MER 22 Launch Reading


MER vol. 22 Ages/Stages Issue Launch Reading

Sunday June 9th, 6 PM EDT

Watch the reading on our @merliterary YouTube channel
Get the print issue here
Get the PDF issue here

Hosted by Cindy Veach, Jennifer Martelli, and Marjorie Tesser

Readers: Allison Blevins, Anne Graue, Barbara Henning, Cheliss Thayer, Christine Jones, Heather Sweeney, Heidi Seaborn, Hilary King, Juan Pablo Mobili, Kali Lightfoot, Karla Daly, Laurel Benjamin, Lois Roma-Deeley, Lydia Gwyn, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, Megan Merchant, Meghan Miraglia, Natalie Solmer, Paulette Guerin, Robin Dellabough, Sarah Browning, Susan Michele Coronel, Tina Barry



Reader Bios

Allison Blevins is the queer disabled author of Where Will We Live if the House Burns Down (Persea Books, forthcoming), winner of the 2023 Lexi Rudnitsky Editor’s Choice Award, and three other full length collections. She is also the author of five chapbooks. Allison is the Founder and Director of Small Harbor Publishing and the Executive Editor at the museum of americana. She lives in Minnesota with her spouse and three children.

Anne Graue (she/her) is the author of Full and Plum-Colored Velvet, (Woodley Press) and Fig Tree in Winter (Dancing Girl Press). Her work appears in Gargoyle, Verse Daily, Feral: A Journal of Poetry and Art, SWWIM Every Day, EcoTheo Review, and in The Book of Donuts (Terrapin Books) and Coffee Poems (World Enough Writers). She is a poetry editor for The Westchester Review and for The Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry.

Barbara Henning is the author of five novels and eight collections of poetry, most recently a hybrid biography of her mother’s life, Ferne, a Detroit Story (2023 Library of Michigan Notable Book; Spuyten Duyvil Press); Poets on the Road (with Maureen Owen, City Point Press, 2023); a novel, Just Like That (SD 2018); and a poetry collection, Digigram (United Artist Books, 2020). She has taught for Naropa University and Long Island University where she is Professor Emerita. Born in Detroit, she presently lives in Brooklyn. Readings are on Penn Sound.

Cheliss Thayer graduated with an MFA from Oregon State University-Cascades. A trained fiction writer turned non-fiction, her work has been published in the defunct Utterance Journal, and There We Grew: Vol 2, 3 & 4, and forthcoming from West Trade Review. She lives in Corvallis, OR with her three baby bears and husband.

Christine Jones lives in Orleans, MA and is the author of Now Calls Me Daughter (Nixes Mate Review, 2022) and Girl Without a Shirt (Finishing Line Press, 2020), also co-editor of the anthology, Voices Amidst the Virus: Poets Respond to the Pandemic (Lily Poetry Review Books, 2020). She is the founder/editor-in-chief of Poems2go and associate editor of Lily Poetry Review. Her poetry can be found in numerous journals and anthologies in print and online.

Heather Sweeney writes personal essays and creative nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Insider, Healthline, Five Minutes and elsewhere. She lives in Virginia with her family where she’s working on a memoir about life as a military spouse and divorce.

Heidi Seaborn is the winner of the 2022 Jeffrey E. Smith Editor’s Prize in Poetry. She is the author of three award-winning books/chapbooks of poetry: An Insomniac’s Slumber Party with Marilyn Monroe, Give a Girl Chaos, and Bite Marks. Recent work in Blackbird, Beloit, Brevity, Copper Nickel, diode, Financial Times of London, Penn Review, Pleiades, Poetry Northwest, The Slowdown and elsewhere. Heidi holds an MFA from NYU and is Executive Editor of The Adroit Journal.

Hilary King’s poems have appeared or will appear in Ploughshares, SWWIM, Salamander, TAB, DMQ Review, Rogue Agent, Fourth River, Freshwater Review, and other publications. Originally from the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia, she now lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family and animals. She is the author of the book of poems, The Maid’s Car, and an MFA student at San Jose State University.

Juan Pablo Mobili was born in Buenos Aires. His poems appeared in The American Journal of Poetry, Hanging Loose Press, Louisville Review, among others, as well as publications in Europe, Asia and Australia. His work has received multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize, and his chapbook, Contraband, was published in 2022. Most recently, he has been the Guest Editor for The Banyan Review’s Spring 2023 issue.

Kali Lightfoot’s poems and reviews have appeared in journals and anthologies including Lavender Review, Poetry South, and Gyroscope. Her work was nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, and once for Best of the Net. Her collection, Pelted by Flowers, published by CavanKerry Press was chosen a Must Read by the Massachusetts Book Awards, and Best Dressed on the Wardrobe blog of Sundress Publications. Kali earned an MFA in Writing at Vermont College of Fine Arts.

