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Brookline Poetry Series

The Brookline Poetry Series meets once a month on Sunday afternoons, September through May, normally in Hunneman Hall at the Public Library of Brookline Main Branch (361 Washington St., Brookline, MA 02445). Usually, one or two established poets read, followed by an open mike. You may contact the organizers via email at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Please do not send written correspondence in care of the Library.

    Timing of performances:
  • 1:30 PM • Doors open
  • 1:45 PM • Open mike sign-up
  • 2 – 4 PM • Poetry readings

N.B. Usually the third Sunday of the month. On rare occasions, this may vary to accommodate holidays or special Library events, so be sure to check the Library Calendar or this page before attending. (Also, all meetings are held at the Main Library if possible, but on very rare occasions we have had to move to the Coolidge Corner Branch because of a scheduling conflict.)

Featured Readers


May 17, 2015 • Joan Houlihan

Joan Houlihan is the author of four books of poetry, most recently, Ay (Tupelo Press). Her poetry has been anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press) and The Book of Irish-American Poetry–Eighteenth Century to Present (University of Notre Dame Press).

After earning her BA and MA degrees at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, she worked as a technical writer, reporter, and editor. In addition to publishing in a wide array of journals, including Poetry, Boston Review, Harvard Review and Gulf Coast, she has served as a critic and editor at a series of online magazines, most recently as contributing critic for the Contemporary Poetry Review and author of a series of essays on contemporary American poetry archived online at bostoncomment.com.

In 2004, she founded the Concord Poetry Center, a community center that offers readings, workshops, and seminars. She is also the founder and director of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference, a one-of-a-kind model that provides poets with feedback from mentor poets and editors to help set their manuscripts on the path to publication. She has taught at Columbia University and Emerson College, and currently serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA program in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Apr 19, 2015 • Frannie Lindsay

Frannie Lindsay‘s fourth volume of poetry, Our Vanishing, has been awarded the 2012 Benjamin Saltman Award by Red Hen Press.

Her other books are Mayweed (2009 Washington Prize, The Word Works); Lamb (2006 Perugia Press Prize); and Where She Always Was, winner of the 2004 May Swenson Award and published by Utah State University Press.

Winner of the 2008 Missouri Review Prize, her work has appeared in The Antioch Review, The Atlantic Monthly, Field, Poetry International, The Harvard Review, Shenandoah, The Tampa Review, and many other journals. It is also forthcoming in Best American Poetry 2014. Lindsay's work has also been featured in former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser’s American Life in Poetry, and on Writer’s Almanac and Poetry Daily. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. She is a classical pianist and lives in Belmont.


Mar 15, 2015 • Jericho Brown

Jericho Brown grew up in Shreveport, Louisiana and worked as speechwriter for the Mayor of New Orleans before receiving his PhD in Creative Writing and Literature from the University of Houston. He also holds an MFA from the University of New Orleans and a BA from Dillard University.

The recipient of the Whiting Writers Award and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Radcliffe Institute at Harvard University, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Krakow Poetry Seminar in Poland, Brown is an Assistant Professor at Emory University. His poems have appeared in journals and anthologies including, The American Poetry Review, The Believer, jubilat, Oxford American, Ploughshares, A Public Space, Tin House, and 100 Best African American Poems. His first book, PLEASE (New Issues Press), won the American Book Award.


Feb 15, 2015 • Stephen Burt

Stephen Burt is a poet, literary critic, and professor. In 2012, the New York Times called him “one of the most influential poetry critics of his generation.” He grew up around Washington, DC and earned a BA from Harvard and PhD from Yale. Burt has published three collections of poems: Belmont (2013), Parallel Play (2006), and Popular Music (1999).

Burt's works of criticism include Close Calls with Nonsense: Reading New Poetry (2009), which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award; The Art of the Sonnet—written with David Mikics (2010); The Forms of Youth: 20th-Century Poetry and Adolescence (2007); Randall Jarrell on W.H. Auden (2005), with Hannah Brooks-Motl; and Randall Jarrell and His Age (2002).

