Gail Mazur: Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight

 Highlighted by Blacksmith House Poetry Series

Gail MazurGail Mazur, who founded the Blacksmith House Poetry Series in Cambridge, is the author of 6 collections of poems, including They Can’t Take That Away from Me, a finalist for the National Book Award, Zeppo’s First Wife, winner of the Massachusetts Book Prize and finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and Figures in a Landscape. Mazur is Distinguished Writer in Residence in the graduate program of Emerson College. She serves on the Summer Program and Writing Committees of the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown where she also teaches poetry workshops. Her poems are widely anthologized, including in Favorite Poem anthologies and several baseball poetry anthologies! [Read more…]

Meet Our July Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Melanie Braverman

spotlightMassachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each month we shine the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, one of our poetry partners.


MelanieBravermanMelanie Braverman is the author of the novel East Justice (Permanent Press, 1996) and the poetry collection Red (Perugia Press, 2002), winner of the Publishers Triangle Audre Lorde Poetry Award. A recipient of grants in both poetry and fiction from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, her work has appeared in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, Poetry, American Poetry Review, and can be seen most recently on Cape Cod’s mass transit buses in collaboration with painter James Broussard, curated by Broadsided Press. [Read more…]

Meet Our June Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Jennifer Barber

Highlighted by The Suffolk University Poetry Center
Jennifer Barber

Jennifer Barber

Jennifer Barber teaches literature and creative writing at Suffolk University, where she edits the literary journal Salamander and is a director of the Poetry Center with Fred Marchant and George Kalogeris. Her poems are forthcoming in Poetry and Upstreet; others have appeared in Post Road, Osiris, Orion, and the Harvard Divinity Bulletin. Her books are Given Away (2012) and Rigging the Wind (2003), both from Kore Press in Tucson, Arizona. She is currently translating a book by French poet Emmanuel Merle. [Read more…]

Meet our May Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Abbot Cutler

Highlighted by Slate Roof Press


Abbot CutlerAbbot Cutler has published three collections of poems: Rebecca, 1843-1847, published by Rowan Tree Press of Boston, MA. in 1982, The Dog Isn’t Going Anywhere by Mad River Press of Richmond, MA. in 2000, and Say Dance, Say Night, with Slate Roof Press in May, 2013. His poems have appeared in numerous publications including Orion Magazine, Ploughshares, Hanging Loose and Blue Sofa Review, and in several anthologies, among them What Have You Lost, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye. He lives in Ashfield with his wife, the photographer, Sarah Holbrook. [Read more…]

Meet our April Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Janae Johnson

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry.

Highlighted by The Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam

Janae JohnsonJanae Johnson is a queer, black, Stevie Wonder-loving, Jamba Juice-sipping, slam poet, educator, and activist in the Boston area. With a jock’s mentality and a poet’s heart, Janae brings all sports and no games to poetry slam. Inspired by uncomfortable silences and midnight bus rides, Janae uses her poetry to shed light on issues of racial inequality, homophobia, and the nuances of love. Truly believing that language is power, she wishes to inspire others to find and embrace the strength in their voices. Janae ranked 5th at the Women of the World Poetry Slam (2014), was the grand slam champion of the 2014 Boston Poetry Slam Team and the 2013 Lizard Lounge Poetry Slam Team. She is currently working on a CD entitled “Black in the Sun,” as well as a chapbook, and she is the coach and adviser for the nationally ranked Simmons College (Speaks) Poetry Slam team. [Read more…]

Meet Our March Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Howard Faerstein

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a new monthly installment from Mass Poetry.

Highlighted by Florence Poets Society

Howard FaersteinHoward Faerstein’s debut full-length book of poetry, Dreaming of the Rain in Brooklyn, a selection of the Silver Concho Poetry Series, was published in 2013 by Press 53. His poetry has appeared in numerous journals; recent publications include Great River Review, Nimrod (finalist in the Pablo Neruda Poetry Contest), CutThroat  (featured as Discovery Poet), The Comstock Review, Off the Coast, and Mudfish. Faerstein is a former member of the American Playwright’s Program and of the Naked Angels theatre group. No Sweat and other works have been produced by and at The Westbeth Theatre in Manhattan. He lives in Florence, Massachusetts and teaches American Literature at Westfield State University. [Read more…]

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Jasmine Colon-Thomas

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry. Each month we will be shining the spotlight on a poet affiliated with, and nominated by, one of our poetry partners. If you are a partner with a poet to nominate, email

Highlighted by The Care Center Poetry Project

Jasmine Colon-ThomasJasmine Colon-Thomas 22, has a son named Harlem. During her time studying at The Care Center she was active in the school’s poetry program, serving as an editor for Nautilus II: The Care Center’s Journal of Poetry and Art by Young Mothers. Her poems were published in a community poetry anthology, and her poem “Expense” won First Prize in the Holyoke Community College-Care Center Poetry Contest in 2013. While at The Care Center, Jasmine participated in the school’s photography program, and was a member of the school’s crew team. She plans to continue her studies, become a Certified Nurse’s Assistant, and keep writing poetry.

Poetic Profession

“What inspires me? Knowing I can wake up and my mind is blank, and knowing that something can be created. Sitting on my bed and watching the four white walls and thinking of all the words I can come up with and all the poems I can write. My son and all the crazy things he does. You have the tools you need to be a poet in your hands—your hands can just write the poems themselves. Poetry, it’s extraordinary! It relaxes me. It tells me who I am and who I can be.” – Jasmine Colon-Thomas  [Read more…]