Breakwater Reading: Back to School!

1329881901_94140b09eaSchool’s back in session and so is Breakwater! Reward yourself for making it through the first full week of the semester by listening to some of the wonderful MFA students from BU, Emerson, and UMass Boston read their work!

Join us Friday, September 18, at 7pm sharp in the basement of the Brookline Booksmith.

And the readers are…

Breakwater Pic

David Braga was born in raised in Northern Virginia. His fiction has been published by Redivider, Pantheon Magazine, Typehouse, and Riding Light.


Danya Bush is a second year fiction student in the MFA program at UMass Boston. She is originally from just east of Salt Lake City, Utah. Her work most recently appeared in Goddessmode, a chapbook published by Cool Skull Press.


Liam Day has been a youth worker, teacher, coach, school administrator, public health professional, political campaign manager, and professional basketball player. His poems have appeared at Slow Trains, Apt, and Wilderness House Literary Review. His essays and op-eds have appeared in the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, Annalemma, and The Good Men Project, where he has served as sports editor. His first collection, Afforded Permanence, has been nominated for the 2015 Massachusetts Book Award in poetry. He is an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Boston.


Angela Siew is a second-year MFA candidate in Poetry at Emerson College, where she is a volunteer screener for Ploughshares and Redivider. She is originally from Princeton, NJ and has worked as an ESL instructor in Chile and Italy. Angela is a water-lover — her work highlights this, her travel, and, occasionally, sliced fruit.

Breakwater Reading: School’s Out For Summer


We did it. Seriously, summer is actually here. We hope you’ve been outside enjoying the glory of life after winter as much as we have. Join us to celebrate the heat and the launch of Breakwater Review Issue 13 with readings by the talented MFA students from BU, Emerson, and UMass Boston.

Join us Friday, June 19, at 7pm sharp in the basement of the Brookline Booksmith.

Also make sure to look out for Issue 13 of Breakwater Review at The new issue features work from from Leslee Becker, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Danielle Legros Georges, and many more.

Here’s a line-up of our readers:


Grant Bonnier is an MFA candidate in fiction at UMass Boston where he is finishing a short story collection entitled “All the Pretty Things We Don’t Talk About.” He is originally from Miami and while he appreciates your enthusiasm, he doesn’t need to be reminded that the weather here is different. He is aware.


Tobi Earnheart-Gold is currently completing an MFA in Creative Writing at Boston University. Previously, he lived in a Buddhist monastery in Southern France. He has also spent time working as a shepherd on the island of Crete.


Mafaz Al-Suwaidan was born in Oklahoma, raised in Kuwait, went to college in Canada, and now lives in the Boston Public Library. She is an MFA fiction student at Emerson College. Her work often explores the delicate moments where identity is torn between tradition and modernity.


Sally Burnette is an M.F.A. candidate at Emerson College in Poetry.  Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Stolen Island, Contraposition, The Great American Poetry Show, the Outrider Review, Clockwise Cat, and others.  She’s not going to make you listen to any other dumb facts.

Jason Simon-Bierenbaum

Breakwater Reading: Beat the Heat

AppleThe skies have opened to pour bright sunshine into the cracks of the sidewalks and brick walkways of Boston! It’s filling the air with warm waves that are washing over frost-stiff shoulders and relaxing away the weariness of winter. It is warm at last!

What better way to celebrate the return of the sun than by experiencing the beaming talent of MFA students from BU, Emerson, and UMass Boston?

Where to Find Us
On May 15th: The Brookline Booksmith
More specifically: 7pm, Coolidge Corner, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline

Here’s a sneak peek at our line-up of readers:


Zoe Tokushige is a fiction student at Emerson College and hails from California by way of New York. The stories for her thesis are centered around the Japanese American community during WWII, and some have even been published.


Kyle Dacuyan is a Leo/Cancer rising, denizen of JP, and very-soon-to-be recipient of an MFA in Poetry from Emerson College. He has twice been a semi-finalist for the “Discovery”/Boston Review Poetry Prize and has received scholarships from the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and The Davidson Institute. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crab Orchard Review, The Nashville Review, THRUSH, DIALOGIST, and RHINO, among other places.