Karla Daly lives, writes, and edits in Washington, DC. Her poems appear in SWWIM, Rust + Moth, Unbroken Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, The Sunlight Press, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of a DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Fellowship, a co-winner of The Phillips Collection’s Lupertz Poetry Challenge, and a midlife graduate of American University’s MFA Creative Writing program.

Laurel Benjamin invented a secret language with her brother. She has work published or forthcoming in Lily Poetry Review, Pirene’s Fountain Review, The Shore, Sheila-Na-Gig, Sky Island Journal. Affiliated with the Bay Area Women’s Poetry Salon and Curator of Ekphrastic Writers, she is a reader for Common Ground Review and has featured in the Lily Poetry Salon.

Lois Roma-Deeley’s recent poetry collection is Like Water in the Palm of My Hand. Her previous books include The Short List of Certainties, winner of the Jacopone da Todi Book Prize; High Notes–a Paterson Poetry Prize finalist; northSight; Rules of Hunger. She’s published poetry in numerous anthologies and journals, including Academy of American Poets’ Poem-a-Day Series, Post Road, Spillway, and many more. She’s Associate Poetry Editor of Presence journal. Roma-Deeley is Poet Laureate, Scottsdale, Arizona.

Lydia Gwyn is the author of the flash fiction collections: You’ll Never Find Another (2021, Matter Press) and Tiny Doors (2018, Another New Calligraphy). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in F(r)iction, Midway Journal, Anti-Heroin Chic, The Florida Review, New World Writing Quarterly, and others. She lives with her family in East Tennessee and works as an instruction librarian at East Tennessee State University.

Maria Mazziotti Gillan is the author of twenty-four books. Her latest poetry collection is When the Stars Were Still Visible (2021). She received the American Book Award for the collection All That Lies Between Us. She is the founder and executive director of the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College in Paterson, New Jersey and editor of the Paterson Literary Review. She is Professor Emerita of English and creative writing at Binghamton University-SUNY.

Megan Merchant (she/her) is the owner of the editing, manuscript consultation, and mentoring business Shiversong and the author of four full-length collections. The latest, Before the Fevered Snow, was released at the start of the pandemic (Stillhouse Press). She is the editor of Pirene’s Fountain. You can find her at

Meghan Miraglia is a poet, editor, educator and student. Work/house, her debut chapbook printed in-house at Salem State University, explores the narratives of pauper inmates living in Ireland around the time of the Great Famine. Her work appears in The Santa Clara Review, The Rockvale Review, The Broadkill Review, and others. IG: @meghan.gets.lit. Blog:

Natalie Solmer was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, and now lives in Indianapolis, where she is a professor of English at Ivy Tech Community College. She is also the founder and editor in chief of The Indianapolis Review. Her poetry has appeared in Rustbelt publishing’s Indianapolis Anthology, The Little Eagle Creek Anthology, and in journals such as Ecotheo Review, Notre Dame Review, Colorado Review, The Literary Review, Pleiades, and Puerto Del Sol.

Paulette Guerin lives in Arkansas and teaches writing, literature, and film. Her poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and has appeared in Best New Poets, epiphany, Contemporary Verse 2, and Carve Magazine. A suite of 25 poems appears in the anthology Wild Muse: Ozarks Nature Poetry. She is the author of Wading Through Lethe and the chapbook Polishing Silver.  Her website is

Robin Dellabough is a poet and editor with a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. Her first collection, Double Helix, was published in 2022. Published poems in Blue Unicorn, Fifth Estate, Maryland Poetry Review, Negative Capability, Stoneboat, Tiny Spoon, and more. She is currently the Projects Director for Publishers Marketplace/Publishers Lunch.

Sally Rosen Kindred’s third poetry collection is Where the Wolf, winner of the 2020 Diode Book Prize and the Jacar Press 2021 Julie Suk Award. Her poems have appeared in journals including The Gettysburg Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Kenyon Review Online.

Sarah Browning is the author of Killing Summer and Whiskey in the Garden of Eden. Co-founder and past Executive Director of Split This Rock, the poetry and social justice organization, she currently teaches with Writers in Progress. Browning received the Lillian E. Smith Award and fellowships from DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, VCCA, Yaddo, and Mesa Refuge. She holds an MFA in poetry and creative nonfiction from Rutgers Camden and lives in Philadelphia.

Susan Michele Coronel lives in New York City. She received two Pushcart nominations and won this year’s Massachusetts Poetry Festival First Poem Contest.  Her poems have appeared in publications including Spillway 29, Plainsongs, Redivider, One Art, Tab Journal, and Fourteen Hills. In 2021 two of her poems were finalists for the Beacon Street Poetry Prize and the Millennium Writing Awards. In the same year, her full-length manuscript was a finalist for Harbor Editions’ Laureate Prize.

 Tina Barry lives and writes in High Falls, NY. She is the mother of one daughter and grandmother to two girls. Her writing has appeared in Rattle, Verse Daily, A-Minor, The Best Small Fictions 2020 (spotlighted story) and 2016 and elsewhere. Tina is a teaching artist at The Poetry Barn and


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