Brookline Poetry Series

Please note: Effective March 11, 2020, all Library programs are canceled until April 30, 2020. Please see the Library Director’s update on COVID-19.

The Brookline Poetry Series meets once a month on Sunday afternoons, September through May, normally in Hunneman Hall at the Brookline Village Library (361 Washington St., Brookline, MA 02445). Usually, one or two established poets read, followed by an open mic. You may contact the organizers via email at Please put “Brookline Poetry Series” in the subject heading. Please do not send written correspondence in care of the Library.

Timing of performances:

  • 1:30 PM  Doors open
  • 1:45 PM  Open mic 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 Brookline Village if possible, but on very rare occasions we have had to move to the Coolidge Corner Location because of a scheduling conflict.)

Featured Readers

September 15, 2019
Featured poet: Natalie Shapero

Natalie Shapero is the Professor of the Practice of Poetry at Tufts University. Her poetry collections are Hard Child and No Object, and her writing has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Poetry, and elsewhere. She is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Ruth Lilly Fellowship, and a Kenyon Review Fellowship.

Opening Reader: Susan Goodman

Susan Goodman’s poems have appeared in The Columbia Review, Barrow Street Journal, and Nixes Mate Review. A recipient of the Woodberry Poetry Prize at Columbia University, she lives in New York City.

October 20, 2019
Double Feature: Joseph Featherstone and Joan Houlihan

A photo of Joseph FeatherstoneJoseph Featherstone has been a peace activist, and an associate editor of the New Republic. He has taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and was the headmaster of the Commonwealth School in Boston. He served as the faculty leader of a school-based teacher education program at Michigan State. Besides the New Republic, his writing and poems have appeared in Ploughshares, the Harvard Review, and The Nation, among other publications. He convenes the Off Season, a poetry group in Cambridge, Mass., and is active in the Gloucester Writers’ Center. His first poetry collection was Brace’s Cove (New Issues). His second, just published, is Glass (Fenway Press). He is married to the writer and educator, Helen Featherstone.

A photo of Joan HoulihanJoan Houlihan is the author of five books of poetry, most recently, Shadow-feast (Four Way Books, 2018). Other books include Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays (2003); The Mending Worm, which received the 2006 Green Rose Award from New Issues Press; The Us (2009) which received a Must-Read distinction from the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and Ay (2014), a sequel to The Us, both from Tupelo Press. In addition to publishing in a wide array of journals, including Boston Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Arts, Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Plume, and Poetry, her poems have been anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press, 2005); The Book of Irish-American Poetry, 18th Century to Present (University of Notre Dame, 2007); The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins (Clemson University Press, 2016); and The Eloquent Poem: 128 Contemporary Poems and Their Making (Persea Books, 2019). She has taught at Columbia University, Emerson College, and Smith College. She currently serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan founded and directs the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

November 17, 2019
Featured poet: Maya Phillips

A photo of Maya PhillipsMaya Phillips was born and raised in New York. Maya received her BFA in writing, literature, and publishing with a concentration in poetry from Emerson College and her MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson’s MFA Program for Writers. Her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in At Length, BOAAT, Ghost Proposal, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Vinyl, The Gettysburg Review, The New York Times Magazine, and The Rumpus, among others, and her arts & entertainment journalism has appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vulture, Mashable, Slate, The Week, American Theatre, and more. Her debut poetry collection, Erou, is forthcoming in fall 2019 from Four Way Books. A former content editor & producer at the Academy of American Poets, Maya currently works as a web producer at The New Yorker and as a freelance writer. She lives in Brooklyn.

Opening Reader: AJ Addae

AJ Addae is a 19 year old Ghanaian-American poet based in Boston, MA. As a poet and visual writer, AJ’s work is centered on her African diaspora identity, experiences with girlhood, and matters of the heart. Poetry, writing, and visual writing are essential to her core. AJ released her first chapbook of poems, Forget Me Knots, in March 2017. She has been coached by Emmanuel Oppong-Yeboah and Tatiana Johnson as well as Ilyus Evander. Her poems have been published in many magazines and journals, including The Messy Heads Magazine, Lace Magazine, The Avenue Magazine, and The Onyx Informer. She is currently on the College Unions Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI) team at Northeastern University, which placed 10th in the nation in April 2019.

December 15, 2019
Featured Reader: Alan Shapiro
A photo of Alan ShapiroAlan Shapiro has published many poetry collections (including Reel to Reel, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and Night of the Republic, finalist for both the National Book Award and the International Griffin Prize), four books of prose, including The Last Happy Occasion, finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. Winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award, LA Times Book Prize, an award in literature from The American Academy of Arts and Letters, and The William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America, he is also a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Recent books include Life Pig (poems), That Self-Forgetful Perfectly Useless Concentration (essays), and his latest, Against Translation (poems), all from University of Chicago press. Shapiro is the William R. Kenan, Jr., Distinguished Professor of English at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Opening Reader: Dorian Kotsiopoulos

Dorian Kotsiopoulos has been featured at various poetry venues in Massachusetts. Her work has appeared in literary and medical journals, including Poet Lore, Salamander, New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, Women’s Review of Books, Third Wednesday, and Smartish Pace. Dorian loves studying poetry at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA.

January 19, 2020
Featured Reader: Rodney JonesA photo of Rodney Jones
Rodney Jones is the author of eleven books of poems. His honors include the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Harper Lee Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award, and he has been a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, the Griffin International Poetry Prize, and the Pulitzer Prize. His poems have appeared widely in magazines and in nine editions of Best American Poetry. Village Prodigies, his latest book, doubles as a book of poems and an experimental novel. He lives in New Orleans and teaches in the low-residency MFA program at Warren Wilson College.

