About the Poets: Photos, Biographies, and Sample Poems:

Mary Birnbaum
Dorothy Derifield
Carolyn Gregory
Holly Guran
Audrey Henderson
Susanna Kittredge
Dorian Kotsiopoulos
Valerie Loveland
Jennifer Markell

David P. Miller
Alan Smith Soto

Sandra Storey


Mary Birnbaum

Mary Elizabeth Birnbaum was born, raised, and educated in New York City. Mary’s translation of the Haitian poet Felix Morisseau-Leroy has been published in The Massachusetts Review, the anthology Into English (Graywolf Press), and in And There Will Be Singing, An Anthology of International Writing by The Massachusetts Review, 2019. Her work has appeared in Lake Effect, J Journal, Spoon River Poetry Review, Soundings East, Barrow Street, and other literary journals.

Following is a sample of her poetry:


Because a poem is an intimacy with a reader,
but also a mystery.
No matter how detailed the story, ultimately
the reader asks,

Why are you telling me this?
What are you not telling me?

These images that we try to make so clear,
syllables that split clouds,
are merely the pearly material that circles
the raw edge of shame.

We must breathe in the same room when
this artifact of humanity
passes from you to me or me to you,
tiny sand grain lost in the palm’s crease—

I promise you I will never forget.

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Dorothy Derifield  


photo by Jeffrey Chasin

Dorothy Derifield is the director of the long-running literary reading series Chapter and Verse in Jamaica Plain. She is also a member of the committee that directs the Rozzie Reads Poetry Reading Series in Roslindale. She is the author of the book Zero Plus Time (Cherry Grove Collections, 2020) and a chapbook, The River and the Lakes. Her work has won an Editor’s Award from Plainsongs and has appeared in the Radcliffe Quarterly among other journals. She is a member of the Jamaica Pond Poets and lives in Roslindale.

Following is a sample of her poetry:


If a train leaves Grand Central heading west at 6 am
and a train leaves Union Station heading east,
which train will you be on? Show all

If your window is 30 inches wide, 50 inches
long, and your yellow curtains are too short,
what do you see from the window? The mailman
passing or the back where the land slides
away from you? Subtract trees from sky.
Add rain.

If you weigh 150 lbs. but every pound you ever lost
is added to your weight, will the moon pull you
roughly over the rocks, leave you bleeding
among her other lovers?

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Carolyn Gregory

Carolyn Gregory’s poems and music essays have been published in American Poetry Review, Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Cutthroat, Bellowing Ark, Seattle Review, Big River Review, Tower Journal, and Stylus. She was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and previously won a Massachusetts Cultural Council Award. Her first poetry collection, Open Letters, was published in 2009 and a second book, Facing The Music, was published in Florida in spring, 2015. She is currently working on her third book of poetry.

Following is a sample of her poetry:

Taking Measure

Last night late, we drove past the river,
shimmering silver under moonlight,
a long stretch beside a dark road.
You turned on the CD player,
Visions of Johanna drawing out
its long melodic line about beauty and belief.
I told you I can’t cry.
You changed the music to the blues.

Earlier, we sat watching the play,
drawn in by lunatics held in a cage.
One spoke to noone
and another banged against restraints.

On stage, good and evil warred 
between two men,
one bent on sensual glut,
the other pure but unable to unlock
the kingdom.
One spoke for human rights,
the other praised the body,
denouncing progress.

Dominance-submission, sense and nonsense.
This is the war that pitches revolutions
inside the soul.
Fire hoses blast water on what remains.

One man’s stabbed at another’s expense.
A raging woman changed history
at the turn of her knife.

Afterward, we ride together through the dark,
taking measure of our own demons.
My sadist slashed your poet.
Your accountant buried me
under mountains of nickels.

The slide guitar draws out its slippery chords
as a black man wails about losing his job,
his home, his dog
and on through the traffic lights.

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Holly Guran

photo by Phil McAlary

Holly Guran lives in Boston where she is retired after working at Roxbury Community College. She is a recipient of a 2012 Massachusetts Cultural Council finalist award and has been a presenter at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Holly attends the Joiner Center summer workshops.  

Twilight Chorus, her recent book, has been accepted by Main Street Rag. She is the author of  River of Bones (Iris Press), the chapbooks River Tracks (Poets Corner Press) and Mothers’ Trails (Noctiluca Press), and her work has appeared in journals including SlipstreamPoet LorePoetry EastHawai’i Pacific ReviewU.S. 1 Worksheets,  Borderlands, Worcester Review, Salamander, and Bryant Literary Review

Holly’s books can be ordered on Amazon. To learn more, visit her website poetry-holly-guran.vpweb.com.  

