create. support.

Nurturing the creative spirit since 2008


THE POETRY LOFT is non-profit collaborative of poets in Rhode Island and Southeast Massachusetts that provides ongoing and supportive workshops, readings, and creative fellowship. Created in 2008 on the belief that poetry enriches the lives of all our citizens, THE LOFT promotes and fosters the appreciation of writing and reading poetry, encouraging excellence and education in the poetic arts. Our vibrant community of writers nurtures and inspires each other in the development of craft.  

THE LOFT is supported by the enthusiastic volunteer efforts of poets who join together as partners in the writing life. Our common bond is poetry's greatest treasure - its transformative power in our lives, to change, to shape and uplift.

                                    Join our Workshops

Our free, ongoing workshops offer a welcoming and supportive environment for poets and writers to develop their craft and share new works in progress. Group size is limited to allow for effective feedback and discussion. To inquire about upcoming workshops in our Rhode Island location, please email us with a brief bio and sample of your writing at
We look forward to hearing from you!


Due to Covid, The Providence Book Festival has been canceled until further notice.

Boundless: The PROVIDENCE BOOK FESTIVAL, April 26-27, 2019, in Providence RI, connects acclaimed authors with readers in a stimulating and personal way. The Providence Book Festival, located at the Renaissance Hotel and various historic venues in Providence, includes a amazing series of author presentations, signings, workshops, and panel discussions on a range of topics with nationally acclaimed authors. This year's festival Honorary Chair is RI Poet Laureate Emeritus Lisa Starr. Keynote Speakers include novelists Richard Russo and Thomas Cobb. 
GAINS PROGRAM: "Great Authors In Schools" brings celebrated childrens' authors into schools for readings and presentations, free of charge. Children and Teen books are signed and distributed.                  To learn more, visit                                                                                           Presented by LiteraryArts RI, a 501 (c) non-profit. 


                                   Good News from our Members

James Cronin's full length manuscript, World of Shadows (Poetry Loft Press, 2018), is available for sale on Amazon. 

Diana Cole's chapbook, Songs by Heart, has been released for publication. Visit Iris Press to purchase.  

Ira Schaeffer won first place in the 2016 Galway Kinnell poetry contest sponsored by the Pawtucket Arts Panel for his poems "Basic Training" and "Walking the Steere Hill Preserve" judged by RI State Poet Laureate emerita Lisa Starr, James Crews and S. Tourjee. Ira'poem "Primavera" was nominated for a Pushcast prize by The Poetry Loft in 2014.  Ira won the 2014 Loft Chapbook Award  for Summer Drowning (Poetry Loft Press, 2015) judged by Jane Lunin Perel. 

Karen Haskell won second place for her poem "She's tough" in the 2015 Galway Kinnell poetry contest judged by RI State Poet Laureate Rick Benjamin, and Lisa Starr. Her chapbook, Sixty Years, was published by Finishing Line Press. 

Adele Bourne's book Tide Roaring In has been published by Kelsay Books, 2016. Available on Amazon.

Judy Gamble's ekphrastic poetry has appeared in the Poetry and Art book published by the Wickford Art Association. 

Sandra Moran's chapbook Caught in the Open, a finalist for the LOFT Chapbook Award, was published by the Poetry Loft Press, 2016. Caught in the Open is elegant and edgy, and Moran a master of poetic slippage as she explores the lives of the forgotten and disenfranschised, the violated and the vulnerable." ~Catherine Imbriglio, Brown University instructor.

Beatrice Lazarus read excerpts from her NE poetry and art anthology, Lay Bare the Canvas, at the Longfellow House, Boston, for the New England Poetry Club. 

s and Players" a reading and book launch sponsored by The Poetry Loft to celebrate the publication of chapbooks by Karen Haskell (Sixty Years, Finishing Line Press) and Sandra Moran (Caught in the Open, Poetry Loft Press) on June 25, 2016, at the William Hall Library, Cranston RI. Also featuring a staged reading of Analgesia, (Ars Medica, University of Toronto Press) a one act play by James Celenza, about a man's confrontation with his doctor, his own fate, and the meaning of healing.

 From our Archives                                                                                         

Please Join Us!    

Book Launch Party for Summer Drowning (The Poetry Loft Press, 2015) by Ira Schaeffer, with Guest Poet Jane Lunin Perel will be held on Saturday, June 27, at 3PM at the William Hall Library, Cranston, RI. Professor Emerita Jane Lunin Perel will also read from her collection Red Radio Heart. Refreshments and snacks will be served. Book signings following the reading.

Professor Emerita Lunin Perel notes that Summer Drowning  "has a deeply lyrical quality with alluring tones and imagery. . . The chapbook is aesthetically complex and compelling."

Admission is free.  A much needed jar of peanut butter or a donation to the RI Community Food Bank will be appreciated!

Jane Lunin Perel
 served as Judge for the 2014 Loft Chapbook Award. Ms. Perel is Professor Emerita of English, Creative Writing in Poetry, and Women's Studies at Providence College. 