Mimi Cook

Mimi Cook hails from the rainy wilds of the Pacific Northwest. She migrated to study writing, and on Monday she will graduate with her MFA in Fiction from Emerson College where she also worked as a Marketing Assistant for Ploughshares at Emerson College, taught fiction to Boston public high school students through the emersonWRITES program, and assisted in coordinating the Breakwater Reading Series. In her free time, Mimi practices shotokan karate, throws dinner parties, and writes an epistolary food blog with her father.


Jessica Suzanne Stokes sometimes calls herself a poet.

Breakwater Reading: Spring Training

10155648_635960509839498_883816649113319551_nSnowdrops and forsythia have begun sprouting in the mud. Maybe soon you’ll believe that winter is done. Use the extra energy and positivity provided to you by the added Vitamin D beaming down from above to attend this month’s Breakwater reading.

What better way to coax spring into the neighborhood than by experiencing the blossoming talent of MFA students from BU, Emerson, and UMass Boston?

Join us Friday, April 17, at 7pm sharp in the basement of the Brookline Booksmith.

Where to Find Us
On April 17th: The Brookline Booksmith
More specifically: 7pm, Coolidge Corner, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline

Here’s a sneak peek at our line-up of readers:

Brionne Janae
is a Southern California native currently living in the city of Boston where she is finishing her M.F.A in Poetry at Emerson College.  Brionne’s work has been published or is forthcoming in Plume, the Fjords Review, Apogee Journal, Toe Good Poetry, Redivider and others. She is also the winner of the 2014 Muriel Craft Bailey Contest at the Comstock Review. Brionne is also Cave Canem Fellow. But most importantly Brionne just turned in her thesis yesterday!! and is now feeling mighty fancy.
Todd Natti is a native of Western New York. Don’t know what Western New York is? Well, Todd’s here to teach you. He may also throw in some information about canals and bear tossing. But maybe not. It’s hard to be sure. What is sure is he’s finishing his MFA at Emerson College after seven years, complete with a switch to nonfiction right before writing his thesis, which he defends directly before Friday’s reading. While that may not the norm, doing things last second is sort of Todd’s style, much to the chagrin of others. He hopes you’re as cool with it as they are.
Danya Bush. What can be said about her? I’m a straight-shooter so here’s the facts: she’s a first-year MFA candidate at UMass Boston, studying fiction. She’s a stellar gal. Her stories are like a billion-dollar pair of sunglasses, or like a waterfall on the surface of the sun: very cool, and also, very unexpected. The stupid fabric of existence is a real snooze-fest compare to the stories she writes. Perhaps she’s “The Chosen One”…. but then again perhaps she’s not. I don’t care. Danya Bush.
Jesse De Angelis is a student in the Boston University poetry MFA program, and has recently won third prize in a contest.

Michelle Samuels is an MFA candidate in fiction at Boston University, and co-coordinates the Writers at the Black Box reading series at the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. Before coming down to Massachusetts she was a contributing reporter for New Hampshire Public Radio, covering food and farming, and her fiction has appeared in Quick Brown Fox, The Underground, and the anthology Love Free or Die.

August J Smith has been called many things: an Irish cabbie; a rapscallion; Danya Bush’s parents’ favorite child; a fourteen year old boy whose interests include mega hot babes; a dad lookalike; a lizard man with a mustache; the boy of your dreams. He’s a first-year MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Boston, but let’s be real: August’s been slaying the poetry game since he busted out the womb, and y’all better be ready because he’s about to drop some hecka rad poems on your earholes.

Breakwater Reading: Opening the Floodgates

Boston recently broke the record for most snowfall in the season, and now that that’s over with, we can hopefully put it right behind us. What better way to coax spring into the neighborhood than by showcasing the blossoming talent of MFA students from BU, Emerson, and UMass Boston?