Following is a sample of her poetry:


A kind of cloth envelope 
meant to hold hankies or trinkets
a girl might cherish, its cover 
a peach-colored maybe-satin 
but rougher, its insides
a darker flesh of velvet 
with a stitched pattern of  diamonds. 

The outside of this pouch—
yes, I think kangaroo—stained by time, 
more than sixty years since it passed 
to my hands from the neighbors
who moved in at night, 
shocked my parents and the other white folks
on our block, two doors down 
in the large house with a front porch. 

Very young I made my visits 
eating orange slices where we sat 
on the porch and rocked the glider. 
Either side of me the dark-skinned women 
gathered laughter in their stitches.
Hush.    Listen.    There’s a hum, 
a murmur.    Voices in this velvet 
my hand touches.

Published in Poet Lore, Volume 106, and in Mothers’ Trails 

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Audrey Henderson

Audrey Henderson was a 2014 Hawthornden Fellow and a finalist for the 2014 Homebound Publications Poetry Prize. Her manuscript Airstream was published in November. Her poems have most recently appeared or are appearing in Magma, The Midwest Quarterly and Tar River Poetry.  She was a finalist in the Indiana Review 1/2 K Award and won second place in the River Styx International Poetry Contest. She is a 2015 Pushcart Prize nominee and was a finalist the 2014 Slapering Hol Chapbook Contest. She is originally from Scotland where she was a contributor to BBC Radio Scotland.

Following is a sample of her poetry:

Green Valentine 

Over-wintered apples sagged, oozing liquor.

Lime green parakeets, two escapees

from the tropics pecked at them, grew silly.

On Madison that day two green parrots,

emerald in fact, were locked behind the grille

of an antique shop– some old emperor’s good luck.

And what of us– charmed, chained or free

drunk on love in the wrong climate?

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Susanna Kittredge


In 2011, Susanna Kittredge returned to the Jamaica Pond Poets after several years on the west coast.  While there, she received a Master of Fine Arts in Poetry from San Francisco State University.  Her poems have been published in many print and on-line literary journals, including Salamander, Bang Out, 580 Split, Instant City, Parthenon West Review, 14 Hills, and Shampoo (edited by former Jamaica Pond Poet Del Ray Cross).  Her work has also appeared in the anthologies Sidebrow (Sidebrow, 2008) and Bay Poetics (Faux Press, 2006), as well as the upcoming Shadowed: Unheard Voices, edited by Meg Withers and Joell Hallowell. 

Susanna currently teaches middle school students in Medford.  Her interests include whales, birds, Franklin Park, unusual foods, and the human condition.  She lives in Jamaica Plain.

Following is a sample of her poetry:

    From The White Whale

Ishmael, it’s time to break open the starvation of sleep
and fill it with coffee and hot rolls; or, like our cannibal,
with rare steaks passed harpoon-wise across the dining table.

Most mornings I push spoonfuls of yogurt
past lips swollen with slumber,
no good for forming words at this dim, dawn-cracked hour.

In the blue light, my skin is pale and begging to burn.
I’ve been coddled so long by roofs and trees and fresh dairy products, 
my fussy gums unmolested by hard tack.

There’s an amnesia to morning, a rumpled fleeting innocence
of yesterday’s convictions.  My bags are packed
and waiting patiently in the corner
while I become reacquainted with purpose.

The sea is still glassy with night.

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 Dorian Kotsiopoulos

Dorian Kotsiopoulos won second place in the 2011 Common Review/Great Books Foundation fiction contest. She took third place in the Greater Brockton Society for Poetry and the Arts contest for New England Poets. In July 2011, she was the poetry feature at the Brockton Public Library. At the Fuller Art Museum, she read poetry in the galleries as part of an NEA Big Read grant. She participates in the poetry workshops at the William Joiner Center at UMass Boston.

She lives in Canton, MA and works as technical writer/editor.

Following is a sample of her poetry:

At the Edge of a Swamp                                     

 A plop, a flutter, a lazy flap of wings,
a great blue heron lands 
in the tall grass. 

Feathers, the grey-blue color of age, 
flap, and with a flick of his wings,
he begins to lift. 

Before he rises,
his hard, gold eyes meet mine.
He looks at me, good and long. 

Tucking his neck into an S,
wings luminous as waves,  
he carries me away. 

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Valerie Loveland

Biography coming soon

Poetry sample coming soon:


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Jennifer Markell

Jennifer Markell’s first poetry collection, Samsara, was published in April, 2014 by WordTech Communications. Samsara was named a “Must Read Book of Poetry” for 2015 by the Massachusetts Book Awards. It was also named a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, 2015. 

