Joan Houlihan

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Joan Houlihan is an American poet. She is the author of four books, most recently Ay (Tupelo Press, 2014), a sequel to The Us (Tupelo Press, 2009). Timothy Donnelly has described Ay as “one of the most radically inventive and invigorating books of poetry I’ve read in years," while Ilya Kaminsky describes Ay as "breathtakingly inventive and yet deeply humane...a narrative and song at once; it is talismanic."

Her other books are The Mending Worm (New Issues Press), winner of the 2005 Green Rose Prize in Poetry, and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays (Del Sol Press, 2003; Room 204 Press, 2009) which includes her series of essays on contemporary American poetry called The Boston Comment. The essays drew a great deal of attention for their criticism of both traditional and what she termed "post-avant" poetry, occasioning responses from Fred Moramarco of Poetry International[1] and a wide range of letters from the poetry community both favorable and critical[2] Houlihan is a staff reviewer for the Contemporary Poetry Review.

Her work has appeared widely in many journals and magazines, among them Boston Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Arts, Fulcrum, Gettysburg Review, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Poetry International, Poetry, VOLT, and has been anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press) and The Book of Irish-American Poetry–Eighteenth Century to Present (University of Notre Dame Press).

Houlihan was born and raised in Newton, Massachusetts and received her BA and MA from University of Massachusetts in Amherst. She has taught at Columbia University, Clark University and Emerson College and she is on the faculty of Lesley University’s low-residency M.F.A. in Creative Writing program.[3]

She is founder of the Concord Poetry Center in Concord, Massachusetts and of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.

Published works[edit]

Full-Length Poetry Collections

  • Ay (Tupelo Press, February, 2014)
  • The Us (Tupelo Press, September, 2009)
  • The Mending Worm (New Issues Press, 2006)

Multi-Genre Collections


  • The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries (University of Iowa Press, 2005)
  • An Anthology of Irish-American Poetry, 18th Century to Present (University of Notre Dame, 2006).


External links[edit]