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Meet our December  Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Joshua Coben

Highlighted by Calliope Poetry Series

Joshua Coben’s first book, Maker of Shadows, published by Texas Review Press, won the 2009 X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize.  His poems have appeared in Atlanta Review, College English, The Evansville Review, Pleiades, Poet Lore, and other journals.  Born and raised in St. Louis, he studied and taught for two years in France before moving to the Boston area, where he teaches fifth grade.  He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, with his wife and three children. 
Poetic Profession "My first book of poems took me twenty years to finish, so I’m due for another one by 2030 at the latest. When good or even mediocre ideas strike, they usually hit me when I’m rushing off to work or have nothing to write them down with, such as when I’m in the shower or driving. I’m not complaining, but it would be nice just once to receive inspiration when I’m sitting comfortably in bed with my poetry journal open and ready." -Joshua Coben


Any job falling due
sooner than ten
million years
I now decline. 
If a mountain must be moved
one cubit to the left, 
a canyon cut
with a rivulet,  
a sea salted
until the living float,                  
a fish fitted out
with legs and lungs, 
a dead fly          
pressed into diamond, 
a mastodon
made stone, 
I’m your man.    
But give me time.

Calliope began as monthly poetry readings in January 2008, bringing together well-known and emerging poets from far-flung places, as well as providing an open mike for local poets to read one of their works-in-progress. The West Falmouth Library’s community room, with working fireplace and wonderful acoustics, creates an ideal place for poetry. After three featured poets and open mike, there is a book signing and reception which gives the audience an opportunity to socialize with poets. Strangers become poet-friends.

Calliope meets approximately monthly on Sunday afternoons from September to May, excluding December. For the exact schedule, click here. The open mike sign-up begins at 2:45 p.m.

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
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