Yusef Komunyakaa, 2018 Golden Rose Recipient, with members of the Board and Laren McClung


Golden Rose recipient Marilyn Nelson with members of the NEPC Board

President – Mary Buchinger

Mary Buchinger is the author of three collections of poetry, einfühlung/in feeling (2018), Aerialist (2015) and Roomful of Sparrows (2008). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, Boston Globe, Gargoyle, Ibbetson Street, Nimrod, PANK, Salamander, Salt Hill, Slice Magazine, The Cortland Review, The Massachusetts Review, as well as in journals in Canada, England, Ireland, France, Sweden, The Netherlands, and elsewhere; she’s been invited to read at the Library of Congress, received awards including the Daniel Varoujan, Firman Houghton, Charter Oak Award for Best Historical poem, as well as multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net, and one of her poems was selected for permanent installation in Cambridge. Buchinger (Bodwell) served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador and holds a doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Boston University; she is Professor of English and Communication Studies at MCPHS University in Boston and lives in Cambridge with her family. Personal Website:

Vice President – Hilary Sallick

Hilary Sallick is a poet and teacher. She lives in Somerville where she teaches reading and writing to adult learners and where she and her husband raised their two children. Her poems have appeared in Third Wednesday, the Aurorean, Human Journal, Old Frog Pond Farm and Studio website, and elsewhere. She is deeply interested in nature, visual art, learning, and the search for form and connection through poetry.  A lifelong New Englander, Hilary grew up in Connecticut and earned her B.A. and M.Ed. from Harvard University.

Treasurer – Linda Haviland Conte

Linda Haviland Conte is the author of Slow As A Poem (Ibbetson Street Press, 2002). Her poems are included in the anthologies City of Poets: 18 Boston Voices and Out of the Blue Writers Unite. She won a Cambridge Poetry Award for Best Short Poem, and she received a Somerville Arts Council Grant to lead a poetry-writing workshop at the Somerville Public Library. She is a founding member and occasional editor of Ibbetson Street magazine. Linda works in the Somerville Public Schools (MA).

Programming Chairs – Marjorie Thomsen and Wendy Drexler

Marjorie Thomsen is the author of the poetry collection, Pretty Things Please (Turning Point, 2016). Her poems have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies. She’s the recipient of writing awards from the New England Poetry Club and the University of Iowa School of Social Work. She grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Richmond, Virginia. She attended Simmons College in Boston and earned a master’s in social work from Catholic University in Washington, DC. Currently, Marjorie is an instructor at Boston University’s School of Social Work and lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with her husband and three children.

Wendy Drexler’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Barrow Street, Common Ground, Ibbetson, Moon City Review, Nimrod, Off the Coast, Poetry East, Prairie Schooner, RHINO, Salamander, Solstice, The Hudson Review, The Mid-America Review, WBUR’s Cognoscenti, Valparaiso Poetry Review, versedaily.comand other journals, and in the anthologies Blood to Remember: American Poets on the Holocaust, and Burning Bright: Passager Celebrates 21 Years. Her chapbook Drive-Ins, Gas Stations, the Bright Motels (Pudding House, 2007) was nominated for a Pushcart Prize, and she has been twice-again nominated. Her first full-length collection, Western Motel was published by Turning Point in 2012. Her new collection, Before There Was Before  was published in 2017 by Iris Press. She has been a poetry editor for the Massachusetts Audubon Society and was assistant project director for Poetry in the Park, a community arts project in which 14 nature poems were applied directly to granite columns scattered throughout Edmands Park in Newton, MA ( Wendy lives in Belmont, MA.

Membership Chairs – Jennifer Markell and Ralph Pennel

Jennifer Markell’s first poetry collection, Samsara, was published in 2014 by Turning Point. Samsara was named a “Must Read Book of Poetry” for 2015 by the MassachusettsBook Awards. It was also a Finalist in the Next Generation Indie Book Awards, 2015. Before joining the New England Poetry Club Board in 2017, Markell won the Barbara Bradley and Firman Houghton awards from NEPC. Her work has appeared in publications nationally and internationally, including Ars MedicaConsequence, The Hawaii Pacific Review, RhinoTinderbox, The Women’s Review of Books and the anthologies Poetry From Sojourner and The Compassion Anthology. She has been invited to read her work at Boston City Hall and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston as well as on WERS radio at Emerson College. Markell works as a psychotherapist with special interest in therapeutic uses of writing.

Ralph Pennel is the author of A World Less Perfect for Dying In, published by Cervena Barva Press. Ralph’s writing has appeared in Literary Orphans, F(r)iction, Tarpaulin Sky, Elm Leaves Journal, Rain Taxi Review of Books and various other publications in the U.S. and abroad. He is a founding editor and the fiction editor of the online literary journal, Midway Journal. His work has been nominated for a Pushcart, and he was twice a finalist for Somerville Poet Laureate. Ralph is on the board of the New England Poetry Club, and he teaches poetry and writing at Bentley University, in Waltham, MA.

