Worcester County Poetry Association
Established 1971
Worcester County Poetry Association / PO Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613 / 508-797-4770 / wcpaboard@yahoo.com

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First Monday Poetry Series - a past project of the WCPA
A collaborative project between First Unitarian Church & WCPA

7:30pm to 8:30pm

First Unitarian Church
Bancroft Room
90 Main Street

First Monday Poetry presents a monthly reading and discussion celebrating the poets and literary history of Central Massachusetts.  See the archive for past programs.

Participation is free and open to the public.  All are welcome!

October 5, 2009
Laura Jehn Menides
Carle A. Johnson
Laura Jehn Menides, a retired WPI professor of English, continues to write articles on modern poets--and to write poetry. She was a featured poet in Sahara: A Journal of Poetry, and has been published in The Worcester Review, Connecticut River Review, Anemone,  Slugfest, Galley Sail Review, and many other journals. Currently she is putting together a book of her poems, The Taming of the Girl-Child.
Carle A. Johnson hosts the monthly Worcester Barnes & Noble Bookstore Open Mic and hosts the Sugden Writers Workshop at the Richard Sugden Library in Spencer. He taught English at Worcester Technical High School for 25 years. Since 1989, he has been an editor of the Worcester County Poetry Association's The Worcester Review.  He has had poems in the Ballard Street Poetry Journal, Concrete Wolf, Sahara,  Shadowgraph, and The Worcester Review, which featured his poetry in its Spring-Summer issue 2001. In the spring of 2009 he received the International Reading Association Celebrate Literary Award from the Massachusetts Reading Association
for his work in promoting reading literacy in Central Massachusetts. 
November 2, 2009
Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney teaches English at the College of the Holy Cross.  Her poems and translations have appeared in Diner, The Worcester Review, Friends Journal, and the Journal of Irish Literature, and have won several awards, including the National Academy of Poets Prize and First Prize in the annual contest of the Worcester County Poetry Association.

Following the reading, Beth answered questions about her "Mad Sweeney" poems.  Here's a link she supplied for additional information about The Legend of Mad Sweeney.


January 4, 2010
Paul Szlosek Poetry & Magic
February 1, 2010
Jim Fay  Charles Olson in Worcester
April 12, 2010
Ann Sweetman
Ann Sweetman is a high school English teacher in Worcester Public Schools.  She and her husband John have two grown up daughters.  Many experiences find their way into her drafts.  Her writing group friends help her find the poems.  She has been a second place finalist twice in the Worcester County Poetry Association annual contests; was awarded first place in the 2009 Worcester Magazine Poetry Contest and was also a Jacob Knight award recipient.  Her work has been published in the Worcester Review, Sahara and the Xavier Review.
Photo: Worcester Magazine
Photo: Robert Steele
May 3, 2010
Bernard Horn

Bernard Horn's first book of poems, Our Daily Words, won the 2009 Old Seventy Creek Poetry Prize. His own poems and his translations of Yehuda Amichai’s poetry have appeared in The New Yorker, The Manhattan Review, and Moment Magazine. One of the last students of Charles Olson, he published his first poem in 1970.He is the author of Facing the Fires: Conversations with A. B. Yehoshua, the only book in English about Israel's preeminent living novelist, A.B. Yehoshua. He has published many articles about Hebrew literature and the Bible as literature, and he is currently completing a two-character play, Helen. He was awarded a Fulbright and five fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities. A graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Connecticut, he is a professor of English at Framingham State College in Massachusetts.
June 7, 2010
Lisa Fluet

Bloomsday Event - "Sincerely James Joyce"
Lisa Fluet will discuss James Joyce’s The Dead and the Ithaca episode of Ulysses. Dr. Fluet is a graduate of The College of the Holy Cross and received her Ph.D.from Princeton University. She is currently an Assistant Professor of English at Boston College.
               go to the Bloomsday 2010 page.
August 2, 2010
Eve Rifkah

Eve Rifkah was founding editor of the literary journal Diner and co-founder of Poetry Oasis, Inc., a non-profit poetry association dedicated to education and promoting local poets. She will be reading from her recently published collections Dear Suzanne (Word Tech Communications) and Outcasts is (Little Pear Press.)  At this time she is a professor of English at Fitchburg State College.
September 6, 2010
John Gaumond

John Gaumond is a poet and photographer from Worcester, whose poem received an honorable mention in the 2007 WCPA contest. In 2006 he was the Jacob Knight Poetry Award winner, as well as third place winner in Worcester Magazine’s poetry contest. His poems have been published in Worcester Magazine, Sahara, The Leaflet, The Issue, The Longfellow Society Journal, The Connecticut River Review, The Worcester Review, and the anthology, Poets in the Galleries. From 2000-2007, he hosted a monthly poetry workshop at Borders Bookstore in Shrewsbury.

October 4, 2010
The Poetry of Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006)

American poet Stanley Kunitz was born in Worcester. His childhood home at 4 Woodford Street, restored by Greg and Carol Stockmal, is open to the public annually during Columbus Day weekend as part of the Footsteps in History program.

