Solstice MFA Program faculty mentors are dedicated working writers with a passion for teaching. Learn a bit more about some of our faculty member’s creative process and approach to mentoring students here.

MFA Program Faculty

Kathleen Aguero

Genre | Poetry

Kathleen Aguero has published five collections of poetry: Daughter Of; The Real WeatherThirsty DayInvestigations, a collection of poems inspired by Nancy Drew; and After That. Her latest book, World Happiness Index, was published by Tiger Bark Press. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including Poetry magazineMassachusetts Review, and the Cincinnati Review. She is also co-editor of three collections of multicultural literature: A Gift of TonguesAn Ear to the Ground, and Daily Fare. Her creative nonfiction essay “Marriage Koan” appears in the anthology Why I’m Still Married. Recipient of a Massachusetts Fellowship in Poetry and a fellowship to the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Kathi also was awarded a writing grant from the Elgin/Cox Trust. She has taught at the Writers’ Center at the Chautauqua Institute in upstate New York, the NY State Young Writers’ Program at Skidmore, as well as in the Poets in the Schools Programs of New Hampshire and Massachusetts. In 2004, she held the position of Visiting Research Associate at the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center in Waltham, Massachusetts. In addition to teaching in the Solstice MFA program, Kathi teaches for “Changing Lives Through Literature,” an alternative sentencing program based on the power of books to change lives through reading and group discussion. She is a consulting editor in poetry for The Kenyon Review. Visit her website.

Published Works 
Daughter Of; The Real Weather; Thirsty Day; Investigations, World Happiness Index, A Gift of Tongues, An Ear to the Ground, and Daily Fare.

Spotlight Interview by Tiara Marchando

Josè Angel Araguz

Genres | Poetry, Creative Nonfiction

Esther G. Belin is the author of two poetry books, From the Belly of My Beauty (1999) and Of Cartography (2017), and co-editor of José Angel Araguz is a CantoMundo fellow and the author of seven chapbooks, as well as the collections Everything We, Think We HearSmall FiresUntil We Are Level AgainAn Empty Pot’s Darkness and, most recently, Rotura. His poems, creative nonfiction, and reviews have appeared in Crab Creek ReviewPrairie SchoonerNew SouthPoetry International, and The Bind. His memoir Ruin and Want is forthcoming from Sundress Publications. Born and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, he runs the poetry blog The Friday Influence and composes erasure poems on the Instagram account @poetryamano. A member of the Board of Governors for CavanKerry Press, he is also a faculty member in Lasell’s University Solstice Low-Residency MFA program. With an MFA from New York University and a Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, José is an Assistant Professor of English at Suffolk University in Boston, where he also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Salamander Magazine. You can connect with him on Facebook and Twitter.

Published Works
Everything We Think We HearSmall FiresUntil We Are Level Again, An Empty Pot’s Darkness, Rotura, Ruin and Want

Venise Berry

Genres | Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

Venise Berry is the author of three national bestselling novels: So Good, An African American Love StoryAll of Me, A Voluptuous Tale—recipient of a 2001 Honor Book Award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association—and Colored Sugar Water. She also has a memoir, Driven: Reflections on Love, Career and the Pursuit of Happiness, and published a nonfiction book, Racialism and the Media: Black Jesus, Black Twitter, and the First Black American President in 2020. In 2003, she received the Creative Contribution to Literature Award from the Zora Neale Hurston Society, and in 2001, she was recognized with an Iowa Author Award from the Public Library Foundation in Des Moines. She has co-authored two nonfiction resource books with S. Torriano Berry, an associate professor in Film at Howard University: The Historical Dictionary of African American Cinema and The 50 Most Influential Black Films. Her book Mediated Messages and African-American Culture: Contemporary Issues, a co-edited nonfiction project, won the Meyers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America in 1997. She is an associate professor of Journalism and Mass Communication and African American Studies at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.

Visit her website.

Published Works
So Good, An African American Love Story; All of Me, A Voluptuous TaleColored Sugar Water, Racialism and the Media: Black Jesus, Black Twitter, First Black American President

Spotlight Interview by Towana Wright

Visit her website.

