The Gleason Public Library is holding its first Poetry Festival, during which a panel of three prominent, local poets will discuss the inner workings of the writing life and their recent publications. The hybrid event will take place in the Hollis Room with refreshments on Saturday, May 13th at 2pm – please click here to RSVP.

The participating poets are Michael Ansara, Anna V. Q. Ross, and Carla Schwartz.

Panelist Bios:

Michael Ansara: Michael Ansara’s work has been published in Arrowsmith, The Broken Plate, Brushfire, Cognoscenti, Courtship of Winds, El Portal Journal, Ellipsis, Euphony Journal, Evening Street Review, Glint Literary Journal, Mid-American Review, Midwest Quarterly, Muddy River Poetry Review, OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters, Perceptions Magazine, Pine Hills Review, Ponder Review, Salamander, Steam Ticket, Web del Sol, Ibbetson Street, Passager Books, Pennsylvania English, The Phoenix, Poetry Porch, Potomac Review, Solstice, Visitant Lit,, Whimperbang, and Wrath Bearing Tree. His first book, What Remains, was published in 2022 by Kelsay Books. He spent many years as an organizer and activist, having served as a regional organizer for Students for a Democratic Society, 10 years organizing against the war in Vietnam and then many years as a community organizer. He was the executive director of Massachusetts Fair Share. He is the cofounder of MassPoetry ( and serves on the boards of Tupelo Press, the Redress Movement and Together We Elect. He lives in Carlisle with his wife Barney Arnold and dotes on their three children and six grandchildren.

Anna V. Q. Ross: Anna V. Q. Ross’s most recent book, Flutter, Kick, won the 2020 Benjamin Saltman Poetry Award and was published by Red Hen Press in November, 2022.

Her previous collections include If a Storm (Anhinga Press, winner of the Robert Dana-Anhinga Prize for Poetry); Figuring (Bull City Press); and Hawk Weather (winner the New Women’s Voices Prize from Finishing Line Press and the Jean Pedrick Chapbook Award from the New England Poetry Society).

A recipient of fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Fulbright Foundation, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and Vermont Studio Center, her recent work appears in Kenyon Review, Harvard Review, The Nation, The Missouri Review, Poetry Northwest, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. She is poetry editor for Salamander Magazine and teaches at Tufts University and through the Emerson Prison Initiative. Anna lives with her family in Dorchester, where she runs the poetry and music series Unearthed Song & Poetry and raises chickens.

Carla Schwartz: Filmmaker and photographer Carla Schwartz’s poems have been widely published, including in The Practicing Poet (Diane Lockward, Ed) and in her collections “Signs of Marriage” and “Intimacy with the Wind.” Her CB99videos youtube channel has 2,400,000+ views. Learn more at, or or find her on Twitter (, YouTube (, or Instagram ( Recent publications and acceptances include The Ear, Channel, California Quarterly, Cutthroat, The Poet’s Touchstone, Ibbetson Street, Inquisitive Eater, Paterson Literary Review, Triggerfish Critical Review, The MacGuffin, Verse-Virtual Online, and Leon. Carla Schwartz is a 2023 recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant.

This panel is a fresh way to relaunch the library’s annual poetry contest, which will be hosted in celebration of National Poetry Month this April. This year’s theme is “Waking Up.” All ages are welcome. Winners will be selected for the following age groups: ages 8 and younger, ages 9-12, ages 13-17, and ages 18+.

First place winners will receive a $100 cash prize, have their poems printed in the Carlisle Mosquito, and will read their poems (or have their poems read) at the Poetry Festival.

Contest Rules: Contestants may submit one original, unpublished poem. Poems may not exceed 45 lines in length (including title) and must fit on a single 8.5”x11” page. Poems should address the prompt “Waking Up.” in some way. All entries must include a cover sheet with the contestant’s name, age group, and contact information; to facilitate blind judging, names and contact information should not appear on the poem.

Anonymous entries and collaborations are not eligible. Prizes will be issued at the judges’ discretion. Entries will be accepted by email to or in-person at the library. All entries must be received by 12 p.m. on Monday, May 1st (***DEADLINE EXTENDED***)

Poetry Contest Judging Panel

Patti Russo is a certified poetry therapist and the creator of Partners in Rhyme, an intergenerational poetry program offered at high schools and youth centers in the greater Boston area. She has facilitated workshops at CCHS and the Carlisle COA for more than 15 years.

Kaitlin Waterson

Kaitlin Waterson is one of the Gleason library trustees. She and her family have lived in Carlisle since 2016 and are avid readers who love the library. Kaitlin does Graduate Admissions for UMass Lowell. In addition to the library she is active in the Carlisle School PTO and Concord-Carlisle Community Chest. This is her first time as a poetry competition judge and she looks forward to reading your submissions!

Mary Zoll is a published poet, has taken innumerable poetry workshops and classes, has taught poetry workshops and poetry-appreciation classes for many years, won the first annual Gleason Poetry Contest in the adult category, and has judged every Gleason Poetry Contest since. 

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Carlisle Cultural Council and the Friends of the Gleason Public Library.

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