Jamaica Pond Poets
Metaphorically speaking....since 1995
About the Poets



Dorothy_Derifield

Carolyn_Gregory

Holly_Guran

Audrey_Henderson

Susanna Kittredge

Alice_Kociemba

Dorian Kotsiopoulos

Jim_LaFond-Lewis

Jennifer Markell

Sybille Rex

Alan Smith Soto

Sandra_Storey

Gary_Whited






Dorothy Derifield  

  
photo by Jeffrey Chasin

Dorothy Derifield's work has received an editor's award from Plainsongs, and has appeared in the Radcliffe Quarterly and Harvard Magazine, among others. She is the director of the long-running literary series Chapter and Verse in Jamaica Plain and is a member of the Jamaica Pond Poets. She is the author of the chapbook, The River and the Lakes.

She lives in Roslindale and has taught poetry groups at Sherrill House, a nursing home in Jamaica Plain.

Following is a sample of her poetry:

FRACTAL MATH, A QUIZ

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
equations.

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.  

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 Slipstream, Poet Lore, Poetry East, Hawai'i Pacific Review, U.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:
 

RESILIENT 

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


photo by 

 

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:


Breakfast
    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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Alice Kociemba

   photo by Kathleen Casey

Using humor and memory to celebrate people and place, Alice Kociemba is the author of the chapbook Death of Teaticket Hardware, the title poem of which won an International Merit Award from the Atlanta Review.  She is a member of Jamaica Pond Poets, a weekly collaborative workshop and is the founding director of Calliope – Poetry Readings at West Falmouth Library, a monthly poetry series.  www.calliopepoetryseries.com .    

 When asked, “How did you get interested in poetry?” Alice credits Emily Dickinson with saving her sanity after she suffered a severe head injury in 1986 and couldn’t read, drive or work for six months.  Shortly thereafter, Alice wrote her first poem, seizure, about her experience.  Her first poetry collection, Bourne Bridge, is forthcoming from Turning Point (the narrative imprint of WordTech) in March 2016. She was a featured poet in the Aurorean and her poems have also appeared in the Atlanta Review, Main Street Rag, Off the Coast, Plainsongs, Slant,  Roanoke Review, Cape Cod Poetry Review, Comstock Review,  International Psychoanalysis, Salamander and in the anthology, Like A Girl: Perspectives on Feminine Identity.  
 

A frequently featured poet, she been described as “the best storyteller I have ever heard”.  She has read at Chapter and Verse, opened for Robert Pinsky at the Brookline Poetry Series, and was a panelist and featured poet at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.  She facilitates a monthly Poetry Discussion Group at the Falmouth Public Library, an outgrowth of “Falmouth Reads Together,” the Favorite Poems Project. Having grown up in Jamaica Plain, Alice now lives in a home overlooking wetlands and works as a psychotherapist in Falmouth, MA.    

 
Following is a sample of her poetry: 

Bourne Bridge

Not the hard rain
the rivers crave
not the downpour
to quench the forest floor,
just a light mist,
on almost empty roads,
as I’m entombed in grey,
the only sound—
an intermittent shush—
wipers clearing windshield;
this quiet is pleasing,
a monochromatic alone,
when suddenly the overcast
lightens from charcoal to dove,
then splits into strands
of mauve, salmon, rose,
and the bridge ahead, luminous,
wrapped in a pale blue shawl,
each rain drop clings,
glistening in pure light
that’s always there
even when hidden,
I’ve come home.

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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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Jim LaFond-Lewis



Poet, photographer, generalist, Jim LaFond-Lewis was born seventh in a family of nine siblings where he learned to negotiate a wide variety of personalities and relationships. He spent the first 30 years of his working life as a restaurateur and subsequently, after a brief foray into journalism, earns his living as a candy manufacturer. He has written short stories, a screenplay and volumes of poetry. The Year There Were No Apples is his first published volume. He is currently working on a photographic tribute to a home in the Berkshires and a young adult novel that follows the imagined life of a squirrel.

Following is a sample of his poetry:

No More Disguise


We were all immortals

ready for a new disguise

when you showed up

with your missing limb and fading

eyesight, and your naive

surprise at everything your senses

gave you and your delight

at the depth

of your very shallow mind.


At first we thought you foolish

and then began to doubt

as your left arm waved

in every season, and we imagined

your right. We wondered

what you were and how you'd

done with just a single choice

what we'd been trying

for eons with our mythic

powers and elaborate lies.


You were so much in love

within your crumbling

we envied you your failing flesh

your brilliant fire burning out

your fearful bright blue eyes.

We wondered how you knew

it would all be so lovely

those years before you died.