Amy Hoffman

Genres | Creative Nonfiction, Fiction

Amy Hoffman is a writer, community activist, and former editor-in-chief of Women’s Review of Books. Her novel Dot & Ralfie was published spring 2022 from the University of Wisconsin Press, which also published her novel The Off Season. She has also published three memoirs: Lies About My Family; An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the Gay Community News; and Hospital Time. Her books have been short-listed for the Lambda Literary Award and the Publishing Triangle Judy Grahn Award. Amy’s essays, interviews, and fiction have been published in the Boston Review, the Ocean State ReviewPrairie Schooner, the Gay and Lesbian Review, and the Journal of Lesbian Studies, and anthologized in The Politics of CareIn Search of Stonewall; and The Little Magazine in Contemporary America. A former development director for Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities and the Women’s Lunch Place, a daytime shelter for homeless women, she has also been an editor at Gay Community News, South End Press, and the Unitarian Universalist World magazine. She received her MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, has taught at UMass Amherst, and teaches at Emerson College. Visit her website.

Published Works
Dot & Ralfie, The Off Season, Lies About My Family; An Army of Ex-Lovers: My Life at the Gay

Spotlight Interview by Andrea Davies

Steven Huff

Genres | Fiction, Poetry

Steven Huff is the author of two collections of stories, A Pig in Paris and Blissful, and three collections of poems, most recently, A Fire in the Hill. His literary travelogue Resting among Us: Authors’ Gravesites in Upstate New York is forthcoming from Syracuse University Press. Steve’s poems and stories have appeared in PloughsharesThe Hudson ReviewKestrelThe Chatauqua Literary Review, Ted Kooser’s “American Life in Poetry” column, and other journals and anthologies. He is the editor of a collection of essays, Knowing Knott: Essays on an American Poet. Garrison Keillor has read his poetry on “The Writer’s Almanac” public radio program. His nonfiction has appeared in The Gettysburg Review. A Pushcart Prize winner in fiction, he is the founding publisher and editor of Tiger Bark Press, which has published more than 30 collections of poetry, poetry in translation, and creative nonfiction. He lives in Rochester, NY. Visit his website.

Published Works
A Pig in Paris, Blissful, A Fire in the Hill, More Daring Escapes, The Water We Come From, Resting among Us: Authors’ Gravesites in Upstate New York

Spotlight Interview by Jiao Fu

Brendan Kiely

Genres | Fiction, Writing for Young People

Brendan Kiely is The New York Times bestselling author of All American Boys (with Jason Reynolds), TraditionThe Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter. His most recent book is The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege. His work has been published in over a dozen languages and has received the Coretta Scott King Author Honor Award, the Walter Dean Meyers Award, and ALA’s Top Ten Best Fiction for Young Adults. A former high school teacher, he is now on the faculty of the Solstice MFA Program. He watches too much basketball and reads too many books at the same time, but most important, he lives for and loves his wife and son.

Published Works
All American Boys, Tradition, The Last True Love Story, and The Gospel of Winter, The Other Talk: Reckoning with Our White Privilege

Spotlight Interview by Vanessa Aarons

Laura Williams McCaffrey

Genres | Fiction, Writing for Young People

Born and raised in Vermont, Laura Williams McCaffrey attended Barnard College of Columbia University, and then returned to Vermont to become a school librarian, answering to the names “Ms. Librarian,” “Library Lady,” and sometimes simply “Ms. Library.” A passionate advocate for the arts in education, she has taught writing and literature at Pacem School, an alternative school and homeschooling center, for fourteen years. Since fall of 2018, she also has taught at Champlain College in its Professional Writing division. For three years she was the Fiction Editor at YA Review Network, where she was honored to publish stories by established writers and teens. Laura’s speculative fiction short stories have been published in Solstice Literary Magazine, Soundings ReviewCicada, and YA Review Network. Her short story “Into the Vast,” published by YA Review Network, won SCBWI’s 2014 Magazine Merit Award for fiction. Her most recent novel, Marked (2016), is a young-adult dystopian fantasy as well as a mixed-format novel that includes comics story lines integrated into prose text. Laura is the author of two other young-adult speculative fiction novels: Water Shaper, selected for the 2007 New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age list, and Alia Waking, named an International Reading Association Notable Book. Alia Waking was also a nominee for the annual Teens’ Top Ten Books list and for Vermont’s Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award. Laura is currently at work on a number of speculative fiction projects. Visit her website.