Docents for the Kunitz/Stockmal open house will present Kunitz poems inspired by his life in Worcester.

For additional information about the Kunitz open house and related programs, visit the Footsteps in History page.
First Monday Poetry Series Archive

November 1, 2010
Patricia Youngblood

Patricia Youngblood is a published Worcester poet who has read widely throughout the area. She is a past winner of the Worcester Magazine poetry contest; and a two-time finalist in the annual Worcester County Poetry Association contest. Patty has workshopped with many outstanding New England poets at The Frost Place Festival Workshop in New Hampshire, Truro Center for Arts, Worcester Art Museum and annual Monadnock Mountain Poets gatherings. She is also a member of 4 x 4, a working collaborative of four poets and four visual artists who just closed a month-long exhibition of paired poems and art.
January 3, 2011
Bob Cronin

First Monday Poetry Series kicks off Worcester's year-long Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Celebration with a brief overview of Bishop's work and a presentation of several Bishop poems for discussion. Bob is editor of The Worcester Review Elizabeth Bishop Centenary Issue. (Fall 2011.)

After a hiatus of a few years, Edward R. (“Bob”) Cronin is happy to be back on the editorial staff of the Worcester Review. Bob is now retired from Mount Wachusett Community College where for many years he taught English Composition, Film History, Science Fiction, and Shakespeare. He still teaches Film part time at Mount Wachusett. Bob has a BA degree from Harvard College and an MA from Northeastern University and is a past President of the Worcester County Poetry Association. He now lives with his wife Barbara in Hubbardston; they have a grown son and daughter and four lovely grand daughters.
February 7, 2011
Robert Steele
Carrie Corcoran
Robert Steele has written two novel manuscripts and has kept extensive journals since 1988. He reads at various Worcester venues - Poet's Asylum, StreetBeat, Barnes and Noble, Worcester Story Tellers, DelRossi Trattoria. His fiction and poetry has appeared in The Worcester Review, The Issue and other publications. He is a member of the Milton ensemble
and has done performance poetry with Rodger Martin at the Stone Soup Literary Magazine Fair held at the Wang Center in Boston.

Robert read from his novel, East Wind - West Rock, assisted by Carrie Corcoran.
March 7, 2011
Mark Wagner

Since the late 1980s, I have kept bread on the table by teaching writing and literature at the college level, most recently at Worcester State College. Among other venues, I have taught at the University of Alabama, Nichols College, and Boston University.  I am a member of The Academy of American Poets, Modern Language Association, and Massachusetts Teachers Association. I am immediate past President of the Worcester County Poetry Association (2009).  My published works include A Cabin in a Field (Mellen Poetry Press, 2001), Silkheads: Life as Art with Alopecia (Homestead, 1999), and a work of philosophy, The Immediate Field (Verlag-Springer, 2011) . I will be reading from Home Building, published In January by Finishing Line Press.  The poems in Home Building document the process of building a little garden farm and  a loft  in a barn where I live with my wife Moncia Elefterion and our son, Myles.
April 11, 2011
Francine D'Alessandro

First Monday Poetry host Francine D'Alessandro takes the floor to read some poetry of her own and a few favorites from other poets. A displaced New Yorker, Francine is active in the Worcester poetry community and particularly in the Worcester County Poetry Association where she has served as president, vice president for programming, secretary, web master and a lot of other (nameless) tasks. Her poetry has appeared in The Worcester Review, Diner, Sahara, The Longfellow Society Journal, and other publications.
May 2, 2011
Laura Jehn Menides
Georgia Menides

Poet Laura Menides and her filmmaker/poet daughter, Georgia, will read from their new book Of Daughters and Grasshoppers (Kali Mera Press, 2011) and discuss the experience of their collaboration. 

Link to the Richard DuckettTelegram & Gazette story.

June 6, 2011
Dan Lewis

Dan Lewis lives on the edge of the Patch Reservoir in Worcester, Massachusetts. Old enough to know better, he still finds himself walking in the world agog. Publication credits include The Cortland Review, Diner, The Worcester Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, Paper Street, Margie, Cutbank, Blue Unicorn, and others.
July 11, 2011
David Williams

David Williams is the author of Traveling Mercies (Alice James Books 1993) and Far Sides of the Only World (Carolina Wren Press 2004). Over the years, his work has appeared in many journals and anthologies.
August 1, 2011
Lesley Wheeler

Lesley Wheeler is a poet and teacher who currently lives in Iowa City.  She grew up in Worcester, Massachusetts and attended the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.  Currently, she is a first-year MFA candidate in poetry at the Iowa Writers' Workshop as well as a Rhetoric instructor.  Some of the poets she has studied under include: Sarah Manguso, Cole Swensen, Christian Hawkey and James Galvin.  Most recently, her translation work was published in the Spring issue of the Washington Square Review. 

