Saltonstall Alums Celebrate
First Books After 40

Book covers for May 6 reading


Join Saltonstall alums Jessica Cuello (’15), Lisa Harris (’97), and Michael Morse (’16) for a lively panel discussion on publishing their first books after 40.



Each writer will offer a short reading followed by a moderated panel discussion and Q&A session. Books will also be available for purchase.


This program was inspired by a conversation between Michael Morse and fellow poet alumna Robin Beth Schaer (’12) which was published in The Rumpus last April entitled, First Books After Forty.


The panel is part of the Community Arts Partnership’s Spring Writes Literary Festival. We’re so pleased to be participating again this year, and we hope you can join us!


Jessica CuelloJessica Cuello is the author of Pricking, published by Tiger Bark Press in 2016 and Hunt, winner of The 2016 Washington Prize from The Word Works.


Jessica is also the author of the chapbooks My Father’s Bargain (2015), By Fire (2013), and Curie (2011).


She was the winner of The 2013 New Letters Poetry Prize, a winner of LUMINA’s poetry contest (selected by Carolyn Forché), the recipient of a 2015 Saltonstall Writing Fellowship and the recipient of the 2014 Decker Award from Hollins University for outstanding teaching.


Lisa HarrisLisa Harris, poet and novelist, MFA from Avery Graduate School of the Arts at Bard College, seeks truth and light in the convoluted stories of politics and darkness.


Her poems have been published in journals, such as descant, The Coe Review, Puerto del Sol, The Ithaca Anthology, SLAB, Vending Machine Press, The Penmen Review, as well as others.


Her novels, ‘Geechee Girls and Allegheny Dream, part of the Quest Trilogy, have received recognition from The Author’s Zone, Pittsburgh, and Bright Hill Press, Treadwell, NY. The third novel in this trilogy, The Raven’s Tale, is forthcoming this spring from Ravenna.


Her short stories have been published by ginosko, phoebe, Nimrod International, The Penmen, Zone 3, Crack the Spine, and The MacGuffin. She has been the recipient of Landsman Fellowships, Constance Saltonstall Residencies, and is a lifelong fellow at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts and Sciences. She lives and writes in the Finger Lakes of New York.


Michael MorseMichael Morse was born in New York City and raised in Roslyn, N.Y.  He has a B.A. in English from Oberlin College and an M.F.A. in Poetry from The University of Iowa.

His first book, Void and Compensation, was published by Canarium Books in April of 2015 and was a finalist for the 2016 Kate Tufts Discovery Prize.


Michael has published poems in various journals—including A Public Space, The American Poetry Review, jubilat, The Literary Review, Ploughshares, Spinning Jenny, and Tin House—and in the anthologies Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn; Starting Today: 100 Poems for Obama’s First 100 Days; and The Best American Poetry, 2012. A recipient of fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and residencies at the MacDowell Colony, Millay Colony,  UCross, Willapa Bay AiR, VCCA, Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo, he lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., and teaches at the Ethical Culture Fieldston School.


Michael also teaches poetry classes at the Iowa Summer Writing Festival and the Summer Program Workshops at the Fine Arts Work Center. He is also a poetry editor at The Literary Review.

Reading Time & Location

Date: Saturday, May 6, 2017

Time: 2:30 – 4:00 pm

Location: Buffalo Street Books in downtown Ithaca


The bookstore is located one block from the Commons in the DeWitt Mall (same building as the Moosewood Restaurant!) The main entrance is on Buffalo Street, next door to Greenstar Oasis, and across the street from DeWitt Park. (See map below)

A look back – 2016

JayDeshpande ('13)Last year (2016) we celebrated the publication of Love the Stranger (YesYes Books), the first full-length poetry collection by Saltonstall alum Jay Deshpande.


Jay wrote key sections of Love the Stranger during his 2013 residency at Saltonstall. The book was named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers.


A Kundiman fellow, Jay has held residencies at the Saltonstall Arts Colony and the Vermont Studio Center and was selected for the 2015 Scotti Merrill Memorial Award by Billy Collins.


Poems have appeared in Boston Review, Sixth Finch, the PEN Poetry Series, Poem-a-Day, Prelude, and elsewhere. He lives in Brooklyn.


Jay brought two emerging poets to Ithaca to read with him: Marina Blitshteyn and Sam Ross.


Marina BlitshteynMarina Blitshteyn came to the US as a refugee in 1991. She is the author of four published or forthcoming chapbooks: Russian for Lovers (Argos Books); Nothing Personal (Bone Bouquet Books); $kill$ (dancing girl press); and Sheet Music (Sunnyoutside Press). She works as an adjunct instructor of composition and literature.



Sam RossSam Ross’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The New Republic, Southern Humanities Review, Tuesday: An Art Project, Tin House, Guernica, Gulf Coast, and other journals.


He has received fellowship support from Columbia University, Robert Wilson’s Watermill Center, and the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference.


He is co-editor of Circumference: Poetry in Translation and poetry editor of Blunderbuss Magazine.

A look back – 2015

Stephen KuusistoIn 2015 we hosted a reading and book signing with author, poet, and disability advocate Stephen Kuusisto (’15) on Saturday, May 2.


Stephen Kuusisto is the author of the memoirs Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”) and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light, and Letters to Borges.


A graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and a Fulbright Scholar, he has taught at the University of Iowa, Hobart & William Smith Colleges, and The Ohio State University.


Steve currently directs the Renée Crown Honors Program at Syracuse University where he holds a professorship in the Center on Human Policy, Law, and Disability Studies. He is a frequent speaker on disability and diversity issues around the US and abroad. 

A look back – 2014

Our reading  in May, 2014 featured an all-local group of Saltonstall Fellows including essayist and poet Sarah Jefferis (’14), poet Fran Markover (’10), and fiction writer Bob Proehl (’13).


* Sarah Jefferis’ first poetry book Forgetting the Salt was published by Foothills Press in 2008. Recently she won the Bea Gonzalez poetry prize for her poem, “Motherhood.” She has been both a poetry fellow and fiction fellow at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Center in California. She is working on completing her first novel, entitled Running After Jesus, and a second book of poetry about how secrets destroy our teeth, and a collection of essays on grief.


* Fran Markover, a Pushcart Prize nominee with poems published in many journals. Her chapbook, History’s Trail, was published by Finishing Line Press.


* Bob Proehl has worked as a bookseller and programming director for Buffalo Street Books, a DJ, a record store owner, and a bartender. He was a 2012 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in Fiction and a 2013 resident at the Saltonstall Arts Colony. He has written for the 33⅓ book series and worked as a columnist and reviewer for the arts and culture site