Published Works
Marked, Water Shaper, Alia Waking

Spotlight Interview by Tiara Marchando

Josh Neufeld

Genres | Comics & Graphic Narrative

Josh Neufeld is a cartoonist known for his nonfiction narratives of political and social upheaval, told through the voices of witnesses. His works of comics journalism have been published by Al Jazeera AmericaThe Boston GlobeMedium, FusionCartoon Movement, and The Atavist, among others. As a comics artist, he has collaborated with such acclaimed writers as Brooke Gladstone, Harvey Pekar, and Nick Flynn. Josh is the writer/artist of the New York Times-bestselling nonfiction graphic novel A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge. In addition, he is the illustrator of the New York Times-bestselling graphic nonfiction book The Influencing Machine. He was awarded a 2004 Xeric Foundation grant for his first book A Few Perfect Hours (and Other Stories from Southeast Asia Central Europe). In 2014, Josh was an Atlantic Center for the Arts Master Artist, where he mentored eight Associate Artist cartoonists. In 2012, he was awarded the Knight-Wallace Fellowship in Journalism at the University of Michigan—the first long-form cartoonist ever admitted to the program. As part of the U.S. Department of State’s Speaker and Specialist program, Josh has traveled abroad as a “cultural ambassador,” giving presentations and conducting workshops in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Latin America. He has taught comics workshops at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and has served as a thesis advisor for students at the Center for Cartoon Studies and Hunter College. His illustrations have appeared in such publications as The New York TimesThe Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal. His books have been translated into numerous languages. Josh lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife, the writer Sari Wilson, and their daughter. Visit his website.

Published Works
A.D.: New Orleans after the Deluge, A Few Perfect Hours, The Influencing Machine

Anne-Marie Oomen

Genres | Creative Nonfiction, Poetry

Anne-Marie Oomen is the author of four memoirs: Love, Sex and 4-HPulling Down the BarnHouse of Fields; and As Long As I Know You: The Mom Book (the latter three all Michigan Notable Books). She also authored An American Map: EssaysThe Long Fields: Essays, and a full-length collection of poetry, Uncoded Woman. She also co-wrote The Lake Michigan Mermaid: A Tale in Poems with Linda Nemec Foster. She won the Association of Writers and Writing Programs' Sue William Silverman Nonfiction Award for As Long As I Know You. She is also represented in New Poems of the Third Coast: Contemporary Michigan Poetry. She edited Looking Over My Shoulder: Reflections on the Twentieth Century, an anthology of seniors’ essays funded by the Michigan Humanities Council. She has written seven plays, including the award-winning Northern Belles (inspired by oral histories of women farmers), and most recently, Secrets of Luuce Talk Tavern, 2012 winner of the CTAM contest. She adapted the meditations of Gwen Frostic for “Chaotic Harmony,” a choreopoem. She is founding editor of Dunes Review and former president of Michigan Writers, Inc. Anne-Marie serves as an instructor at the Lasell University's Solstice MFA in Creative Writing in Massachusetts and appears at conferences throughout the country. She and her husband, David Early, built their home near Empire, Michigan. Visit her website.

Published Works
Love, Sex and 4-H, Pulling Down the Barn, and House of Fields, Uncoded Woman, American Map, The Lake Michigan Mermaid, As Long As I Know You, The Long Fields

Spotlight Interview by Carrie Margolis

Iain Haley Pollock

Genre | Poetry

Iain Haley Pollock lives in Mount Kisco, NY, and teaches English at Rye Country Day School. He is the author of two poetry collections, Ghost, Like a Place, which was nominated for an NAACP Image Award, and Spit Back a Boy, winner of the 2010 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. Individual poems have appeared in American Poetry ReviewThe BafflerBoston ReviewCallaloo, and The New York Times Magazine. Iain received his undergraduate degree at Haverford College and his MFA in Creative Writing at Syracuse University, where he won the Joyce Carol Oates Award. He held a Cave Canem Fellowship from 2006-2009. He was the Solstice MFA Program’s first Cave Canem Partner Poet and joined the MFA faculty in summer 2012.

Published Works
Ghost, Like a Place, Spit Back a Boy

Spotlight Interview by Taylor Gould

Sandra Scofield

Genres | Fiction, Creative Nonfiction

Sandra Scofield is the author of seven novels, including Beyond Deserving, a finalist for the 1991 National Book Award. She has also written two books of creative nonfiction, including her memoir Occasions of Sin, and two craft books for writers, The Scene Book and The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision. Sandra also self-published This Is Not a Novel: Short Short Stories, a collection of stories she wrote and read during Solstice residencies. She has received awards from the NEA, Texas Institute of Letters, Narrative Magazine, and others. Her papers are housed in the Sowell Family Literary Collection at Texas Tech University. An experienced teacher (grades 2 through graduate school), Sandra holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Oregon. She served on faculty at Southern Oregon State College and was a visiting writer at several colleges, including Macalaster and Old Dominion University. Through the National Book Foundation, she was writer-in-residence on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, WA. She also has extensive experience as an educational planner. She has been on the faculty of the Iowa Summer Writing Festival since 1993. Sandra grew up in Texas; she now divides her time between Montana and Oregon. She is also a painter. Visit her website.