Burt has taught at Macalester College and is now Professor of English at Harvard University. He lives in the suburbs of Boston with his spouse, Jessie Bennett, and their two children.

Jan 18, 2015 • Denise Bergman and Kathleen Aguero


Denise Bergman's A Woman in Pieces Crossed a Sea was published by West End Press in 2014. The book won the West End Press Patricia Clark Smith Poetry Prize.

The Telling, a book-length poem, was published in 2013 by Červená Barva Press.

Her book Seeing Annie Sullivan, poems based on the early life of Helen Keller's teacher (Cedar Hill Books), was translated into Braille and into a Talking Book.

She was the editor of City River of Voices, an anthology of urban poetry (West End Press), and author of Keyhole Poems, a sequence that combines the history of specific urban places with the present.

Her poems have been widely published. An excerpt from her poem "Red," about the effects of a slaughterhouse, was permanently installed by the city of Cambridge, MA in a neighborhood park. She was featured as a Split This Rock Poet of the Week in May 2013.


Kathleen Aguero is author of the poetry collections After That (Tiger Bark Press); Investigations: The Mystery of the Girl Sleuth (Cervena Barva Press); The Real Weather (Hanging Loose); and Thirsty Day (Alice James Books). She has also co-edited three volumes of multicultural literature for the University of Georgia Press (A Gift of Tongues, An Ear to the Ground, and Daily Fare) and is consulting poetry editor of the literary journal Solstice.

She was awarded the 2012 Firman Houghton Award from the New England Poetry Club and has received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and the Elgin-Cox Foundation.

She teaches in the low-residency MFA program in Creative Writing at Pine Manor College, and in Changing Lives Through Literature, an alternative criminal sentencing program.

Dec 21, 2014 • Sandra Lim and Jennifer Tseng


Sanda Lim is author, most recently, of The Wilderness (W.W. Norton, 2014), which won the 2013 Barnard Women Poets Prize, selected by Louise Gluck. Her first book, Loveliest Grotesque, won the 2006 Kore Press First Book Award for Poetry.

Her poems have appeared in Boston Review, Court Green, Guernica, Colorado Review, American Letters, Commentary, and other journals. Her work is also included in the anthology Gurlesque (Saturnalia, 2010). Honors for her work include fellowships to The MacDowell Colony and the Vermont Studio Center. Lim was born in Seoul, Korea, and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Currently, she is an assistant professor of English at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

She lives in Cambridge.


Jennifer Tseng was born in Indiana and raised in California by a Chinese immigrant engineer and a first generation German American microbiologist. Her first book The Man With My Face (AAWW 2005) won the 2005 Asian American Writers' Workshop's National Poetry Manuscript Competition and a 2006 PEN American Center Open Book Award. Her new book Red Flower, White Flower (Marick Press 2013, winner of the Marick Press Poetry Prize), features Chinese translations by Mengying Han and Aaron Crippen, and her debut novel Mayumi and the Sea of Happiness is forthcoming from Europa Editions.

Tseng earned an MA in Asian American Studies at UCLA, an MA in Fiction at University of Houston, and she was twice a Fiction Fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She has taught Asian American Studies and Creative Writing at UCLA and Hampshire College respectively and she is a member of the Artists Advisory Committee for the Millay Colony of the Arts.

A circulation assistant, literary events coordinator, and writing workshop facilitator for the West Tisbury Library on Martha's Vineyard, Tseng is currently at work on a novel Woo, the imagined story of her father's life.


Nov 16, 2014 • Afaa Michael Weaver

Afaa Michael Weaver is the author of fourteen collections of poetry, most recently A Hard Summation (Central Square Press) and City of Eternal Spring, which concludes his Plum Flower Trilogy, all three books of which were published by University of Pittsburgh Press. The first book in the trilogy, Plum Flower Dance, won the 2008 Paterson Award for Literary Excellence, and the second book, The Government of Nature, won the 2014 Kingsley Tufts Award, one of the most prestigious awards in American Letters. His honors also include three Pushcart prizes, a Fulbright appointment to teach in Taiwan, the May Sarton Award, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Pew Foundation.

