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2024 Annual Women’s Reading

March 10 @ 7:00 pm 8:30 pm

On March 10, 2024, the WCPA is proud to host its annual Women’s Zoom Reading. If you would like to attend, please CLICK HERE.



Here is the reading list & order of readers:

1. Cheryl L. Bonin is a cancerous wench of the breast variety who writes snark-filled
stories and poetry because it’s cheaper than therapy. Her rantings have been
encouraged, tolerated, published and/or acknowledged, by The Worcester Review,
Worcester Magazine, The National Baseball Poetry Festival, The Eastport (Maine)
Library Review, and the 2022 Frank O’Hara Poetry Contest. Read and listen at your own psychological

2.  Erin Broudo is a middle school special education teacher in the Wachusett Regional School District. She lives in Sterling with her two kids and is an avid reader, writer, hiker, and Red Sox fan.

3.  Polly Brown spent the first two years of her retirement writing a blog about what she’d learned from teaching young adolescents,at ayeartothinkitover.com. Now she’s resettled an old family place in western Maine, where she’s happily raising poems. Pebble Leaf Feather Knife, from Cherry Grove Collections, followed two chapbooks, Blue Heron Stone, from Every Other Thursday Poetryand Each Thing Torn from Any of Us, from Finishing Line. Recent poems have appeared in Appalachia, Canary, Hole in the Head Review, and Quartet Journal, among others

4. Martha Collins’ eleventh book of poetry is Casualty Reports (Pittsburgh, 2022); her tenth, Because What Else Could I Do (Pittsburgh, 2019), won the Poetry Society of America’s William Carlos Williams Award. Her fifth volume of co-translated Vietnamese poetry is Dreaming the Mountain by Tuệ Sỹwith Nguyen Ba Chung (Milkweed, 2023).  Collins founded the U.Mass. Boston creative writing program and served as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin. Her website is marthacollinspoet.com

5. Ger Duffy lives in Southeast Ireland.  Her poetry has been published by PNR(UK),, Poetry Ireland Review, Under the Radar (UK), The Ekphrastic Review, (US),  Southword, Wild Greens (US) and other literary magazines. She is a Pushcart nominee. She has been awarded two poetry mentoring awards.  Her poems have been anthologized in Local Wonders, Washing Windows 111, In the Gold of the Flesh, The Stony Thursday Book. Her poems have been placed or commended in the following competitions: Goldsmiths International, Travels with Joyce, Write by the Sea, The Francis Ledwidge Awards, The Allingham.  She was a selected poet to read at the launch of On Being with Padraig O Tuama at the Southbank.  She was a featured reader at the Verve Poetry Festival, UK.

6. Jennifer L Freed’s first full-length collection, When Light Shifts (finalist, Sheila Margaret Motton Book Award) explores the aftermath of her mother’s cerebral hemorrhage and the altered relationships that emerge in a family health crisis.  Other awards include the 2020 Samuel Washington Allen Prize, the 2022 Frank O’Hara prize, and honorable mention for the 2022 Connecticut Poetry Award. Recent work appears in Bellevue Literary Review, Rust and Moth, BODY, and other journals. Please visit jfreed.weebly.com to learn more.

7.  Pamela Gemme was born to working class parents and grew up in Gardner, Massachusetts. She went to state universities, is a poet, artist, political activist, and a child protection social work consultant for Massachusetts DCF. Recent or forthcoming publications include The American Journal of Poetry, Haiku Journal, The Chicago Quarterly Review, Heliotrope Anthology, J Journal, SoFloPoJo, Ibbetson Street Magazine, and many others. Pamela co-edited Essential Voices: A Covid-19 Anthology. She serves on the National Baseball Poetry Festival poets’ Committee

8.  R. Joyce Heon believes that a list of degrees, publications, and contest placings makes for the most boring resume. She prefers saying she’s of Finnish heritage (her first spoken words as a toddler were swearing at the cat in Finnish), and she writes poetry in both English and French. She took first place in a French poetry contest. She has written “beaucoup de” ekphrastic poems (some in French). She lives in north-central Massachusetts, not far from Saima Park, a Finnish gathering place.

9.  Carolyn Howe has been writing poetry and painting watercolor from her home on Patch Reservoir in Worcester since her retirement as a sociologist from Holy Cross College. Sociology informs many of the poems in her recently published chapbook, Across the Street. Carolyn has been published in The Worcester Review and recently had a poem accepted for the project Mapping Worcester in Poems: Poems In and Out of Places.

10.  Em Judkins is a queer poet based in central and Western Massachusetts. The assistant head of poetry at Emulate Magazine, they are the recipient of the Ethel Olin Corbin Prize and Ruth Forbes Eliot Prize, and their work has appeared in EmulateVoices and Visions, and the Worcester Art Museum. They currently study English and Film and Media Studies at Smith College with a concentration in poetry, and are at work on their first chapbook.

11.  C. I. Marshall, MFA, Creative Writing, Poetry, California State University, Long Beach. B.A. Fine Arts, Mills College. Editor for ARTLIFE Magazine. Poetry Reader for the West Trade Review from June – December 2023. Poems in FERAL: A Journal of Poetry and ArtVerdad, Spillway, Birmingham Poetry ReviewPoems In The Waiting Room, UK. Marshall won the 2018 Verve International Poetry Festival Contest, UK and received Honorable Mention, 2021 Steve Kowit Poetry Prize. Marshall’s manuscript, The Locksmith Journeys Into The Afterlife won the 2022 Frosted Fire First Pamphlet Award, UK and was published in 2023. Marshall was a Finalist for the 2024 Tucson Festival of Books Literary Awards

12.  Maura MacNeil is a writer, editor, and professor of creative writing. She is the author of the poetry collections: A History of Water (Finishing Line Press), Lost Houses (Aldrich Press) and This Last Place (Dancing Girl Press). She is the founder and editor of the literary website Off the Margins (www.offthemargins.comfeaturing women writers who fearlessly tell the truth and risk vulnerability to give voice to their experience.”

