J. Lorraine Brown
HomeAbout UsPoetsNewsContact Us


Virginia Bradley 
J. Lorraine Brown 
Nancy Tupper Ling 
Marcia Szymanski 
Jean Tupper 
Fran Witham 
JoAnne Preiser 







 J. Lorraine Brown lives in Mashpee, Massachusetts on Cape Cod and is the recipient of a Massachusetts Professional Development Grant and a Vermont Studio Center Fellowship. She is a member of Fine Line Poets and Bass River Revisionists. Her poems and/or short stories have won numerous prizes, among them a week-long workshop at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts. She has been published in such literary journals as the Cumberland Poetry Review and the North American Review. Her short story, “The Ecstasy of Marian Wicker,” was performed at the Payomet Theater in North Truro, Massachusetts. Her work was twice selected to be included in anthologies of Cape Cod women writers. She is a past recipient of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Zola Award, and former United States Poet Laureate Ted Kooser selected her poem, “Tintype on the Pond, 1925,” for his nationwide newspaper column (#35) sponsored by The Poetry Foundation, American Life in Poetry. In 2011, she was invited by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to read her poetry at their Sixth Annual Grandberg Lecture Dinner at the Downtown Harvard Club in Boston, MA. Her chapbook, Skating on Bones, published by Finishing Line Press in 2011, was selected as a “Must-Read” Book of Poetry for 2012 by the MassBook Awards Committee. Her second chapbook, Little Houses, was just released by Finishing Line Press.



As if


They fall out of cupboards,

flutter from the pages of my books—

these little notes from you,

the folds held together with tape,

the edges frayed and soft as chamois—

and though I surely know

what they all say by heart,

I read each one aloud

            as if it were a prayer

            as if you had just written it

            as if it were still warm from your hand.


Winner of the 2006Pacific Northwest Writers Association Zola Award

Intermission at aReading byGalway Kinnell

I would have noticed her anyway:

the easy way she crossed the auditorium

to lean carelessly against the door jamb,

giddy hair incandescent in the bulb’s vulgar glow,

bony feet flat in barely there sandals.


Eyes closed, dreamy, swaying,

lips puckered tight as a drawstring purse,

she pinched the air near her mouth

and took drags from a phantom cigarette,

blowing pale breaths into the wind

till I could almost see the glowing

tip of a Lucky Strike

arcing red against the night.


North American Review2005: James Hearst Poetry Prize Finalist




The wonder of Sunday:

Brenda Starr and Prince Valiant andApartment 3G;

pizza in front of Ed Sullivan, The Toast of the Town.

My mother unpinned her hat,

the one she wore to Sunday mass.

Have you ever had a gnawing

in your stomach? She asked.

A yearning without a name?

The pulse quickened in her throat,

in that soft indentation.

It’s your soul longing for God.

She stabbed the crown with her pin.

I didn’t understand that Sunday

could be a lonely day—

all that blesséd sameness.


Harpur Palate 2004/2005: Milton Kessler Poetry Contest Runner-up


Tintype on the Pond, 1925


Believe it or not,

the old woman said,

and I tried to picture it:

a girl,

the polished white ribs of a roast

tied to her boots with twine,

the twine coated with candle wax

so she could glide


across the ice—

my mother

skating on bones.


Eclipse 2004; American Life in Poetry: Column 035, selected by US Poet Laureate Ted Kooser