Published Works
Beyond Deserving, Occasions of Sin, The Scene Book and The Last Draft: A Novelist’s Guide to Revision, Mysteries of Love & Grief; Gringa; More than Allies; Walking Dunes; Opal on Dry Ground; Walking Dunes; A Chance to See Egypt; Plain Seeing; Swim: Stories of the 60s; This Is Not a Novel: Short, Short Stories

Spotlight interview by Kim Suhr

David Yoo

Genres | Fiction, Creative Nonfiction, Writing for Young People

David Yoo is the author of the novels Girls for Breakfast, which was named an NYPL Best Book for Teens and a Booksense Pick, and Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before, a Chicago Best of the Best selection, along with a middle-grade novel, The Detention Club. His first collection of essays, The Choke Artist, was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He holds a B.A. from Skidmore College and an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Colorado, Boulder. David wrote a regular column in Koream Journal. He teaches at the Gotham Writers’ Workshop and resides in Massachusetts. Visit his website.

Published Works
Girls for Breakfast, Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One Before, The Detention Club, The Choke Artist 

Spotlight Interview By Hareem Shafi


Faculty-at-large teach craft classes at biannual residencies, serve on the Admissions Committee, and may work with post-grad students. They do not mentor MFA students 1:1.

Laure-Anne Bosselaar

Genre | Poetry

Laure-Anne Bosselaar grew up in Belgium, where she worked for Belgian and Luxembourg Radio and Television. Her first poetry collection in English, The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, was a finalist for the Walt Whitman Award. Her second book of poems, Small Gods of Grief, won the Isabella Gardner Prize for Poetry. Her third poetry collection, A New Hunger, was an ALA Notable Book in 2008. She published the chapbook Rooms Remembered in 2018, and those poems would go on to appear in her 2019 full-length collection These Many Rooms. A graduate of the Warren Wilson MFA Program for Writers, she co-directed the Aspen Writers’ Conference from 1989 to 1992. Her other honors and awards include a Fellowship at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, Writer-in-Residence positions at Hamilton College and at the Vermont Studio Center, a Pushcart Prize, the 2020 James Dickey Award for Poetry, and the McEver Chair In Poetry at Georgia Tech. Garrison Keillor chose four of her poems to read on the Writers’ Almanac. She is the editor of the anthologies Never Before: Poems About First ExperiencesOutsiders: Poems About Rebels, Exiles, and Renegades; and Urban Nature: Poems About Wildlife in the City, as well as co-editor of Night Out: Poems About Hotels, Motels, Restaurants, and Bars. A translator of French and Flemish poetry, she and her late husband, the poet Kurt Brown, published a book of translations from Flemish poet Herman de Coninck: The Plural of Happiness. Laure-Anne has taught at Emerson College, Sarah Lawrence College, U.C. Santa Barbara, and at writers’ conferences across the country. Visit her website.

Published Works
The Hour Between Dog and Wolf, Small Gods of Grief, A New Hunger, These Many Rooms

Randall Horton

Genres | Creative Nonfiction, Poetry

Poet, fiction writer, and creative nonfiction writer Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea González Poetry Award, and a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall’s most recent poetry collection is {#289-128}. His first poetry collection, Pitch Dark Anarchy, was selected by Beltway Poetry Quarterly as a Best Book of 2013. His essays have appeared in Black Renaissance Noire, the International Journal of Literary Nonfiction, and A Sense of Regard: Essays on Poetry Race. His book Hook: A Memoir was released from Augury Books in fall 2015. His second memoir, Dead Weight, is available from Northwestern University Press. With an MFA from Chicago State University and a Ph.D. from SUNY Albany, Randall is an Associate Professor of English at the University of New Haven.

Published Works
Pitch Dark Anarchy, Hook: A Memoir, Dead Weight, {#289-128}

Nicole Terez Dutton

Genre | Poetry

Nicole Terez Dutton’s work has appeared in CallalooPloughshares32 PoemsIndiana Review, and Salt Hill Journal. In August 2020, she was named the David H. Lynn Editor at The Kenyon Review. Nicole earned an MFA from Brown University and has received fellowships from the Frost Place, the Fine Arts Work Center, Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts. Her collection of poems, If One Of Us Should Fall, was selected as the winner of the 2011 Cave Canem Poetry Prize. She was the inaugural poet laureate of Somerville, Massachusetts.

Published Works
If One Of Us Should Fall


Writers-in-Residence, many who are former faculty, teach craft classes during the residencies on a rotating basis but do not mentor MFA students 1:1.