Join us today, Friday, March 20, at 7pm sharp at the Brookline Booksmith..

Where to Find Us

On March 20th: The Brookline Booksmith
More specifically: 7pm, Coolidge Corner, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline

Here’s a sneak peek at our line-up of readers:

Bob Sykora

Bob Sykora is a first year MFA candidate at UMass Boston and the poetry editor for Breakwater Review. He is originally from the San Fernando Valley in Los Angeles, CA, but his heart still resides in Chicago, where he used to be a high school teacher.


Breauna L. Roach is a native of Detroit, MI and a recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Association’s Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in the Detroit Institute of Art, The Huffington Post, 22 Across Young Writer’s Review and various other publications. She is a proud Alumna of Florida A&M University, and has received fellowships from Callaloo and Cave Canem. Breauna is the former Editor of CaKe: a Journal of Poetry and Art and is currently a 1st year MFA student at Emerson College.


Antonina (Nina) Palisano is an MFA candidate at Boston University. She holds a degree in religion and creative writing from Hampshire College, where she completed a poetry manuscript about tuberculosis in the 19th century imagination. Nina was recently named a finalist in the 2015 Jewish Currents’ Raynes Poetry Prize, and has been the recipient of scholarships and grants from Flying Object and the Sandol Milliken Stoddard Fund. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Massachusetts Review, Potluck Magazine, Washington Square, the Bellevue Literary Review, and other publications.


Emily Jaeger is a returned Peace Corps volunteer and backyard organic farmer who dreams in four languages. A candidate in the MFA program at UMASS Boston, she is a Lambda Literary fellow and co-editor/co-founder of the Window Cat Press, a zine for young, emerging artists. Her publication list is up on her website.


Julia Mascioli is a third-year MFA candidate in Fiction at Emerson College, currently in the final throes of completing her thesis, a collection of linked stories. When she isn’t isn’t writing or worrying about writing, she does communications and grant writing for the DC-based nonprofit Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop, which uses books and writing to empower incarcerated youth.

Breakwater Reading: Cabin Fever Antidote

You’ve been sitting at home too often this winter. Maybe you’ve started reading books aloud so your voice can keep you company. Or maybe you’ve become overly familiar with the voices of your housemates. You may have even begun to find things to hate about them that are completely innocuous.

Attending Breakwater will not end winter or make your housemates’ shower singing more in tune, but it will get you out of the house and give you a chance to listen to talented MFA students from UMass, Emerson, and Boston University. Join us tomorrow, Friday, February 20 at 7pm sharp at the Brookline Booksmith.

Where to Find Us

On February 20th: The Brookline Booksmith
More specifically: 7pm, Coolidge Corner, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline

Here’s a sneak peek at our line-up of readers:


Joshua Jones is a second year MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Boston. Originally from the Shenandoah Valley area of Virginia, Josh serves as the book review editor for Appalarts Magazine which promotes the work of Appalachian writers and artists. He lives in Dorchester with his wife Lesleigh and their dachshund Guinivere. He jealously guards his position as the premature old fogey in workshop.

Profile Pic 1

Billy Hart Tierney is an Instructor for the First Year Writing Program and pursuing his MFA in Poetry at Emerson College. He wants his poetry to find a moment of empathy that rests somewhere between absurdity and reality. Or as he imagined James Tate said about Mr. Tierney’s work, “You can’t tell where Tierney’s writing is going to go. He may start with tragedy and end with comedy, or abandon both for a man you doesn’t know whose shit he slept in.” (Source The Poet’s Warped Mind)


Courtney Prather was an MFA candidate in fiction at Emerson, but then she graduated in December 2014. Since then she has been expanding her final thesis into a full-fledged historical novel. When she’s not obsessively listening to Russian history podcasts, Russian folk songs, or watching documentaries on Russian ballerinas, she makes a living by writing freelance articles by contract. She also loves to paint and dance- though not at the same time.

