Madeleine Mysko is the author of two novels, Bringing Vincent Home (Plain View Press, 2007) and Stone Harbor Bound (Bridle Path Press, 2015), and a poetry collection, Crucial Blue, (Cherry Grove Collections, 2019).
Her poetry, reviews, essays, and short fiction have been published widely in literary journals that include Shenandoah, Commonweal, Presence, River Styx, and The Hudson Review. As a peace and justice activist, she has also contributed op-ed pieces to venues including The Baltimore Sun and The Veteran.
Born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland, Madeleine Mysko attended parochial schools and graduated from Mercy Hospital School of Nursing in 1967. During the Vietnam War, she served in the Army Nurse Corps on the famous burn ward of Brooke Army Medical Center, an experience out of which she later wrote her first novel, Bringing Vincent Home. When she later returned to college, she majored in literature and writing. She received a bachelor’s degree in English from Rosemont College, and master’s degrees from both The Writing Seminars of The Johns Hopkins University and The George Washington University.
In 2015, she published her second novel, Stone Harbor Bound, a lyrical novel set in Stone Harbor. New Jersey.
For years she has taught creative writing, both poetry and fiction, in the Baltimore-Washington area. As a nurse, she has worked in Assisted Living at a Baltimore retirement community. She has also worked as a waitress—a short career she wrote about in The Baltimore Sun when her “Real Life” pieces would appear regularly in the Modern Life section. Presently she serves as coordinating editor of the Reflections column for American Journal of Nursing.
Among her awards are two Individual Artist grants from the Maryland State Arts Council, a Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award, scholarships from Sewanee Writers Conference and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and an Artscape Prize for Fiction from the City of Baltimore.
They’d been on the interstate for two hours when Ted began to feel drowsy. “I can’t keep my eyes open,” he said. “I hate driving in the afternoon.”
“Carbohydrates,” Augusta said grimly. “You had two pieces of cake. All that icing.”
There was an exit coming up, but it was a shame, because both the children were asleep in the back, and a stop would surely wake them. Buddy was teething, running a low-grade fever. Four year-old Laura had just celebrated her birthday at Granny and Pop Pop’s. For the first hour of the trip she had whined for her new doll. Ted had inadvertently packed it in the trunk.
They took the exit, which ended at a stoplight. A truck pulled up behind them, squealing its brakes, and two motorcycles roared by on the shoulder. Laura yawned and whined. “Mommy, when will we be home?”
I'm thrilled and grateful to Presence: A Journal of Catholic Poetry, and to Arthur Powers for his generous review in the beautiful 2020 issue. "In Crucial Blue," writes Powers, "Madeleine Mysko does a magnificent job of capturing this liturgical sense of the ordinary, precisely portraying everyday moments and allowing us to be lifted by them."
Camille Dungy, judge in Ruminate magazine's Nonfiction Prize competition, chose Madeleine Mysko's memoir of her friendship with the poet Anne Frydman--"A Bird's Voice Calls"--for an honorable mention: " I really really loved this essay," writes Dungy. "Anne is the woman I want to be in the world, but I don't want to have to suffer what she suffered to get there. And the friend/narrator is drawn with compassionate but unswerving attention." The piece to be published in the Summer 2018 issue, can be accessed on Ruminate's blog: