The White Tree Quartet

This week’s other featured books, “Buddha Was a Cowboy,” by Junior Burke and “The Viola Factor,” by Sheridan Brown, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.


THE BOOK: The White Tree Quartet


THE AUTHOR: Mary Pacifico Curtis/

THE PUBLISHER: WordTech Communications, Turning Point imprint

SUMMARY: The White Tree Quartet weaves together four different stories, each its own poem cycle. Inevitably, the reader will wonder, as I did, how these fit together in a single book and what the arc of that book might be. In one sense, they don’t ‘fit’ together, but instead they bump against each other in a study of one life’s random and selected experiences held to a light and prized for their differences. Ultimately, however the arc expresses journeys within a life that is itself a journey in progress.

THE BACK STORY: The White Tree Quartet decided to ‘be written’ at a time when I was working in earnest on my first full length poetry which will finally be published early next year (by Finishing Line Press). Sometimes I write because I am so moved by someone or something that I want to explore it and hold it in the reverence of poetry which comes most naturally to me. I had been feeling guilty, like I had not honored my cherished friendship with a holocaust survivor. She has been an angel in my life, and I set out to tell that story, and within it, a bit about hers.

Next, I wrote a cycle about a recent trip to the Amazon, poems that bump against one another in a cacophony of the place.

At the same time, my daughter pointed out that one of our favorite dogs was poem worthy. She had a story that could only be told in a series of poems about all we didn’t know (her life before coming into the family) as well as what we learn from her about our humanity.

The final inspiration came from my older daughter’s wedding to a Persian immigrant whose family did not have the English to tell us their story. Instead, we heard it from my future son in law. When we met the family, there was a cordial exchange of smiles and photos shared between us from our very different ealier lives.

The crowning synchronicity as I was collecting these poems into four cycles came with a story on NPR about albino redwood trees in the Santa Cruz mountains. Scientists recently found that the white thought to be fungus was instead the lower part of the tree absorbing toxins from the soil and preserving the living tree above.

You can read more here:

WHY THIS TITLE?: The story of The White Tree Quartet title is above. I will add that I loved the musicality suggested by this title.

WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO READ IT? Hmmm, why does anyone buy a certain book – let alone a book of poetry? Perhaps the reader simply loves poetry and is drawn to the musicality implied in the title. Perhaps a lover of poetry reads this as they themselves are exploring the lives within our lives. Perhaps someone is intrigued by the cover photo, or a friend has spoken about this collection. Perhaps someone has read my poems in any number of literary magazines. Sometimes it’s just fun to know there are so many answers to a simple question!

REVIEW COMMENTS: “From the moment ‘the blue door opens’ and we meet Gitta in the first poem, we know we are going on a journey. While each poem stands its own ground, Mary Pacifico Curtis weaves a narrative that suggests ‘there are hidden people…’ ‘The ones who know only the jungle and its ways.’ Then she leads us to them-Leandro; ‘the nothing guide’; the smallest princess-and the dogs. We look at love and connection and what is often the paltry thinness of their beginnings. When we view the family photos at an impending wedding, ‘a small stack in a worn baggy,’ we become aware of the inner and outer refugee. We are grateful for an earth that contains an Amazon River and a white tree that will take up our suffering and bless us. A cohesive collection from a fine poet.”-Parthenia M. Hicks, Poet Laureate Emerita, Los Gatos, CA

“Bold as it is delicate, beautiful as it is violent, The White Tree Quartet is Mary Curtis’s homage to the everyday and the exotic. She shows us the distances we must often travel during the simplest of interactions, and how if we choose to look, we can find jungles in our own back yards.”-Jon Michael Varese, author, The Spirit Photographer

AUTHOR PROFILE: 2007 was a pivotal year when I lost my beloved husband to pancreatic cancer, and grief paused my vibrant career as founder CEO of one of Silicon Valley’s leading PR and branding firms. I had restarted my lifelong passion for writing during his illness and soon completed a memoir that was (fortunately!) never published. Acknowledging that I was in for five years of life altering change, I sent two daughters off to college and by 2012 had completed an MFA focused on poetry. My work has been published somewhat widely including in The Rumpus, Narrative Magazine, the Tupelo Quarterly, and Catamaran. Accolades include recognition as a 2012 Joy Harjo Poetry Finalist (Cutthroat Journal), 2019 Poetry Finalist in The Tiferet Journal, non-fiction finalist in The 48th New Millenium Writings contest and a 2021 non-fiction finalist in The Tupelo Quarterly Open. In 2016, WordTech published my first collection, Between Rooms.

In 2021, my memoir Understanding Moonseed was released by BlazeVox Books.

AUTHOR COMMENTS: The idea that we write to know what we are thinking could not be more true. In the process of writing these poems, I was very caught up in the telling of stories that were meaningful to me and also larger than me. In contemplating what I have done on the page, it is very clear that the cohesion on the pages of The White Tree Quartet lies in the exploration of lives within lives, something that all of us share as part of our human experience. SAMPLE: LOCAL OUTLETS: Wherever I do readings. WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and my preference, from the publisher:

PRICE: $17.00


Instagram @brandwisdom


Facebook: Mary Pacifico Curtis and Mary Pacifico Author.

More information is at

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s