To purchase Summer Drowning, please email


                     Barrington Public Library "Meet the Authors"  Reading                     


                  Featuring anthology poets and images of museum artwork

                                                        April 23, 2015 at 7PM

Edited by Beatrice Lazarus with introduction by B.K. Fischer

                       "Luminous, scintillating, vibrating. An amazing feast." ~ Lyn Lifshin

                       Anthology includes The Loft Prize for Poetry winners and finalists 

                                                          Denise Duhamel, Judge
                           Available at Brown University Bookstore and
                                                      For more info, visit 


the Winner of the
                                2014 LOFT Chapbook Award

The Poetry Loft is thrilled to announce that Jane Lunin Perel has selected Summer Drowning 
by Ira Schaeffer of Warwick, RI, for the 2014 LOFT Chapbook Award. 

Finalists of the 2014 Loft Chapbook Award are:

Deborah Barchi -- 
The Song of Toads
James Celenza -- Complications Due to Unintentional Suicides
Ellen McCluskey --
Symphony in Fade
Sandra Moran --
Thoughts Form a Ladder Woven of Nights
Julia Simpson --
Lost Children of the Prairie

Sandra Moran's chapbook Thoughts Form a Ladder Woven of Nights was also selected for publication by The Poetry Loft. 


Hope Street Book Launch ... Thank You!                                                                    
The Poetry Loft would like to thank everyone who attended and read at the (standing room only!) Hope Street book launch party at Symposium Books! What a fabulous and inspiring afternoon of poetry and friends! Special thanks to our Guest Poet Heather Sullivan for her rich and superbly crafted poems that touched the hearts of all there! Warm Bravos to the Hope Street contributors who enchanted us with selections from their book and to our gracious host Ann Marie, Symposium Books owner. Much gratitude goes to Joan Fishbein and the kindness of many others for their generous donations! Thank you all for a wonderful afternoon in more ways than you know!
Join us at Symposium Books for a Book Launch Reading and Reception to celebrate the contributors of
Hope Street: Poems on Love and Loss, an anthology of Loft poets published by Main Street Rag, 2014. 

Meet the poets and share your own poems on love and loss at the Open Mic following the reading. Reception with pastries, snacks, and refreshments.            
                                        Hope Street Reading and Reception 
                                            Guest Poet: Heather Sullivan

                                          Sunday, September 21, at 3 PM 
                                                       Symposium Books, East Greenwich



There are urgent messages in these powerful and moving poems by writers of The Poetry Loft.  A harsh beauty and truthfulness drive these uniquely compelling verses that navigate realms of loss with grace, precision and insight.       

Meet the Authors: 
Nancy E. Brown • James Cronin •  Michael Crowley • Diane Dolphin • Joan Fishbein •    Karen Haskell  Maureen Lapre  • Beatrice Lazarus • Sandra Moran

fiery and numbing by turns… Hope Street’s poems bring truth to tragedy.” 
Laura Cherry, author of Haunts

"... in these superbly crafted poems is the weight of modern life's disappointments and the lasting shine of possibilities."      
Lori Desrosiers, author of The Philosopher's Daughter


                       To introduce readers to new titles from local and national authors,
                                   The LOFT is pleased to announce our Book Give-Away               
                              Hope Street: Nine New England Poets on Love and Loss


Published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company 

                    Entries for the FREE BOOK drawing run from August 1 - September 13. 

                                                                    Entry is free.

                                                  Drawing will be held on Sept. 14.  

                                              Winners will receive free signed copies.      

                             To Enter -- Email your name to:
                              For more information about Hope Street, please visit:


Hope Street: Nine New England Poets on Love and Loss 

                                                    Edited by Beatrice Lazarus

Congratulations!  Nine LOFT poets from RI and MA have been published in Hope Street, poems on love and loss, from Main Street Rag Publishing Company (June 2014).  

"... in these superbly crafted poems is the weight of modern life's disappointments and the lasting shine of possibilities."      
                                           --Lori Desrosiers, author of The Philosopher's Daughter

Price: $11   ISBN: 1-59948-476-5
To read samples and order this poignant and evocative collection, visit:


                                            Loft Prize for Poetry                                                


                                         Poetry Judge: Denise Duhamel

                            2013 Loft Prize for Poetry: $1000 and publication

                  Sponsored by The Poetry Loft and the Providence Public Library


We extend our Congratulations to Philip E. Burnham, Jr. of Cambridge, Massachusetts, winner of the 2013 Loft Prize for Poetry for his poem " New York Blizzard."

Denise Duhamel, final judge, comments: "That a poet could arrest the frenetic swish and angles of Frederick Childe Hassam's "A New York Blizzard" is remarkable--that Philip E. Burnham, Jr. could do so in a sonnet is astonishing! ...

Philip E. Burnham, Jr. was awarded  the $1000 prize and his poem will be published in Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poetry and Art (September, 2014). 

