Jennifer O’Grady

Jennifer O’Grady is an award-winning American playwright and poet. Her plays are produced across the U.S. and internationally and have won the Rising Artist Award, Henley Rose Award, audience-choice awards and many other honors. Her work is published in multiple editions of The Best Ten-Minute Plays, Best New Ten-Minute PlaysBest Women’s Stage Monologues and other anthologies. She is also the author of two poetry books, White (Midlist First Series Award for Poetry) and Exclusions & Limitations (Plume Editions/MadHat Press). Her poems appear in Poetry, Harper’s, The Kenyon Review, The New Republic, The Writer’s Almanac, Poetry DailyAmerican Poetry: The Next Generation and numerous other places. Welcome to Jennifer’s website!

In twin chairs by the lakeside tonight
we’ve watched day’s last light

spread like a bright blush over treetops
past the point where cabins stand

abandoned, sealed against winter.
In the middle distance the island floats,

fading. There alone the wild blueberries
hang like unmarked globes over water

separating shore from shore.
Why they grow there but not here

puzzles, like love or the coming bereavements
of autumn, or rumors of empty, drifting skiffs.

For now at least the island remains
part and not part of the unknowing night

as we are to each other
island and mainland, ship and shore,

a familiar place; a mystery.

Anniversary, Exclusions & Limitations

Educate girls and there will be no more guillotines. That is what my father told me.

My father knew nothing about girls.

(Excerpt from monologue forthcoming in The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2022)

Madame, Charlotte's Letters

She is making herself and not herself
anguish dressed in baroque repose,

a motionlessness that is never still,
arranged, betraying nothing

the restrained line of an eyebrow or lip,
the arc of a neck, the skillful reflection

of a sleeve of the moon-white gown
in the olive-green water

gradually assembled, balanced there
in this unexpected moment,

this small world holding its breath.

from Susanna and the Elders, White

Okay. So sue me. Do you have any idea what it’s like being me?

(To an Audience member:)

Maybe you do, but the rest of you don’t. People always thinking you’re fucked up or off your meds, eve when you try to hide it. But we can’t hide anything from them. They know. Ever try to ignore someone who’s yakking at you ceaselessly? And believe me, the dead can talk. They don’t have anything else to do.

(Excerpt from monologue published in The Best Women’s Stage Monologues 2017)

Liesel (to Audience), Ellery