Betsy Wheeler, Director (she/her)

Betsy Wheeler is the author of the poetry collection Loud Dreaming in a Quiet Room and the poetry chapbooks Start Here and Mental Detours. She earned her MFA in poetry at The Ohio State University in 2005, and held the Stadler Fellowship at Bucknell University from 2005-2007. Her poems have appeared in Tupelo QuarterlyWindfall Room, The Journal, Bat City Review, Better, MiPoesias, Forklift Ohio and elsewhere. She lives with her wife and daughter in Amherst, MA. 

Noy Holland, Creative Director and Co-founder (she/her)

Noy Holland’s I Was Trying to Describe What It Feels Like: New and Selected Stories was published by Counterpoint in January 2017. Her debut novel, Bird (Counterpoint), appeared in 2015, to great critical acclaim. Holland’s collections of short fiction and novellas include Swim for the Little One First (FC2), What Begins with Bird (FC2), and The Spectacle of the Body (Knopf). She has published work in The Kenyon Review, Antioch, Conjunctions, The Quarterly, Glimmer Train, Electric Literature, Publisher’s Weekly, The Believer, NOON, and New York Tyrant, among others. She was a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council award for artistic merit and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship. She has taught for many years in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts. Visit her author website, read an interview at The American Reader, and listen to her read from her novel Bird at Bard College.

Jeff Parker, Creative Director (he/him)

Jeff Parker is the author of the nonfiction book Where Bears Roam the Streets:  A Russian Journal (Harper Collins), the novel Ovenman (Tin House), and the short story collection The Taste of Penny (Dzanc).  With Pasha Malla, he co-assembled the book of found sports poetry Erratic Fire, Erratic Passion (Featherproof), and with Annie Liontas he edited A Manner of Being: Writers on Their Mentors (UMass Press).  His short fiction and nonfiction have been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading, Ploughshares, Tin House, The Walrus, and many others. With Mikhail Iossel he co-edited two volumes of contemporary Russian prose in translation, Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia (Tin House) and Amerika:  Russian Writers View the United States (Dalkey Archive).  He also co-translated the novel Sankya by Zakhar Prilepin from the Russian.  He has taught at Eastern Michigan University, the University of Toronto, the Russian State University for the Humanities, and the University of Tampa, and he currently teaches in the MFA Program for Poets & Writers at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.  He is the cofounder and Director of the DISQUIET International Literary Program in Lisbon, Portugal.  Read more about Professor Parker’s work at

Riley Jones, Program Assistant (she/her)

Riley Jones is a current poetry candidate in the UMass Amherst MFA for poets and writers. She is from a very small town in Massachusetts and now lives in Northampton, a slightly larger town in Western Massachusetts. She has been working for the Juniper Institute in various capacities for the last five years. She likes rivers, dried flowers, and empty vases. One day she’d like to teach poetry to children in a large grass field.

Porter Lunceford, Program Assistant (he/him and they/them)

Porter Lunceford is a poet and playwright from Northern Utah. Porter holds a BA in English with a Creative Writing emphasis from Weber State University and is an MFA candidate in poetry at UMass Amherst. Porter has written children’s musicals with their partner, Kyle, and the pair currently live in Northampton, MA with their dog.

Allie McKean, Program Assistant (she/her)

Allie McKean holds a B.A. in Communication and Writing Studies from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and currently a poet in the UMass Amherst MFA for Poets and Writers, and teaches college composition. Allie is always down for a cup of black coffee and a riverwalk !

Saffron Turner, Administrative Assistant (they/them)

Saffron is an undergraduate junior transfer student majoring in sociology. They received an Associate of Arts degree in Sociology from Santa Fe College, Gainesville, FL. Their research interest is disability studies with a focus on autistic self-advocacy. Saffron is a writer and previously took poetry workshops at Hampshire College. After a prolonged sojourn in their home state of Florida, Saffron now resides in Northampton, MA with their two cats.

Franchesca Viaud, Program Assistant  (she/her)

Franchesca Viaud holds a B.A. in English Literature from Boston University and is currently enrolled in the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at UMass Amherst, where she also teaches critical writing.