Bio Pic 300dpi

Jennifer Murphy writes Fiction. She is an Arizona native living in Boston where she is an MFA candidate in the fiction program at the University of Massachusetts in Boston. She is the recipient of a Kathryn and Gelndon Swarthout award in creative writing, a Randel and Susan McCraw Helms Writing Award, and most recently the Mary Doyle Curran Scholarship. When not writing she tries to find edible Mexican food in and around New England. She is currently working on a collection of female coming of age stories, set in the southwest, titled, What You’re Made Of.


Michael Mandlin is originally from New York.  He enjoys sunsets, long walks on the beach, and puppies.


A native Michigander, Jessica Suzanne Stokes currently attends Boston University’s MFA program and sometimes calls herself a poet.

Breakwater Reading: Back in Winter White

White WhaleIt’s a new year, and each day Boston seems to be donning a new layer of snow. Don’t let the weather stop you from walking to the Brookline Booksmith this Friday. Don a scarf and avoid checking the windchill (unless you’re fond of negative numbers).

Start the year off right at the Brookline Booksmith! On Friday, January 16 at 7pm sharp, writers from UMass, Emerson, and BU will be showcasing their talents.

Where to Find Us
On January 16th: The Brookline Booksmith
More specifically: 7pm, Coolidge Corner, 279 Harvard Street, Brookline

Here’s a sneak peek at our line-up of readers:

Leigh Clouse is a MFA candidate in fiction at Boston University. A Michigander and a native of the Midwest, Leigh comes to Boston this year after teaching digital media at a Chicago high school. When not writing stories about dysfunctional families, Leigh enjoys drinking too much tea, making lists, and finding rare and exotic typos.

Johnette Marie Ellis calls Boston home. She worked in the non-profit sector for 10 years, serving primarily as a community builder and advocate for the redistribution of power and access through programs and policy. Now Johnette has her sights set on harnessing the power and influence of creativity as an educator and poet. She’s an MFA candidate at Emerson College in Poetry, looking for new strategies and questions to nurture a mission driven path. Currently she works with emersonWRITES as a poetry teacher and as an instructor in Emerson’s First Year Writing Program. Ultimately she wants to support others as they seek to discover their superpowers—yet she hasn’t quite found her own.
Navarro pic_
Marisela Navarro was born in Puerto Rico, grew up in Orlando, Florida, and lives in Boston, Massachusetts.  She received a doctorate in pharmacy from the University of Florida and is an MFA candidate in fiction at Emerson College. She’s been writing since she was seven years old and wrote a story called “The Velveteen Rabbit” before she knew what plagiarism was. Her short fiction has been published in SmokeLong Quarterly, the anthology Flash Fiction Funny, Wigleaf, 100 Word Story, and Matchbook.
Elysia Smith
Elysia Smith is an Indiana prom queen turned rebel witch-poet and punk rock enthusiast. She currently studies at UMass Boston and is getting her MFA in poetry. Despite being known round the yard as a poet, Elysia also writes fiction loosely based on her experiences being dragged by her parents across country away from her counter-culture California family to a bible-belt town of four thousand. Perhaps the best summation of this experience can be drawn from her past MySpace page where she once stated, “I’m just a desert rose transplanted among the children of the corn.” Only, she definitely spelled “desert,” as “dessert” but that’s probably more accurate anyway.


Bojana Totovic is a candidate in poetry at Boston University. She comes from a country in the southeast corner of Europe, called Serbia. She started writing poetry thanks to a creative writing course conducted in English, when she wasn’t sure she could write poetry at all or what it really was. Now she is here. Her ambition in life is to travel, be happy, and make stuff.
Lori Zimmermann
Lori Zimmermann is an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Boston. She writes poems about apocalypses and the telegraph. She is also the Tumblr Editor for small publisher/guerrilla art project Broadsided Press. When she is not clacking away at her typewriter or laptop, she enjoys spinsterly hobbies like knitting and talking about her cat. Publication credits include poems in Broad! and Writers Tribe Review.