Terrance Hayes

Genre | Poetry

Terrance Hayes’ most recent poetry collection is So to Speak. His previous one is American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin, which was a finalist for the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the TS Eliot Prize, the Brooklyn Public Library’s Literary Prize for Fiction Poetry, the LA Times Book Award, the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Kingsley Tufts Award. In 2010, his book Lighthead won the National Book Award and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and Hurston-Wright Award. His first book, Muscular Music, won both a Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. His second book, Hip Logic, was a National Poetry Series selection and a finalist for both The Los Angeles Times Book Award and the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets. Wind In a Box, a Hurston-Wright Legacy Award finalist, was named one of the best books of 2006 by Publishers Weekly. How to Be Drawn received the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry and was long-listed for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry. Terrance’s other honors include a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, a profile on the PBS Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. His poems have appeared in seven editions of the Best American Poetry anthology and two editions of the Pushcart Best of the Small Presses anthology. His craft book is Watch Your Language: Visual and Literary Reflections on a Century of American Poetry. His essay collection To Float In The Space Between: Drawings and Essays in Conversation with Etheridge Knight was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and winner of the Poetry Foundation’s 2019 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism. He was also guest editor of The Best American Poetry 2014, the preeminent annual anthology of contemporary American poetry. He is a professor of English at New York University.

Published Works
American Sonnets for My Past And Future Assassin, Lighthead, Muscular Music, Wind In a Box, Hip LogicSo to SpeakWatch Your Language

Lee Hope

Genre | Fiction

Lee Hope is the author of the novel Horsefever, which made its mark on the Small Press Distribution Bestseller List when it was published in 2016 and went on to be a finalist for the Midwest Book Awards. Lee is also is editor-in-chief of Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. Her fiction has received grants from both the Maine and the Pennsylvania Arts Commissions. Her short stories have been published in numerous literary journals, such as ;WitnessThe North American ReviewEpiphany, and ;Sou’wester. Her short story “What to Take In Case of Fire” received an honorable mention in American Fiction, Vol. 13 ;(winner of the 2015 Midwest Book Awards in the anthology category). Founder and former director of a low-residency MFA program in Maine, Lee also helped to found the ;Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program. She is currently president of the nonprofit Solstice Institute for Creative Writing and teaches for Changing Lives Through Literature, which brings literature to people on probation.

Published Works
Horsefever, What to Take In Case of Fire

Helen Elaine Lee

Genre | Fiction

Helen Elaine Lee is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Law School. Her first novel, The Serpent's Gift, was published by Atheneum and her second novel, Water Marked, was published by Scribner. Her short story “Blood Knot” appeared in the spring 2017 issue of Ploughshares, and her story “Lesser Crimes” appeared in the winter 2016 issue of Callaloo. Helen was on the board of PEN New England for 10 years, served on its Freedom to Write Committee, and volunteered with its Prison Creative Writing Program, which she helped to start. She wrote about the experience of leading creative writing workshops in prison in a New York Times Book Review essay, “Visible Men.” Her stories about people who are incarcerated have appeared in Prairie Schooner, Callaloo, Hanging Loose, Best African American Fiction 2009 (Bantam Books), and Solstice Literary Magazine. Her novel Pomegranate will be published in April 2023. It is about a woman who is getting out of prison and striving to stay clean, repair her relationships with her kids, and choose life. Her journey to grapple with the past, own and tell her story, and reassemble the pieces of her life is one of healing and autonomy. Helen is Professor of Comparative Media Studies/Writing at MIT. Visit her website.

Published Works
The Serpent’s Gift, Water Marked, Pomegranate

Grace Lin

Genre | Writing for Young People

Before Grace Lin was an award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author/illustrator of picture books, early readers and middle grade novels, she was the only Asian girl (except for her sisters) going to her elementary school in Upstate New York. That experience, good and bad, has influenced her books—including her Newbery Honor Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, her Geisel Honor Ling & Ting, her National Book Finalist When the Sea Turned to Silver, and her Caldecott Honor A Big Mooncake for Little Star. But it also causes Grace to persevere for diversity as an occasional New England Public Radio commentator and when she gave her TEDx talk “The Windows and Mirrors of Your Child’s Bookshelf,” as well as her PBSNewHour video essay “What to do when you realize classic books from your childhood are racist?.” She continued this mission with a hundred episodes of the podcast kidlit women* and now currently hosts two other podcasts: Book Friends Forever and Kids Ask Authors. In 2016, Grace’s art was displayed at the White House and Grace, herself, was recognized by President Obama’s office as a Champion of Change for Asian American and Pacific Islander Art and Storytelling. Visit her website.