Opening Reader: Mitch Manning

Mitch Manning is the author of city of water (Arrowsmith, 2019). He’s taught poetry in central China and his poems have been read in Basra, southern Iraq as part of the Boston to Basra Project. He teaches in the English and Labor Studies programs at UMass Boston, and is Associate Director at the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences. He’s an Associate Editor for CONSEQUENCE magazine and founder of NO INFINITE, a journal of petry, art, and protest. Poems and interviews published in The Doris, BOOG City, Let The Bucket Down, CONSEQUENCE, Sundial, Hollow, GAFF and more.

February 16, 2020
Featured Reader: Joan Naviyuk KaneA photo of Joan Naviyuk Kane
Joan Naviyuk Kane is the author of Another Bright Departure (Cutbank, 2019), Sublingual (Finishing Line Press, 2018), Milk Black Carbon (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2017), Hyperboreal (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013), and The Cormorant Hunter’s Wife (NorthShore Press, 2009). Her honors include 2018 Guggenheim Fellowship, the Association of Writers & Writing Programs’ Donald Hall Prize and a Whiting Writers’ Award as well as fellowships and residencies from the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation, the Rasmuson Foundation, the Alaska State Council on the Arts, and the School for Advanced Research. An Alaska Native and member of the Inupiaq people—with family from King Island and Mary’s Igloo—Kane teaches at the Institute of American Indian Arts and lives in Anchorage.

Opening reader: Jessica Bozek

Jessica Bozek is the author of The Tales (Les Figues) and The Bodyfeel Lexicon (Switchback), as well as several chapbooks, including How to See the Wind (published by Dancing Girl last year). She teaches writing at Boston University and lives with her family in Cambridge, MA.

March 15, 2020
Double Feature: Martha Collins and Lynn Powell

A photo of Martha CollinsMartha Collins has just published her tenth book of poetry, Because What Else Can I Do. Her previous volumes include Admit One: An American Scrapbook, White Papers, and the book-length poem Blue Front, as well as the paired volumes Night Unto Night and Day Unto Day. Collins has also published four volumes of co-translated Vietnamese poetry, and co-edited Into English: Poems, Translations, Commentaries. Founder of the Creative Writing Program at U.Mass.-Boston and former Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College, she currently lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

A photo of Lynn Powell
Lynn Powell has published three books of poetry — Old & New Testaments, The Zones of Paradise, and, most recently, Season of the Second Thought — and a book of nonfiction, Framing Innocence. Her honors include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, the Brittingham Prize in Poetry, and the Studs & Ida Terkel Award from The New Press. Powell teaches in the Creative Writing Program of Oberlin COllege, where she is the founding director of Oberlin WITS (Writers in the Schools).

April 19, 2020
Featured Reader: TBD

Opening reader: James Stotts

James Stotts was born in 1982, the last of five children, in southern Colorado, and grew up in New Mexico. He studied Russian literature and linguistics at the University of New Mexico, was a research assistant in Russian at Boston College, and has translated the Russian poetry of Mandelstam, Tsvetaeva, Esenin, Brodsky, Boris Ryzhy and others. He has traveled and studied in Russia on numerous occasions. He lives in Boston with his son. His most recent book of poems is Elgin Pelicans (Pen and Anvil, 2019).

May 17, 2020
Double Feature: Gaby Calvocoressi and Alamgir Hashmi

A photo of Gaby Calvocoressi
Gabrielle Calvocoressi is the author of The Last Time I Saw Amelia Earhart, Apocalyptic Swing (a finalist for the LA Times Book Prize), and Rocket Fantastic, winner of the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry. Calvocoressi is the recipient of numerous awards and fellowships including a Stegner Fellowship and Jones Lectureship from Stanford University; a Rona Jaffe Woman Writer’s Award; a Lannan Foundation residency in Marfa, TX; the Bernard F. Conners Prize from The Paris Review; and a residency from the Civitella di Ranieri Foundation, among others. Calvocoressi’s poems have been published or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and journals including The Baffler, The New York Times, POETRY, Boston Review, Kenyon Review, Tin House, and The New Yorker. Calvocoressi is an Editor at Large at Los Angeles Review of Books, and Poetry Editor at Southern Cultures. Works in progress include a non-fiction book, The Year I Didn’t Kill Myself, and a novel, The Alderman of the Graveyard. Calvocoressi teaches at UNC Chapel Hill and lives in Carrboro, NC, where joy, compassion, and social justice are at the center of their personal and poetic practice.

A photo of Alamgir Hashmi
Alamgir Hashmi is the author of eleven books of poetry and numerous volumes of literary criticism. His poetry has appeared widely in anthologies and journals including Poetry Review, New Letters, Prairie Schooner, The Capilano Review, Poet Lore, Oxford Poetry, Edinburgh Review, The New Quarterly, Berkeley Poetry Review, The Toronto Review, New Statesman, Chicago Review, Contemporary Review, Postmodern Culture, Paris Voices, and Connecticut Review. A Pushcart Prize nominee and a Rockefeller Fellow, he has won high honors and awards for his work, which has been translated into several European and Asian languages. He has taught as a university professor in North America, Europe, and Asia. He has also served as a judge of many literary awards, such as the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the Neustadt International Prize for Literature. He is Founding President of The Literature Podium: An Independent Society for Literature and the Arts.

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.

Brookline Poetry Series Co-Directors: Ann Killough, Susan Jo Russell, Aimée Sands

Contact: Please put “Brookline Poetry Series” in the subject heading. Please do not send written correspondence in care of the Library.