13. Gloria Maruška Mindock (Mindak) New Poetry Collection: “Grief Touched the Sky at Night” (Glass Lyre Press, 2023)Winner of the International Impact Award, Nov. 2023 for “Grief Touched the Sky at Night——————Cervena Barva Press, Editor and PublisherWebsite: gloriamindock.com

14. Muriel Nelson’s publications include poetry collections, Sightsinger (Encircle Publications) and Part Song (Bear Star Press, Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize), and chapbooks, Please Hold (Encircle Publications, Poetry Chapbook Award) and Most Wanted (ByLine Press, ByLine Chapbook Award). These and three book manuscripts were shortlisted in four national contests and finalists in seventeen. Nominated five times for the Pushcart Prize, Nelson’s poems have appeared in many journals and several anthologies. Two of her poems have been set to music. She holds master’s degrees from the University of Illinois School of Music and the MFA Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College, and lives in Federal Way, Washington.

15.  Catherine Reed is an ordained minister and poet.. She is the author of four books of poetry. Crossing Boundaries, Between Midnight and Dawn, Sankofa and Fire Goes Out Without Wood.

16. Eve Rifkah was co-founder of Poetry Oasis, Inc. (1998-2012), a non-profit poetry association dedicated to education and promoting local poets. Founder, and editor DINER, a literary magazine.She is the 2021 recipient of the Stanley Kunitz award. She lives in Worcester, MA. The play, Outcasts the Lepers of Penikese Island, was based on her first book. She has 6 published books, none self-published.

17. Filmmaker and photographer Carla Schwartz‘s poems have been widely published and anthologized, including in The Practicing Poet (Diane Lockward, Ed), and in her collection Intimacy with the Wind (Finishing Line, 2017). Her CB99videos youtube channel has 2,400,000+ views. When she’s not writing or filming, you might find her reading, gardening, swimming, skating, skiing, cycling, walking the woods, and finding love in all of it. Learn more at carlapoet.com, wakewiththesun.blogspot.com, or find her on YouTube, Twitter, or Instagram @cb99videos.

18.  Susan Elizabeth (Beth) Sweeney’s poems have appeared in Diner, Worcester Review, Journal of Irish Literature, and elsewhere, and have won an Academy of Poets Prize, a Frank O’Hara Poetry Prize, and other awards. Her chapbook, Hand Me Down, was a semifinalist in the 2012 New Women’s Voices Competition. More recently, Close and Apart, a sequence of nine poems, was adapted by composer Matthew Jaskot and performed by a dozen musicians at a world premiere in 2023. Beth also coordinates the Creative Writing Program at the College of the Holy Cross and directs Mapping Worcester in Poetry, an initiative supported by the Mellon
Foundation with the Worcester County Poetry Association as community partner.

19.  Nancy Baillie Strong lives in Manchester, NH. She has workshopped with Jim Beschta at the Worcester (MA) Art Museum, and participates in Susan Roney-O’Brien’s virtual workshop. Her poetry has been published in The Poets’ Touchstone, Smoky Quartz, and was included in the anthology Women’s Uncommon Prayers (2000).

20.  (Barbara Thurston) bg Thurston’s third book of poetry, titled: The Many Lives of Cathouse Farm/Tales of a Rural Brothel, is forthcoming in 2024 from Cervena Barva Press.

21.  Linda Warren lives in Princeton with her dog, who is pretty much indifferent to poetry..  She (the woman, not the dog) has a chapbook forthcoming this year from Finishing Line Press.

22.  Loretta ‘Rhett’ Watts has lived in Beirut, San Francisco, New York and Connecticut. She now lives beside a brook south of Worcester with her husband and Siberian cat. Some of her poems have appeared in Sojourners Magazine, The Worcester Review, Spoon River Poetry Review, Naugatuck River Review, Canary, San Pedro River Review and in the books The Best Spiritual Writing 2000, and The Mud Chronicles: A New England Anthology. She holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Rhett’s chapbook No Innocent Eye was co-winner of the Rane Arroyo Award from Seven Kitchens Press. Her books are Willing Suspension, The Braiding, and coming in 2025 The Double Nest. Rhett facilitates AWA (Amherst Writers & Artists) writing workshops well as SoulCollage workshops in Connecticut and Massachusetts.

23.  Lex Thomas writes, usually with fountain pens.

24.  Eleanor Wilner is the 2019 Frost Medal recipient of the Poetry Society of America for lifetime achievement, is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Before Our Eyes; New and Selected Poems, 1975-2017  and Gone to Earth: Early & Uncollected Poems 1964-1975. 

25.  Susan Roney-O’Brien earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College. She’s published two chapbooks: Earth and Farmwifeand three full-length poetry collections: Legacy of the Last World, Bone Circle and Thira. Nominated for numerous Pushcart Prizes and published widely, she works with the Worcester County Poetry Association, runs a monthly on-line poetry reading series and facilitates free poetry workshops through area libraries. She, her husband Philip. and Oliver, their Chocolate Lab, live in central Massachusetts.


March 10
7:00 pm – 8:30 pm


Susan Roney-O’Brien

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