Published Works
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, Ling & Ting, When the Sea Turned to Silver, A Big Mooncake for Little Star, The Ugly Vegetables, A Big Bed for Little Snow, Thanking the Moon, Dim Sum for Everyone, Kite Flying, Starry River of the Sky, Mulan Before the Sword, Once Upon a BookChinese Menu: The History, Myths, and Legends Behind Your Favorite Foods

Dzvinia Orlowsky

Genre | Poetry

Pushcart Prize poet, translator, a founding editor of Four Way Books, Dzvinia Orlowsky is the author of six poetry collections published by Carnegie Mellon University Press, including her most recent, Bad Harvest, a 2019 Massachusetts Book Awards “Must Read” in Poetry. She is a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Poetry Grant, a Sheila Motton Book Award, a co-recipient of a 2016 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Translation Fellowship, and her first collection, A Handful of Bees, was reprinted as part of the Carnegie Mellon University Press Classic Contemporary Series. Dzvinia’s poetry and translations have appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Agni, Antioch Review, Field, Guernica, International Poetry Review, Kenyon Review Online, Los Angeles Review, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, The Massachusetts Review, A Map of Hope: An International Literary Anthology, From Three Worlds, and Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse. Her translation from Ukrainian of Alexander Dovzhenko’s novella The Enchanted Desna was published by House Between Water in 2006. In 2014, Jeff Friedman’s and her co-translation of Memorials by Polish poet Mieczyslaw Jastrun was published by Dialogos. Her poem sequence “The (Dis)enchanted Desna” was a winner of the 2019 New England Poetry Club Samuel Washington Allen Prize, selected by Robert Pinsky. More recently, her co-translations with Ali Kinsella from the Ukrainian of Natalka Billotserkivets’ selected poems, Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow, (Lost Horse Press, 2021), was a finalist for the 2022 Griffin International Poetry Prize. It has also been shortlisted for the 2022 Derek Walcott Prize in Poetry as well as the 2022 National Translation Award. A book of her co-translations with Ali Kinsella from the Ukrainian of Halyna Kruk’s poetry is forthcoming from Lost Horse Press in 2024. Dzvinia is a contributing poetry editor to AGNI, Solstice Literary Magazine, and founder of Night Riffs: A Solstice Magazine Reading & Music Series. She is a Writer-in-Residence at the Solstice Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program.

Published Works
Bad Harvest, Convertible Night, Flurry of Stones, A Handful of Bees, Silvertone, Eccentric Days of Hope and Sorrow: Poems by Natalka Biloserkivets

Spotlight Interview by Carrie Margolis

Renèe Watson

Courtesy of the author

Renée Watson is a New York Times bestselling author, educator, and community activist. Her young adult novel Piecing Me Together received a Coretta Scott King Award and Newbery Honor. Her children’s picture books and novels for teens have received several awards and international recognition. She has given readings and lectures at many renown places including the United Nations, the Library of Congress, and the U.S. Embassy in Japan and New Zealand. Her poetry and fiction centers around the experiences of Black girls and women, and explores themes of home, identity, and the intersections of race, class, and gender.

Her books include the young adult novels Love is a RevolutionPiecing Me TogetherThis Side of Home, and Watch Us Rise, co-written with Ellen Hagan. Her middle-grade novels include the Ryan Hart series (Ways to Make SunshineWays to Grow LoveWays to Share Joy), Some Places More Than OthersBetty Before X, co-authored with Ilyasah Shabazz, and What Momma Left Me. Her picture book Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills received several honors including an NAACP Image Award nomination in children’s literature. Her other picture books include Maya's Song and The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, co-authored with Nikole Hannah-Jones. She is also the author of She Persisted: Oprah Winfrey.

One of Renée’s passions is using the arts to help youth cope with trauma and discuss social issues. Her picture book A Place Where Hurricanes Happen is based on poetry workshops she facilitated with children in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

Renée was a writer in residence for over twenty years teaching creative writing and theater in public schools and community centers throughout the nation. She founded I, Too Arts Collective, a nonprofit that was housed in the home of Langston Hughes from 2016-2019. Watson is on the Council of Writers for the National Writing Project and is a member of the Academy of American Poets’ Education Advisory Council. She is also a writer-in-residence at The Solstice Low-Residency Creative Writing Program of Lasell University.

