Highlighted by Tupelo Press Writing Conference
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Meet our December Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Joan Houlihan

Highlighted by Tupelo Press Writing Conference

Joan Houlihan is author of four books of poetry, most recently, Ay (Tupelo Press, 2014). Her previous books are: The Us, named a must-read book of 2009 by Massachusetts Center for the Book, The Mending Worm, winner of the 2005 Green Rose Award from New Issues Press, and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays. In addition to publishing in a wide array of leading journals, including Poetry, Boston Review, Harvard Review and Gulf Coast, she has served as critic and editor at a series of online magazines, most recently Contemporary Poetry Review. She is the founder and director of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference and she currently teaches part-time at Clark University in Worcester and serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA program in Cambridge.
Poetic Profession "I'm in it for the chase: to outwit, outmaneuver, and outlast whatever half-seen truth is just ahead of me; to catch it in language that, once and for all, will tell all its secrets at once and expose how rare and beautiful it is to everyone; then to fail and try again." -Joan Houlihan


hims body—large still beast
killed to make me alive.
Char-water, river-rock
stand the night.
As spark on spark fed
sky-cold stars,
smells bramble the fire.
Powders of hazel-shell flare.
Ay will be offered too.
Next world, will you have me?
From Ay, published by Tupelo Press, copyright 2014 Joan Houlihan.

The Tupelo Press Writing Conference helps poets better understand how editors and publishers see their work. Poets of all levels, whether they are heading toward a full-length manuscript, preparing individual poems for submission to literary journals, or simply wanting to push their writing to a new level for the pleasure of doing so, can benefit from the conference. Jeffrey Levine, poet and founder of nationally acclaimed Tupelo Press, helps poets carry their writing to a new level through close reading and critique in the hopes that poets will be able to hone their internal editor and invite their best-crafted and most powerful voice to the page.

Massachusetts 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.
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