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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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Sybille Rex



 

In 2014, Sybille Rex returned to the Jamaica Pond Poets after enjoying the pleasures and pains of motherhood for several years.

Between 2002 and 2007, her poetry was published annually in Whorl - a literary and arts journal at Boston University. She also participated in several poetry readings, either as part of a group or as featured poet.  

Sybille grew up in Germany where she was trained as a scientist - with love for the arts. Before settling in the US over a decade ago, she lived in Switzerland and Canada for several years. Her favorite topics are the natural world - from mountain summits to the sea shore and any living creatures in between - and poetic snapshots taken while traveling the globe.  
 

She lives in Jamaica Plain with her husband and two young children.


Following is a sample of her poetry:

Have You Ever? 

Have you ever
stood among a group of geese
and listened to their sounds,
the shuffling noise they make
by just dragging their feet,
and watched how they bend forward
extending their necks to reach the ground
while following the movements around them
when they pluck the dry yellow grass,
blade by blade,
mixed with some dirt
which supposedly cleans the stomach,
and have you also found that these sounds
of grass-plucking, feet-shuffling
are briefly interrupted
by an occasional flapping of their wings,
perhaps to stretch them or
to give the air above a gentle push,
and that all the sounds combined
create a rhythm that is soothing,
so soothing like a lullaby – 
so, have you ever noticed that?

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Alan Smith Soto



Alan Smith Soto, a resident of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, was born in San José, Costa Rica, and lived in Madrid for many years.  He has published two books of poems, Fragmentos de alcancía (Treasure Jar Fragments) (Cambridge: Asaltoalcielo editores, 1998), with support from the Spanish consulate in Boston, and Libro del lago (Pond poems), published this year in Madrid, Spain, by 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). 

He has published  poems in various magazines, including Ínsula, Anthropos, International Poetry Review, Abril, Amén and Plaza.  His translation of Robert Creeley’s Life and Death (Vida y muerte) was published in 2000 (Madrid: Árdora Ediciones). Smith Soto has translated and edited a special issue of the International Poetry Review (Spring, 2006: 9-75):  Spain’s Poetry of Conscience. Professor of Spanish literature in Boston University, he has published various books and articles on Spanish literature, and has read his poetry in various cities, including Jamaica Plain; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Santiago de Chuco, Perú; and Madrid.

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's first full-length collection, Every State Has Its Own Light, a finalist for the May Swenson Poetry Award, was  published by the Word Poetry imprint of WordTech Communications in 2014. Her poems have been published in various literary magazines, including the New York Quarterly, Friction (UK) and New Millennium Writings.

Storey was a Peace Corps volunteer in Thailand and lived in Southeast Asia from 1968 to 1972. Formerly editor and publisher of two neighborhood newspapers she is now a newspaper columnist. She wrote poetry from 1980 to 1988 and resumed in 2004. She has been a featured reader at many Boston-area venues.  Her website is 
sandrastorey.com.


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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Gary Whited



 

Gary Whited is a poet, philosopher and psychotherapist. He grew up on the plains of eastern Montana, and a strong sense of place pervades his poems, whether that place is the prairie, the city or the inner spaces we inhabit.  

His manuscript titled, Having Listened, was selected as the winner of the Homebound Publications 2013 Poetry Contest, and was published in September, 2013. Having Listened offers a collection of poems that speak from the confluence of a childhood on the prairie remembered and an encounter with the haunting voice of Parmenides echoing across 2500 years. 
Having Listened received a silver Benjamin Franklin Book Award for books published in 2013, and, “Farm,” one of the poems from the book has been nominated for a Pushcart prize.  
 

His poems have appeared in several journals, including Salamander, Plainsongs, where he received an editor’s prize,  The Aurorean, Atlanta Review, where he received an International Merit Award, and Comstock Rewiew. He is a member of the Jamaica Pond Poets and a contributing author to their first anthology titled This Great Gift, collected poems of grief and healing. He is also a contributing author to a collection of essays in honor of his philosophy teacher, Henry Bugbee, titled Wilderness and the Heart, Henry Bugbee’s Philosophy of Place, Presence, and Memory. 

He is currently working on a new translation of the entire poem of the 5th century BCE Greek thinker, Parmenides. His website is http://www.garylwhited.com/


Following is a sample of his poetry:

Ever

As if the old granary smell
          would ever vanish,

                     or the cedar fenceposts
                               never rot off.

As if the harnesses hanging in the hayloft
             would ever shed all those spider webs

                      maybe someday even, find the sweaty back
                                and haunch of another horse.

As if the dealer at the Ranger Bar would ever smile,
            the bartender show above her knees,

                       or my father drive the old truck home
                                 in time for evening's barn chores.

As if any of us would stay there waiting
           beside the one gray and open door.

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