Jennifer Blackburn, Administrative Assistant

Born and raised in the not-so-wild wilds of suburban Boston, Jennifer earned her BA in English from UMass-Amherst and her MFA in Poetry from the University of Arkansas. Twice selected for Best New Poets (2014 & 2016), her work appears in the Massachusetts Review, Indiana Review, The Common and Subtropics, among other magazines. “There’s something about all poetry that satisfies the puzzle player in me. Word play makes me shout and clap my hands. I love quiet poems, too—poems that are (on the surface) about nothing…poems that make readers see that what appeared to a dead end is actually a door to a larger, stranger world.”


Madden Aleia ’20J (Spring ’18 – Spring ’19)

Madden Aleia (’20J) is an American Studies major studying poetry and digital culture. In 2017 she wrote and assembled the chapbook 45 Minutes of Extreme Pain Followed by Extreme Gratitude. Her poetry conveys the neurotic intimacy in embarrassment, comfort in discomfort, and agency in suffering. Originally from Connecticut, she lives in Florence, MA where she makes tongue-in-cheek synth pop with her cat, Reilly, under the name Plants of the Bible.






Piera Varela ’19 (Spring ’18 – Spring ’19)

Piera Varela (’19) grew up in a cohousing community (read: hippie commune) in Durham, North Carolina. Perhaps in part due to this upbringing, they were a weird kid and, frankly, they have only gotten weirder. They have a deep love for the natural world; in another world they’re a herpetologist or a geologist or a hyena behavior specialist, but in this world they hated writing science class reports too much in high school so they’re an English major instead. They’re also interested in theatre and the visual arts—really, any way to tell a story. Piera considers themself a curator/magnet/prince/harbinger of the deeply strange, and they hope this shows in their art. Their poetry tends to blend the beautiful and fantastic with the grotesque. “It’s like one of those things where you stick your hand into a hole and guess what’s beyond, and sometimes it’s a beautiful poem and sometimes it’s a meat creature,” one of their friends once said of them. Another friend said, “Hey, you know how some people are too powerful to live and should be shot? You’re pushing it.” 

Look for their dirty, greasy, magical poetry in the October 2018 issue of Cosmonauts Avenue.


Ava Goga ’20 (Spring ’18)

Ava Goga (’20) is a biochemistry major from Reno, Nevada. Their work has been recognized by the YoungArts Foundation as well as the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, and they have been published in the Adroit Journal, Winter Tangerine Review, and The Claremont Review. A product of the West, Ava’s poems often incorporate physical landscapes and attempt to glimpse the haunted quality of all that open space.

“Like love, poetry grips me with its whole fist. A good poem knocks the air out of me, makes my jaw clench and my eyes water. Poetry is a method for living deeply, a tool for scraping joy.”

Lauren Mitchell ’19


Past Interns
Savannah N. Tilley ’20
Julia Falkner ’19
Janelle Tan ’18
Traci Williams ’18J
Madison Chafin ’17J
Elizabeth McCormack ’16
Kylie Power-Sullivan ’17
Sophia Deady ’16
Jamie Samdahl ’15
Hannah Young ’15
Katherine (Kitty) Dymek ’14
Janan Scott ’13
Liliana Farrell ’13
Ai-Lien Nguyen ’13
Zeina Dajani ’11
Melissa Davis ’10
Nora Mally ’10
Margaret Zaccardi ’10
Iemanja Brown ’08
Janna White ’07
Tyler Davis ’07
Julia Williams ’07
Sarah Coburn ’07
Collyn Hinchey ’05
Alexandra Goldschmidt ’04
Elizabeth Yang-Hellewell ’04
Batinah Amarita Rabia Dawdy ’03
Allison Hector ’03
Neda Maghbouleh ’04
Katherine Hagner ’02
Monica Dacumos ’02
Stephanie Faith Wiens ’01
Taymiyra Zaman ’01
Binta Jeffers ’00
Senait Kassahun ’01
Abe Louise Young ’99