Published Works
Piecing Me Together; Love is a Revolution; This Side of Home; Watch Us Rise, co-written with Ellen Hagan; Ryan Hart series (Ways to Make Sunshine, Ways to Grow Love, Ways to Share Joy); Some Places More Than Others; Betty Before X, co-authored with Ilyasah Shabazz; What Momma Left Me; Harlem’s Little Blackbird: The Story of Florence Mills; She Persisted: Oprah Winfrey; A Place Where Hurricanes Happen; The 1619 Project: Born on the Water, co-authored with Nikole Hannah-Jones; Maya's SongBlack Girl You Are Atlas

Spotlight Interview by Jenn Strattman

Consulting Writers

Jacqueline Woodson

Genre | Writing for Young People

In 2022, Jacqueline Woodson received The Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest international recognition given to an author of children’s books, to recognize lifelong achievement. She is the author of a number of books for children and young adults, including the 2014 National Book Award winner Brown Girl Dreaming, Each Kindness, Beneath a Meth Moon; Peace, Locomotion; the Newbery Honor books After Tupac D Foster, Show Way, and Feathers; Miracle’s Boys, winner of the Coretta Scott King Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize (made into a six-part television miniseries, directed by, among others, Spike Lee); Hush, a Finalist for the National Book Award and the American Library Association (ALA) “Best Book For Young Adults”; Locomotion, also a National Book Award finalist, a Horn Book Award Honor Book, and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; and If You Come Softly, named a Best Book for Young Adults by the ALA. Her picture book The Other Side has won many awards, including the Texas Blue Bonnet Award and a Child Magazine Best Book Award; it was also named an ALA Notable Book. Her recent titles include Red at the Bone, The Day You Begin, and Harbor Me. She also adapted Locomotion as a play, and the stage version premiered at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. in October 2010. Jacqueline has received several additional honors, including a MacArthur Fellowship, an Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a Margaret A. Edwards Award for Lifetime Achievement, two Jane Addams Peace Awards, three Lambda Literary Awards, the Kenyon Review Award for Literary Excellence, a Granta Best Writer Under Forty Award, Publisher’s Weekly Best Book of 1994, and a number of ALA Best Book Awards. She also served as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for the Library of Congress from 2018 to 2019. A former drama therapist for runaways and homeless children in New York City, Jacqueline has taught fiction at the Vermont College MFA in Creative Writing Program; The City College, City University of New York; Goddard College’s MFA in Creative Writing Program; the National Book Foundation Summer Writing Camp; and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Published Works
Brown Girl Dreaming; Each Kindness; Beneath a Meth Moon; Locomotion; Peace, Locomotion; After Tupac and D Foster; Show Way; Feathers; Miracle’s Boys; Hush; If You Come Softly; Behind You; The Other Side; The Day You Begin; Harbor Me; This is the Rope; Pecan Pie Baby; Coming in Home Soon; We Had a Picnic This Sunday Past; Sweet, Sweet Memory; Our Gracie Aunt; Visting Day; Between Madison & Palmetto; Maizon at Blue Hill; Last Summer with Maizon; From the Notebooks of Melanin Sun; I Hadn’t Meant to Tell You This; Lena; The House You Pass on the Way; The Dear One; Before the Ever After; Another Brooklyn; Red at the Bone

Dennis Lehane

Genre | Fiction

Founding consulting writer Dennis Lehane grew up in Boston. Since his first novel, A Drink Before the War, won the Shamus Award, he has published numerous novels that have been translated into more than 30 languages and become international bestsellers: Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile; Live by Night; and World Gone By. His most recent work is a stand-alone novel, Since We Fell. Four of his novels – Live by Night, Mystic River, Gone, Baby, Gone, and Shutter Island – have been adapted into films. A fifth, The Drop, was adapted by Lehane himself into a film starring Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace, and James Gandolfini in his final role. Lehane was a staff writer on the acclaimed HBO series, The Wire, and also worked as a writer-producer on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, Netflix‘s Bloodline, DirecTV’s Mr. Mercedes, and HBO’s The Outsider. Lehane was born and raised in Dorchester, Massachusetts. Before becoming a full-time writer, he worked as a counselor with mentally handicapped and abused children, waited tables, parked cars, drove limos, worked in bookstores, and loaded tractor-trailers. Lehane and his family live in California.

