Joan Houlihan is the author of six poetry collections, most recently It Isn’t a Ghost if it Lives in Your Chest (Four Way Books), winner of the 2021 Julia Ward Howe Award for poetry. Her previous collections include Shadow-feast, named a must-read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book; The Mending Worm, winner of the New Issues Green Rose Award; The Us, named a must-read by the Massachusetts Center for the Book; the sequel Ay; and Hand-Held Executions: Poems & Essays.
Her poems have been anthologized in The Iowa Anthology of New American Poetries; The Book of Irish-American Poetry, 18th Century to Present; The World Is Charged: Poetic Engagements with Gerard Manley Hopkins; and The Eloquent Poem: 128 Contemporary Poems and Their Making. She currently serves on the faculty of Lesley University’s Low-Residency MFA in Creative Writing Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts and is Professor of Practice in Poetry at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. Houlihan is the founding director of the Colrain Poetry Manuscript Conference.