Second Place: Sara D. Rivera for her poem "Winnowing."

Third Place: Calvin Olsen for his poem "Cast."

Winners and finalists of the Loft Prize for Poetry contest read their poems at the Providence Poetry and Art Gala held in the Grand Hall of the Providence Public Library, June 2013.

Special Thanks to our Guest Poets from throughout New England for attending and reading their ekphrastic poems from Lay Bare the Canvas.  A truly amazing and memorable evening at the LOFT Poetry and Art Gala!


Much heartfelt gratitude goes to our esteemed and generous Judge Denise Duhamel who selected the winning poems of the 2013 Loft Prize for Poetry. We are truly humbled and honored. 

The winning poems have been published in Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poets on Artavailable at bookstores and libraries, as well as Amazon. 



                  New England Poetry and Art Gala         
                            Providence Public Library, Grand Hall
                                             June 6, 5-9 PM, 2013

                                                   An amazing evening of Poetry, Art, and Music!

Join us for a celebration of  Lay Bare the Canvas: New England Poetry and Art at the historic Providence Public Library, Grand Hall, Providence, RI. Enjoy a light dinner buffet, music, artwork displays and refreshments with our Special Guest Poets and Loft Prize finalists.




            The Loft Anthology: 2012 Poetry Awards
was selected as a Finalist 
                               for the ForeWord Book of the Year Award. 

he 2012 Loft Anthology
                         Poetry Reading/Reception
                                       Brown University Bookstore
                                           October 10, 6 PM

                                   Guest Poets: Judges Rick Benjamin, RI Poet Laureate 
                                    and Lisa Starr, RI Poet Laureate Emeritus

                                                         ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist

The Loft Anthology 2012: Poetry Awards showcases Winners and Finalists of the 2012 "Write Across Rhode Island" Poetry Challenge

Judges: Lisa Starr, RI Poet Laureate Emeritus, and Rick Benjamin, RI Poet Laureate, teacher at Brown and RISD.  A treasure-trove of

All proceeds donated to the RI Community Food Bank.

Available at the following bookstores in Providence, RI: 
Brown University Bookstore
Books on the Square
Cellar Stories Books
Symposium Books

Our heartfelt thanks to those who generously donated to the RI Community Food Bank by purchasing The Loft Anthology 2012. 


                                  The Poetry Loft in partnership

                                  with RI Schools and Libraries presents:

         Write Across Rhode Island 2012            
               "Poetry Challenge"                         

                           Lisa Starr, Poet Laureate of RI and Poetry Judge

                                                Submission Deadline: April 30, 2012

WARI is a statewide poetry writing and reading event for all ages and skill levels.  
The Poetry Challenge is a creative, fun, stimulating and rewarding approach to
developing skills in poetry
writing, reading, and understanding.  Participants range from students to teachers, emerging to established writers, all coming together to share, teach, grow and discover the power and value of poetry in their daily lives. 

How: The goal is to write an original poem from a statewide prompt written by a nationally acclaimed writer. During the month of April, share it with others for feedback or fun and submit it to the WARI Poetry Challenge for a chance to become a Finalist or Winner in our annual Statewide contest.  

Look for the WARI poem and prompt posted in libraries, schools, bookstores and various locations in during the month of April.  Get ready to write, revise, read, polish and submit your poem!  Winning and Finalist entries will be displayed for public viewing in participating Libraries and Schools, and on our website.   



Special Thanks to the 2011 Write Across Rhode Island Poetry Judge Cathleen Calbert,   Professor of English at Rhode Island College.

                                             Write Across Rhode Island 2011

                                Poetry Reading and Reception
                                                      Saturday, April 30, 1 PM   

                                                   Tom Chandler  RI Poet Laureate Emeritus
                                                            Lisa Starr  RI Poet Laureate
                                                                  Darcie Dennigan

                                                                     followed by Guest Participants
reading their WARI poems:

                            Kara Provost, Joan Fishbein, Jim Cronin, Andrew Browder, Maureen Lapre, 
                              Julia Simpson, John Kotula, Heather Sullivan, Diane Dolphin, Kim Baker

                                             A memorable and inspiring afternoon of poetry! 





Authors On Art   at the URI Providence Feinstein Gallery
                                          October, 2008
Pordenone, oil on linen, Sandra Desano Pezzullo

            Poems and Paintings
"looking at Italy through another eye." 
To read
Barbara Schweitzer's compelling sonnet and other art-inspired poems visit Events

The Poetry Loft partnered with URI Providence F
einstein Gallery to present "Authors on Art", a multi-genre event for the Gallery's Abbondanza: Italian Heritage exhibit.

Special Guest Authors Ann Hood, Robert Leuci, and Christine Palamidessi joined eight poets from The Poetry Loft to read personal narratives, prose and dazzling new poems inspired by the exhibit's Italian artwork.

Feel free to email your questions, comments and poetry news at 

NOTE: These Copyrighted images and poems are not for distribution or reprinting without the written permission of the authors, artists and publisher

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