Social Media Editor – Blake Stewart

Blake Stewart studied creative writing at Reed College and is currently working towards her teacher licensure in Western Massachusetts. She is a poetry editor for The Nervous Breakdown and works with the Western Massachusetts Writing Project and the Juniper Institute. She spends most of her time with kids and currently lives in Massachusetts with her partner, dog, two cats, and tortoise.


Diana Der-Hovanessian, Former NEPC President

Diana Der-Hovanessian, accomplished poet, translator, and long-time President of the New England Poetry Club, passed away on March 1, 2018 at home.

Diana, a New England-born poet, was twice a Fulbright professor of American Poetry and was author of more than 25 books of poetry and translations. She recieved awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poetry Society of America, PEN/Columbia Translation Center, National Writers Union, Armenian Writers Union, Paterson Poetry Center, Prairie Schooner, American Scholar, and the Armenian Ministry of Culture. Her poems appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, Ararat, CSM, Poetry, Partisan, Prairie Schooner, Nation, etc., and in anthologies such as Against Forgetting, Women on War, On Prejudice, Finding Home, Leading Contemporary Poets, Orpheus and Company, Identity Lessons, Voices of Conscience, Two Worlds Walking, etc. Among the several plays written by DDH, two (The Secret of Survival and Growing Up Armenian) were produced and in 1984 and 1985 traveled to many college campuses in the 80s telling the Armenian story with poetry and music.  After 1989, The Secret of Survival with Michael Kermoyan and later with Vahan Khanzadian was performed for earthquake relief benefits. She worked as a visiting poet and guest lecturer on American poetry, Armenian poetry in translation, and the literature of human rights at various universities here and abroad.

Diana served as President of the New England Poetry Club for over three decades. She stated the mission of the Club in the following way: “To expand poetry. To bring people into the art. To show off the best. To be a forum for an exchange of ideas.” We strive to honor her vision of the NEPC!

Diana Der Hovanessian with Chris Bojalian at the Longfellow House-Washington’s Headquarters, Cambridge
Diana Der Hovanessian with Joyce Wilson


Diana Der-Hovanessian

Selection of poems by Diana Der-Hovanessian


Once Sona gave me an angel. Or I should say
a drawing of one sprinkling stars
like snow, inscribing it, “Diana scattering
light.”  Not mother, not mommy, not mom —
she used my name.  I taped it to the door
of her old room and there it stayed until

it came to life today.  Walking in Somerville
I saw a woman in an empty parking lot
scattering crumbs St. Francis style
to swarming pigeons at her feet,
Sona’s angel strewing stars, chatting as regent,
angel, queen, — bag lady no more, but mother
feeding her children, dispensing grace.



When your father dies, say the Irish,
you lose your umbrella against bad weather.
May his sun be your light, say the Armenians

When your father dies, say the Welsh,
you sink a foot deeper into the earth.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Canadians,
you run out of excuses.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the French,
you become your own father.
May you stand up in his light, say the Armenians.

When you father dies, say the Indians,
he comes back as the thunder.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Russians,
he takes your childhood with him.
May you inherit his light, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the English,
you join his club you vowed you wouldn’t.
May you inherit his sun, say the Armenians.

When your father dies, say the Armenians,
your sun shifts forever.
And you walk in his light.

SALT (published in AGNI)

Interview with Diana Der-Hovanessian by Doug Holder:



Victor Howes, Former NEPC President and Board Member

Victor Howes 2017, Arts at the Armory Photo Credit, Adnan Adam Onart

Victor E. Howes passed away on January 1, 2018, at the age of 94. All who knew Victor remember his kindness and generosity, his good humor and his erudition. He served many years on the Board of the New England Poetry Club, welcoming new members and facilitating writing workshops; he was active in the Club until he was 93. He regularly regaled us with stories about the Club’s founders, Robert Frost and Amy Lowell, and members Ann Sexton and Robert Lowell, among others—he was the dear memory keeper for the Club and is sorely missed.

Victor was an alumnus of Harvard University, Columbia University, and Yale.  As a Ph.D. in English/American literature, he was a professor at Northeastern University for 32 years until he retired in 1991.

Poetry was Victor’s life work. He wrote over 600 poems, most of which were printed in newspapers and magazines.


by Victor Howes
(from Thoughts after Spenser: Collected Light Verse, 2017)

I found a faded King, a King of Hearts,
Between the pages of a borrowed book,
A frayed, worn King, a played-out playing card,
Lost in the shuffle, hardly worth a look.
And with a flip, I flipped him on the face,
This player King, who by convention took
A player Queen, but fell to player Ace.
What glory now, without the servile pack,
The Jacks who followed suit, the cardboard crew
Who honored him? What hand had he been dealt
to live, outlive those other kings who knew
His rank, however keenly they had felt
His rivalry? They left before he came
To this sad pass. They knew it was a game.

Victor Howes 2017, Arts at the Armory Photo Credit, Adnan Adam Onart