October 3, 2011
Susan Roney Obrien

Susan earned an MA in Education in 1989 from Anna Maria College in Paxton, MA and an MFA in Poetry from Warren Wilson College in Swannanoah, NC where she studied with Eleanor Wilner, Robert Wrigley, Ira Sadof, Ed Hirsh and Ellen Bryant Voigt. She has attended The Frost Place on two occassions and was a resident at Dorset House in Vermont last year.  She has been giving poetry readings for many years, worked as a poet-in-the-schools and storyteller for ten years, arranges reading series for other poets and coordinates "Art is Fundamental", a program that brings writers and other artists to the Thomas Prince School. She has been an editor of The Worcester Review for ten years and has worked with students to publish their first books. This year she began a student literary magazine, The Morrigann.  Susan won first place in the Worcester County Poetry Association Contest when Mary Oliver judged. Her work has been published in Deros, Yankee Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Prarie Schooner, The Worcester Review, Potato Hill, Potpourri and other literary magazines.
September 12, 2011
Matt Hopewell

Cowboy Matt Hopewell is a poet and musician. He hosts the Little "a"
poetry venue at The Strange Attractor (97D Webster Street, Worcester (Thursdays, 7:00pm).

November 7, 2011
Joe Fusco, Jr.

For seventeen years, Joe Fusco Jr. has hovered on the fringe of the Worcester writing scene. Co-winner of the Jacob Knight Poetry Award in 2002, voted Best Poet by Worcester Mag readers in 1999 and 2002, Honorable Mention-er in the Worcester County Poetry Association 2011 Contest, Joe's stuff has appeared in Sahara, Worcester Review, AsininePoetry.com, The Lancaster Times, Worcester Mag, etc. Joe is the author of six chapbooks and recorded two, relatively hilarious, CD's. His latest venture " The Lost then Found Essays of Joe Fusco Jr." is awaiting publication. Joe lives a quiet life with his wife Cyndi and family by the banks of Lake Quinsig, fishing for leather boots and reusable auto parts. He is the recording secretary of the St Mary's Booster Club. He still sleeps unsoundly.

January 9, 2012
Kristina England

Kristina England earned an MA in English in 2005 at the University of Massachusetts Boston and was the recipient of the 2005 David A. Kennedy Prize for Outstanding Poetry by a UMass Boston student.  Kristina enjoys attending local poetry readings, facilitating the Poetry Happens Workshop, and serving as an Assistant Editor for the Ballard Street Poetry Journal. Her poems have recently appeared in Blinking Cursor, Gargoyle, Haggard and Halloo, and OVS Magazine.  She currently works at the University of Massachusetts as a Communication Specialist.

May 7, 2012
Michel Duncan Merle

Michel Duncan Merle was born in Paris and raised at the Akademia Raymond Duncan in the Latin Quarter, founded by Raymond, brother of Isadora Duncan. At the age of ten, he joined his mother in America. After that, it was a whirlwind of academics, business, anthropology and art – with stops at Wall Street, Columbia University, Mexico, India and Worcester. Michel has been a member and/or founding member of many Worcester-based music, art and literary organizations, including Grove Street Gallery, Noh-Place Poets, Invented Things Quartet, and is a past president of the Worcester County Poetry Association. A professor of studio art at Worcester State University until 2006, he also hosts a midnight show on WCUW radio, Think Tank Tango.

Photo: Michel Duncan Merle connects with the spirit of Elizabeth Bishop via shell-phone during the EB100 open mic at Barnes & Nobel

June 4, 2012
Dathalinn O'Dea and Andrew Kuhn

Dathalinn and Andrew discussed "James Joyce, Libraries and Periodicals" to start off Worcester's annual Bloomsday celebration. For more information about the talks and additional photos, please visit the Bloomsday 2012 page.
October 1, 2012
Bob Cronin Reads Stanley Kunitz

Bob Cronin returns to First Monday to read and discuss Worcester native and US Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz.

This event kicks off our fall series of Kunitz-related events including a visit from the New England Chapter of Deat Poets Society (October 7), Stanley Kunitz Childhood Home Open House (October 7 & *), and the Fourth Annual Gregorry Stockmal reading on November 8, featuring Kathleen Spivack.

July 2, 2012
First Monday 1st Ever Open Mic!

Share your favorite poems of summer - you'll probably have an opportunity to read more than one, so come prepared!

August 6, 2012
Richard Fox

Richard H. Fox was born and bred in Worcester MA.  He attended Webster University, as much artist colony as college, in the early 1970's.  These diverse cultures shaped his world view and love of words.  He is a former President of Poetry Oasis, Inc., a non-profit poetry association dedicated to education and promoting local poets, and was Managing Editor of its journal Diner.  Richard has been published numerous journals including Sahara, twist (Iowa),Midstream, Concrete Wolf and will appear in the next issue of Soul-Lit.  For the past year, many of his poems have focused on cancer from the patient's point of view drawing on hope, humor, and unforeseen gifts.

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