Mary Ann Davis (pronouns she/her) is a poet, lyrical theorist, and scholar with varied interests across the disciplines of literary, feminist, sexuality, and queer studies. She earned an M.F.A. in Poetry from the University of Michigan – where she was awarded a prestigious Hopwood Award – before completing a Ph.D. in Literature and Gender Studies at the University of Southern California.
Her scholarship explores literary, cultural, and theoretical engagements with erotic power in Great Britain and the United States from the mid-nineteenth century through the present, especially in the forms of sadomasochism, kink, and BDSM. Her monograph in-progress, Between the Monstrous and the Mundane, is a hybrid work of lyric theory. Offering a genealogy of sadomasochism that moves beyond stereotypes of extremity, focusing rather on the banal and the everyday, this project engages a range of texts: literature and art (Charlotte Brontë, Swinburne, Sacher-Masoch, Rice, Flanagan and Rose); culture and subculture (50 Shades, Samois, Society of Janus, BDSM handbooks); and theorists and practitioners (Deleuze, Foucault, MacKendrick, Rubin, Barthes, contemporary BDSM players), alongside the author’s reflections on her experiences in queer BDSM and leather subcultures.
Mary Ann’s poems have appeared in In Posse Review and Crab Orchard Review, and won the 2011 Prism Review Poetry Prize and the 2016 Robin Becker Chapbook competition for Portrait of a Voice. An essay published in OCHO: A Journal of Queer Arts explores her interest in bridging the divide between critical and lyrical thinking, especially as a process of healing. A poetry manuscript in-progress, Sublunary, returns to metaphysical questions and forms to sing through queer erotic intimacy and growing up queer.
Born and raised in Louisville, Kentucky, she also considers herself to be a Californian at heart. When not teaching or writing, she is reading long fantasy novels, practicing kundalini yoga, traveling in search of sublime crema (espresso), building queer and kink community, and ruminating on erotic ethics.