be taught. These are not poems about pitiful or quirky students, the poor or disenfranchised. Mary Beth O’Connor’s devastated eye dares to look at power, money, and privilege. These are intrepid poems that strip the mahogany veneer off power and allow us an inside look. We thank her for these poems."


                                   Finalist Judge, Sapphire


Once upon a semester, a lowly assistant professor was dragooned into serving as the interim chair of her department. This is the (true) story of that term of office. MB, so far still employed at that institution of higher learning, lives out in the country with her partner and their golden retriever. She has published several poems, stories and, most recently, a short play in literary magazines such as Prick of the Spindle, The Comstock Review, Compass Rose, Blue Earth Review, The Massachusetts Review, and Nimrod.



Second Printing Available: April 2010 
Order autographed copies directly from the author

32 Pages
Perfect Binding
natural recycled paper