Sun in an Empty Room


By Maryhelen Snyder

Published by Mercury HeartLink available on

From the Foreword by Peter Pizele, author of “Our Fathers’ Wells.

Maryhelen Snyder’s Sun in an Empty Room, a selection of poetry of a lifetime, a distillation of a passage.  I was here, these poems say: this I saw; this I hear, this felt, and this I wrote.  The bird may have flown, but the branch is still trembling and song is still in the ear.  This songbook of hers, infused with delight and discovery, with praise and thanks, records her pilgrimage.

But this is a book whose reach goes far beyond those who can hear her voice in every line, her alto that purrs over certain syllables, that whispers, that laughs, that breaks and weeps and resumes, that speaks to the heart.  What anyone who is slow enough may hear in this poetry are the sounds a human being makes when she is awake to life, fully awake.  This is a larger legacy of this book; it bears witness to what it means to be human.

What Others Have to Say About Sun in an Empty Room

It is a fine journey to read Maryhelen Snyder’s Sun in an Empty Room, a collection of poems from many years of good, rigorous writing and living.  The range of focus and form exhilarates and nourishes.  Here are poems, earthly and seeking, of familial love, of wonder, place, time, mystery, and awe.  They reveal and they reckon.  They are graceful, humble, and tough, offering moments of vision that invigorate the spirit.

–– Thorpe Moeckel, author of Odd Botany and Making a Map of the River; teacher at Hollins University

“When the artist is looking,/ nothing is lonely,” Mel Snyder says in her masterful title poem, “Sun in an Empty Room.”  In this wide-ranging volume, Snyder casts her artist’s eye over subjects that encompass the full range of human experience, from grief and loss to joy and desire.  She not only draws inspiration from the work of Hopper and O’Keefe but paints her own pictures––by dipping her brush into language.  When we read her poems, wisdom comes flooding in like light.

––Sue Ellen Thompson, winner of the 2010 Maryland Author Award and editor of The Autumn House Anthology of Contemporary American Poetry

A Book of Poems



  1. Sun in an Empty Room

  2. No Hole in the Flame

  3. Because I Praise

  4. Young Child as Person


  1. Guarding Master’s Head

  2. Loving Relationships

  3. Conscience Development

  4. Co-Creative Dialogue

  5. More Articles

Poems & Art

  1. Individual Poems

  2. Art


Maryhelen Snyder can be reached by “snail mail” at:

  1. 9672 Farmside Place

  2. Vienna VA 22182

or by email at mels44”AT”