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Workshops and Craft Sessions are led by top MFA candidates from the renowned University of Massachusetts MFA Program for Poets and Writers who design curricula especially for the Institute setting.

Each workshop is assigned a Program Assistant (PA)—an advanced UMass undergraduate studying the literary arts.

Studio courses are facilitated by local and regional artists and experienced teachers at the forefront of their fields.

Young writers additionally have the opportunity to interact with the acclaimed faculty and writers in residence of the concurrent Juniper Institute for adults through Q&A sessions and evening readings.

Zoe taught us so much about writing and the world. I learned to violate expectations and I have come away hungry to read more widely. It was an eye-opening experience.

—JIYW Participant

The faculty support was crucial to my experience—it led me to feel respected as an artist and comfortable to express myself.

—JIYW Participant


COLLEEN LOUISE BARRY is the author of two chapbooks, The Glidden Poems (dancing girl 2015, forthcoming) and Sunburn / Freezer Burn (smoking glue gun 2014). Her work appears in H_NGM_N, The Pinch, Tenderloin, Interrupture, Coconut (forthcoming) and other places. She is a third year poet in the MFA program at UMass Amherst and the Managing Editor of Slope Editions. Her weekly comic, The Nervous System, can be found every Monday at Route 9 Literary Magazine.

KATE BERSON is currently pursuing an MFA in fiction writing at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her stories have been published in Monkeybicycle, Green Mountains Review, The Rumblr, Route Nine, Big Big Wednesday, and other journals. She worked for a year as a staff artist at the Vermont Studio Center and attended the Juniper Institute at UMass Amherst in 2012. She graduated with a BA in English and Latin American Studies from Tufts University, and has worked for years with immigrant and refugee focused non-profit organizations.

JANE DYKEMA grew up in Bay City, Michigan and is now a 3rd year in UMass's MFA program, in Fiction. Between undergrad and grad school, Jane worked at an insect lab, a bookstore, and an AIDS service organization. Two of her favorite writers are Sandra Cisneros and Carson McCullers. She can't wait to work with everyone this summer!

DAVID FEINSTEIN’S poems have appeared in Forklift, Ohio, The Atlas Review, Ilk Journal, smoking glue gun, and Tin House. He is the author of the chapbook Woods Porn: The Adventures of Little Walter (No Dear / Small Anchor Press, 2014). He currently lives in Amherst, MA where he teaches writing and is a member of the Connecticut River Valley Poets Theatre.

CHRISTOPHER WILLIAM LOTT is a fiction writer / musician / visual artist / amateur clown, birthed in New Orleans. He is currently in the MFA program at UMass Amherst, where he teaches college & creative writing. His poetry and fiction have been published in Smoking Glue Gun, Bayou Magazine, Plain China, Route Nine, and Delta Journal.

EMILY PETTIT is the author of Goat in the Snow. She is an editor for Factory Hollow Press and jubilat. She teaches at Elms College and Flying Object.


TED POWERS attends the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers. He is the author of Please Light Up (forthcoming from Slope Editions, 2015). He is the Assistant Editor of jubilat. This is his third summer teaching at the Juniper Institute for Young Writers.

STEVEN TAGLE is a writer and filmmaker from Los Angeles, CA. He has been published in Spork and The Rumpus, and his documentaries have aired on Current TV. The recipient of a 2013 Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans, he currently studies fiction writing in the University of Massachusetts Amherst MFA Program for Poets and Writers.

HALEY RENE THOMPSON is a poet, editor for Slope Editions, and MFA candidate at UMass Amherst. Her poems can be found in notnostrums, iO: A Journal of New American Poetry, Everyday Genius, Smoking Glue Gun, and Interrupture. Her chapbook, Coos & Ons is forthcoming from Dikembe Press.


NICOLE ERHARDT is a poet, visual artist, and critical theorist. She studies contemporary poetry along with feminist and political theory as an MA/PhD student at UMass Amherst. She is an Assistant Director and former PA at Juniper. She has a chapbook called Basement Poems (jubilat 2013).

patrick gaughan is a poet, performer, and critic. Find recent writing in Poor Claudia, Blunderbuss, Entropy, and HowlRound. He’s a member of the Connecticut River Valley Poets’ Theater (CRVPT), and writer/director of the play FAST FIVE. He interviews artists and writers for the column 'Flying Object Presents' in The Conversant, & curates a field recording archive called The Tape Roll. You can find him on twitter and tumblr.

LISA HERSEY is the owner, binder and printer at Antler Editions, a small editions book bindery and print shop. Her studio is part of Brick Coworkshop, a collaborative work environment that is home to artists, engineers, designers, and fabricators in Holyoke, MA. She is also currently working as a studio assistant at Shelter Bookworks with artist Amy Borezo, where she assists in bookbinding and letterpress printing. Hersey has her BFA with a concentration in Book Arts from Montserrat College of Art.