Markell won the Barbara Bradley award in 2016 for her poem “Blue Johnnies” from the New England Poetry Club. She was a Featured Poet in The Aurorean, and her work has appeared in publications including Consequence, The Hawaii Pacific Review, Rhino, and The Women’s Review of Books (forthcoming). A poem of hers was anthologized in Poetry from Sojourner, A Feminist Anthology.  Her work has been displayed at Boston City Hall, and she was invited to read at the MFA in Boston. 

Jennifer works as a psychotherapist with a special interest in therapeutic uses of writing.

Following is a sample of her poetry:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Laundry in April

We hang wool socks

            from a clothesline in back of the shed.

Wring them with raindrops,

            wring them some more.

Smooth grudges from collars. Touch every button.

            Those swallows turning overhead?

We stop and listen. Make up a song

            of handkerchiefs billowing.

Throw in some lines

            about bluebells and a syllable for snow

melting quickly on our tongues.

            Moth-bitten cardigan, crocheted

scarf with missing fringe? So be it.

            The wind fills our pockets.

We fold undershirts

            with lavender and forgiveness.

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 David P. Miller

David P. Miller’s collection, Bend in the Stair, was published by Lily Poetry Review Books in 2021. Sprawled Asleep was published by Nixes Mate Books in 2019. His chapbook, The Afterimages, was published by Červená Barva Press in 2014. Poems have recently appeared in Meat for Tea, The Poetry Porch, Muddy River Poetry Review, Boston Literary Magazine, Constellations, The American Journal of Poetry, Lily Poetry Review, Nixes Mate Review, I-70 Review, and 13 Myna Birds, among others. His poem “Add One Father to Earth” was awarded an Honorable Mention by Robert Pinsky for the New England Poetry Club’s 2019 Samuel Washington Allen Prize competition.

With a background in experimental theater before turning to poetry, David was a member of the multidisciplinary Mobius Artists Group of Boston for 25 years. He was a librarian at Curry College in Massachusetts, from which he retired in June 2018.

Following is a sample of his poetry:

What You Should Do Next Is Exactly What You Did

Unfortunately, younger self, if I were to tell you that you have only
to survive five years between the night the floor fell away
beneath your first marriage and the day you will meet her at last –
if I counsel endurance and you believe me, then it’s all too possible
you won’t find yourself semi-lunatic with loneliness,
won’t erupt a babbling breakdown during play rehearsal,
won’t finally turn to a Wiccan therapist whose best treatment,
you discover, isn’t her hypno-sessions or the affirmation tapes
you soak up on your way to sleep, but her tricking you
into writing personal ads and reading them.

And if you don’t do all that you will never meet the love of your life.
Take that cliché seriously because those are the stakes.

Therefore I’m afraid you must remain unknowing and miserable
for the time being. I won’t tell you anything.

originally published in Ibbetson Street

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Alan Smith Soto

Alan Smith Soto, a resident of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, and a member of the Jamaica Pond Poets, was born in San José, Costa Rica. He is the author of three books of poems, Fragmentos de alcancía (Treasure Jar Fragments) (Cambridge: Asaltoalcielo editores, 1998), Libro del lago (Pond poems) (Madrid: Árdora Ediciones, 2014) and Hasta que no haya luna (Until There is no Moon) (2021, Huerga y Fierro Editores, Madrid).

His translation of Robert Creeley’s Life and Death (Vida y muerte) was published in 2000 (Madrid: Árdora Ediciones). His poetry has been anthologized in Poetas sin fronteras (Madrid: Verbum, 2000) and Sabia savia (Segovia:  Museo de Arte Contemporáneo Esteban Vicente, 2006).

Following is a sample of his poetry:

I like to write upon waking,

for example

as I walk on Centre Street

and a delivery van with Pony Express

written on its side

slowly drags its tail pipe 

on the road;

or in Caffe Vittoria

when you enter

and sit down at my table

yet again.

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Sandra Storey

photo by Jeffrey Chasin

Sandra Storey is the author of the poetry collection, Every State Has Its Own Light, a finalist for the May Swenson Award. Her poetry has appeared in New Millennium Writings, THEMA and the New York Quarterly, among other journals. Sandee was founder, editor and publisher of two bilingual Boston neighborhood newspapers for 20 years. Now she is a columnist for the Jamaica Plain Gazette. She is a member of Jamaica Pond Poets and is co-director of Chapter and Verse Literary Reading Series. She leads poetry workshops where a different “poetic idea” is the focus each week. 

Following is a sample of her poetry: 

Apartment Morning

The bright building hums:

whine of kettle under foot,

roar of shower in the wall.

Above, a door flaps, closes.

Footsteps fall on the landing

rattle down the stairs.

Where I sit in the kitchen

blinded by a shaft of sun,

I don’t need to see

to recognize the neighbors,

or touch

to feel the texture of the hour.

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