He has had two plays produced professionally and has won awards for other plays over the years, including the PDI Award in play-writing from the eta Creative Arts Theatre in Chicago. His new play is GRIP, a two act drama set in Baltimore, Maryland, his hometown.

He holds an endowed chair at Simmons College as the Alumnae Professor of English, where he and is semi-retired as the director of the Zora Neale Hurston Literary Center and Chairman of the Simmons International Chinese Poetry Conference. Afaa also teaches in the low residency MFA program at Drew University and has recently accepted an invitation to join the faculty at the Bread Loaf conference. He has worked as a free lance journalist and an editor. As a translator he works in contemporary Chinese poetry.

A resident of Somerville, Massachusetts, his websites are: afaaweaver.net and plumflowertrilogy.org.


Oct 19, 2014 • Cleopatra Mathis

Cleopatra Mathis was born and raised in Ruston, Louisiana, of Greek and Cherokee descent. Her first five books of poems were published by Sheep Meadow Press. A sixth collection, White Sea, was published by Sarabande Books in 2005. 

Her work has appeared widely in anthologies, textbooks, magazines and journals, including The New Yorker, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Tri-Quarterly, The Southern Review, The Georgia Review, The Made Thing: An Anthology of Contemporary Southern Poetry, The Extraordinary Tide: Poetry by American Women, The Practice of Poetry, and Best American Poetry, 2009.

She has received two National Endowment for the Arts grants, in 1984 and 2003; the Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poems in 2001; the Peter Lavin Award for Younger Poets from the Academy of American Poets; two Pushcart Prizes; The Robert Frost Resident Poet Award; a Fellowship in Poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts; The May Sarton Award; and Individual Artist Fellowships in Poetry from both the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey State Arts Council. Most recently, she was the Poetry Fellow at the Dora Maar House in Menerbes, Provence, France, sponsored by the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Texas.

Cleopatra Mathis is the Frederick Sessions Beebe ’35 Professor of the Art of Writing at Dartmouth College, where she has directed the Creative Writing Program since 1982.


Sep 21, 2014 • Jeffrey Harrison

Jeffrey Harrisonr is the author of five books of poetry, including The Singing Underneath, selected by James Merrill for the National Poetry Series in 1987, Feeding the Fire, winner of Sheila Motton Award from the New England Poetry Club in 2002, Incomplete Knowledge, which was runner-up for the Poets’ Prize in 2008, and Into Daylight, published in 2014 by Tupelo Press as the winner of the Dorset Prize. A selected poems, The Names of Things, was published in 2006 by the Waywiser Press in the U.K.

A recipient of Guggenheim and NEA Fellowships, as well as other honors, Harrison has published poems in The New Republic, The New Yorker, Poetry, AGNI, The Yale Review, The Hudson Review, The Kenyon Review, The Twentieth Century in Poetry, and in many other magazines and anthologies. Garrison Keillor has read over a dozen of his poems on his radio show The Writer's Almanac. He has taught at George Washington University, Phillips Academy, where he was Writer-in-Residence, College of the Holy Cross, Framingham State, the Stonecoast MFA Program, and at various summer programs and schools as a visiting writer.

History of the Brookline Poetry Series

The Brookline Poetry Series was founded in the spring and summer of 2001 by our friend and fellow poet Diane Collins Ouellette. Diane died of cancer several months into the series, and, with her husband Berred's support, we continued. We are guided by her original mission: a quality venue for local poets, both published and yet-to-be published; a place for a multiplicity of poetic voices; a series particularly dedicated to featuring the work of Brookline poets.

In the years since, we have featured the best contemporary voices in American poetry, as well as many fine local poets.

We are dedicated to providing a forum for poets of all experience to listen and read their work. In 2005, the Boston Globe named us the Best in Boston for our open mike.

We welcome all Boston-area poets to our series.

Since March 2008, the series has been held at the Public Library of Brookline.

Ann Killough
Tam Lin Neville
Susana Roberts
Aimee Sands

Contact: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Please do not send written correspondence in care of the Library.