Published Works
A Drink Before the War; Darkness, Take My Hand; Sacred; Gone, Baby, Gone; Prayers for Rain; Mystic River; Shutter Island; The Given Day; Moonlight Mile; Live by Night; World Gone By, The Drop; Since We FellSmall Mercies

M.L. Liebler

Genre | Poetry

M. L. Liebler is an acclaimed poet, university professor, literary arts activist, arts organizer and award-winning educator. He was awarded the 2010 Barnes Noble Writers for Writers Award, bestowed by the literary magazine Poets and Writers to honor authors who “have given generously to other writers or to the broader literary community.” He is author of thirteen books, including the award-winning Written In Rain: New Selected Poems 1985-2000The Moon In a Box (which includes a CD of his performance poetry); Greatest Hits 1984-2005; a bilingual edition (in Russian and English) of The Fragrant Benediction of Life; and Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream, featuring poems written in and about Russia, Israel, Germany, Alaska, and Detroit. His recent working-class literary anthology, Working Words: Punching the Clock Kicking Out the Jams, was selected as a Michigan Library Notable Book for 2011. On behalf of the U.S. State Department, he has read, performed, and taught poetry in such countries as China, Russia, Israel, Germany, Austria, France, Czech Republic, Britain, Wales, and elsewhere, including almost every state in the US. In 2005, he was named the first Poet Laureate of his hometown, St. Clair Shores, Michigan. He has taught English, creative writing, labor studies, and American studies at Wayne State University since 1980. He is the founding director of both The National Writer’s Voice Project in Detroit and the Springfed Arts: Metro Detroit Writers Literary Arts Organization. He was selected at Best Detroit Poet by The Detroit Free Press and Detroit Metro Times, and he is the nation’s first-ever artist in residence for a public library, the Chelsea District Library (2008-2009). M.L. is available to consult with MFA students and prospective students who are interested in pursuing a third-semester, applied-track internship. Visit his website.

Published Works
Written In Rain: New Selected Poems 1985-2000, The Moon In a Box, The Fragrant Benediction of Life, Wide Awake in Someone Else’s Dream, Working Words: Punching the Clock Kicking Out the Jams

Director and Staff

Meg Kearney - Founding Director

(pronounced “car-nee”) 

Genres | Poetry, Writing for Young People

Meg Kearney is Founding Director of the Solstice Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program, which launched in 2006 at Pine Manor College and was adopted by nearby Lasell University in December 2021. For eleven years prior to founding Solstice, she was Associate Director of the National Book Foundation (sponsor of the National Book Awards) in New York City. She also taught poetry at the New School University.

In spring 2021, The Word Works Press published Meg’s All Morning the Crows, winner of the 2020 Washington Prize for poetry, which made Small Press Distribution’s poetry bestseller list April through September 2021 and earned a Pushcart Prize nomination. Meg is also author of The Ice Storm, a heroic crown (Green Linen Press Chapbook Series, 2020) currently in its third printing. Her collection of poems Home By Now (Four Way Books) was winner of the 2010 PEN New England LL Winship Award; it was also a finalist for the Paterson Poetry Prize and Foreword Magazine’s Book of the Year. Meg is also author of An Unkindness of Ravens (BOA Editions Ltd., 2001) and a trilogy of verse novels for teens: The Secret of Me (2005); The Girl in the Mirror (2012); and When You Never Said Goodbye (2017), all from Persea Books. Meg’s picture book Trouper (Scholastic, 2013) is illustrated by E.B. Lewis and won many accolades, including the 2015 Kentucky Bluegrass Award and the Missouri Association of School Librarians’ Show Me Readers Award. Former U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey chose Meg’s poem “Grackle” for the 2017 Best American Poetry anthology. Meg’s poetry has also been featured on Poetry Daily and Garrison Keillor’s “A Writer’s Almanac,” and has been published in myriad anthologies and literary journals.

Published Works
All Morning the Crows, The Ice Storm, Home By Now, An Unkindness of Ravens, The Secret of Me, The Girl in the Mirror, When You Never Said Goodbye, Trouper

Quintin Collins - Assistant Director

Genre | Poetry

Quintin Collins (he/him) is a writer, editor, and assistant director of the Solstice Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program. His work appears in many print and online publications, such as Sidereal MagazineSuperstition ReviewGlass: A Journal of PoetrySolstice Literary Magazine, and others. Winner of a Pushcart Prize and the 2019 Atlantis Award from the Poet's Billow, Quintin's publishing accolades include multiple Best of the Net Nominations, and he was a finalist for the 2020 Redivider Beacon Street Prize.

Quintin's first full-length collection of poems, The Dandelion Speaks of Survival, which was a finalist for the 2020 Alice James Award and the 2021 Sheila Margaret Motton Book Prize, is available from Cherry Castle Publishing. His second collection of poems, Claim Tickets for Stolen People, selected by Marcus Jackson as winner of The Journal's 2020 Charles B. Wheeler Poetry Prize and Honor Book for the Black Caucus of the American Library Association’s 2023 Best Poetry Literary Award, is available from Ohio State University Press/Mad Creek Books.

Quintin can be reached at qcollins@lasell.eduVisit his website for more information about his work.

Published Works
The Dandelion Speaks of Survival, Claim Tickets for Stolen People