JORGE J. RODRlQUEZ is a theater teacher at PVPA Charter Public School, where he teaches courses in acting, playwriting and dramatic criticism. At PVPA, he has directed several productions, including Strange Love in Outer Space, Café le Monde, and the upcoming Big Love. His theater work has previously been seen at the Yale Repertory Theater, Long Wharf Theater and New York International Fringe Festival. He holds a B.A. in English and Theater Arts from Haverford College, and an M.F.A and D.F.A in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism from Yale University School of Drama.

GRETA SVALBERG is a painter who lives and works in Northampton, Massachusetts. A member of the performance group/psych band Sunburned Hand of the Man, and a curator at Rozz-Tox Art, she also teaches visual art. She received her MFA in painting and drawing from UCLA and her BFA from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

DONALD VINCENT is a poet, painter, and lover of all things art. He teaches in the Writing, Literature, and Publishing Department at Emerson College. After completing his MFA in Poetry from Emerson, he created Mr. Hip Presents, a reading series that brings together established and emerging poets, spoken word artists with live jazz music. If not in a classroom or teashop, Mr. Hip can be found scouring the hashtags of Instagram and Twitter.

Program Assistants

LANEISHA BROWN: Hi! I’m currently in my third year at UMass Amherst as a Comparative Literature major and Women’s and Gender Studies Minor. I also have been studying Arabic for two years. I have studied Creative Writing and Visual Arts. My favorite writers currently are Zadie Smith (White Teeth and Beloved) and Ursula Vernon (Digger). I watch a lot of cartoons and have a bike named Bonita.

PAUL FLAMBURIS: Hey! I’m studying English here at UMass, and my ultimate dream is to one day write for National Geographic. When I’m not writing, I like watching 80s movies on VHS and reading. My favorite book is House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski, and my favorite dinosaur is all of them except triceratops.

NATHAN FRONTIERO is a junior studying English, Creative Writing, and Film. He wants to write books, make movies, and compose, but mostly just hopes that he ends up happy. An avid film critic, he is looking forward to having discussions about the bridge between page and screen. You can find him reading Kurt Vonnegut and Italo Calvino, scribbling in a leather pad, or performing comedy with Sketch 22.

CAITLYN (OR CAIT!) GRIFFIN will be in her senior year at UMass Amherst this fall. She is a double major in Theatre and English, with a Concentration in Creative Writingand a minor in Sociology. Her favorite writing varies from day to day, be it prose-poetry one rainy night, or narrative non-fiction the next sunny day. She is most recently excited by work of Sylvia Plath and the timeless stories of Greek and Roman Mythology, and is thrilled to return to Juniper for her second consecutive summer!

SHANNON HORTE has studied English and Sociology at UMass. She loves reading Joshua Ferris, Chuck Klosterman, and Julia Alvarez. At some point, she wishes to open a non-profit business that makes the arts accessible to all. Though she has mainly written non-fiction, she recently developed a love for writing fiction!

DIVYA KIRTI is majoring in English, German, and Classics. She loves to read, write, and translate Latin. Her favorite authors are Haruki Murakami, Margaret Atwood, Sherman Alexie, and Virginia Woolf. Her non-academic hobbies include smiling, making flower crowns, and imitating dogs.

THALIA PENA: I'm a senior studying Communications and English. Picking a favorite writer would be entirely too hard. I like to think that whoever I'm reading at any moment is my favorite, because I'm getting lost in the world they created. One of my favorite lines in literature comes from Lolita written by Vladimir Nabokov and it is: “I shall be dumped where the weed decays, And the rest is rust and stardust.”

ANDRES SIMPSON is a graduating senior and English major at UMass. This is his second time returning as a PA and he cannot be more excited. "Andre" considers himself a shorty-story writer and a modest poet, who's favorite writers range from Thomas Sayers Ellis, Stephen King, to Cormac McArthy, and Ernst T.A. Hoffman. Also, he likes music and Donkey Kong Country.

MICHAEL SIROIS grew up on the south shore of Boston. In between writing poetry he works on organic farms in the Pioneer Valley and enjoys reading, writing, any outdoor activity (in the summer), and spending time with friends and family. He draws inspiration from a range of authors including Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman, John Steinbeck, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Kate Chopin.

MARIAM TALEB is a junior majoring in Sustainable Food and Farming & English. Her favorite authors are Toni Morrison, Gary Snyder, Sylvia Plath, Jon Irving, Tim O'Brien, Raymond Carver, Le Thi Diem Thuy, and Wallace Stevens. She plans on pursuing a career around Public Health and sustainable local food systems as a way to combat inequality.