writers brief bios


The following writers have published work with The Orchard Street Press  since we started in 2016. The brief biographical profile is followed by the name of the work(s) they have published and the year in which their books were first released.


Megan Anderson BohigianMegan Anderson-Bohigian is a poet, prose writer, and musician who lives with her husband in Fresno, California. Her poems have been published in many journals, including: The Comstock Review, Quiet Diamonds, Whiskey Island Magazine, and The San Joaquin River. Her work is anthologized in the collection Shadowed: Unheard Voices, and she is the author of the full poetry collection, Sightlines, published by Tourane Poetry Press. She holds a BFA degree from the California Institute of the Arts, and MFA in Creative Writing from California State University-Fresno, and has taught writing and poetry at all levels. She is an active member of both the writing and music communities in the Fresno area. Vanishing Point, 2018


Stephanie Baird2Stephanie Baird
lives in Western Massachusetts and is an EMDR psychotherapist & consultant. creating in many genres since her early teens, her poetry/prose has been published in Tule Review, SLAB, Colere, multiple issues of Meat for Tea (also publishing her linocuts and photography), plus two Honorable Mention poems published in Quiet Diamonds (2018, 2019). When she isn’t working, writing, or collaborating with her artist husband in various projects, including raising their spirited daughter, she voluntarily teaches O.W.L. sex education classes, writes a monthly sexual health column for the Montague Reporter newspaper, and dabbles in film-making. More writing and images can be found at: stephaniebaird.lmhc.wordpress.com. 
Duets: Love Poems & Prayers, 2020

Larsen Bowker:
This is Larsen Bowker’s third chapbook. His poetry began inimages from his early life in a Prairie town in Nebraska. He now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains.  He’s lived half his long life on the Prairie and half in the mountains., each place offering him a spiritual life mostly ignored by thriving minds of the 21st century’s universities, their cathedrals of  reason, 
worshipping at the altars of a technology in search of its soul.

He taught the eighth grade in Osceola, Nebraska for two years; high school in Cozad, Nebraska; college at Hastings, Nebraska and at the University of Rhode Island and Virginia Tech (where he was also varsity tennis coach).

As much athlete as poet, Larsen believes the discipline of both mind and body form the character best-suited to avoiding discipleship to mind or body, our best chance to connect with the soul, an elusive, mystical, charismatic state of being we can never quite define but recognize immediately when it comes, as if it were as distinct as the line of our nose in a three mirror or memory of a first kiss. In the Diamond Light of Morning, 2020

joyce s brown photo2Joyce S. Brown
lives in Baltimore.  Her poems have appeared in Poetry, Yankee, The Tennessee Quarterly,The Christian Science Monitor, The American Scholar,The Maryland Poetry Review, Commonweal, Potomac Review,  Smartish Pace, Antietam Review, and other journals. She holds a degree from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars where she taught fiction and poetry writing to undergraduates for ten years. Vital Signs, 2018

Elizabeth Chapman2As a poet, Elizabeth Chapman
was a late bloomer. Although born into a literary family (her parents edited and published The Writer and The Writer’s Handbook), she wrote her first poem at the age of 43.  Employed as a college teacher of English (Renaissance Literature) and, for twenty years, a psychotherapist in private practice, she lives and works in Palo Alto, California.

Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals, including: POETRY, Santa Clara Review, BlueLine, and Rattle. Her chapbook, Creekwalker, was published by (M)other Tongue Press (1995). She has seen two full-length collections into print: Candlefish (University of Arkansas Press, 2004) and Light Thickens (Ashland Poetry Press, 2009). Since the year 2000, she has been a member of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers. Midnight Exhibition at the Wheatgrass Saloon, 2020

joe cheslock photo2Joe Cheslock
is a life-long resident of Northeast Ohio, now residing in Cuyahoga Falls. He retired from a forty-year career in Information Technology. An avid reader, Joe began writing 
‘seriously’ about fifteen years ago and has since had work published in a variety of literary reviews and journals. He is an award-winning poet who published his first collection, 14 Lines (a book of sonnets) in 2014. He is currently working on a collection of short stories. If you follow a crooked river…,2016; all the stars that once were, 2017; and Coal Miner’s Son 2020

Carolyn DahlCarolyn Dahl
was the Grand Prize winner in the national 2015 ARTlines2 poetry contest, a finalist in the PEN Texas Literary competition in nonfiction, and the 2018 Malovrh-Fenlon Poetry Prize (Orchard Street). Her essays and poems have been published in twenty-six anthologies, including: Women on Poetry (McFarland), Goodbye, Mexico (Texas Review Press), 
Beyond Forgetting (Kent State), and various literary journals, including: Copper Nickel, Plainsongs, Rock & Sling, Camas, and Hawaii Review. She is co-author of the poetry and art book The Painted Door Opened.

As a visual artist, Carolyn has shown her work in museums and national galleries. She has been a guest artist on HGTV and PBS, authored three art books: Transforming Fabric I&II (F&W Books) and Natural Impressions (Watson-Guptill). When she isn’t writing or making art, Carolyn raises monarch butterflies in her kitchen and sets them free in her Houston garden. www.carolyndahlstudio.com. Art Preserves What Can’t be Saved, 2019

Linda M FischerLinda M. Fischer
, a Philadelphia area poet, made her publishing debut in 2001 in Fine Gardening Magazine. Her work has since appeared in many print and online journals, including: The Aurorean, Blue Heron Review, Hotel America, Iodine Poetry Journal, Mad Poets Review, 
Muddy River, Nerve Cowboy, Poetry East, Potomac Review, and The Valparaiso Poetry Review. Twice a Pushcart nominee, she won the 2019 Philadelphia Writers’ Poetry Contest and was a Finalist in the 2019 Orchard Street Press Poetry Contest. Passages, 2020

lew foresterLew Forester
was born in San Antonio, Texas and has lived near Denver, Colorado since age 14. He’s a retired social worker, where his writing skills were mostly used for writing grants and an “Ask Lew” column that appeared in a local paper.  In 2012 he was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which forced an early retirement in 2013. Now seven years in remission, he devotes more time and energy to writing and sending out his poetry. His poems have appeared in journals and magazines across the country, including: Atlanta Review, Main Street Rag, New Madrid, Slipstream, Plainsongs, Pinyon, and others. He won the 2018 Malovrh-Fenlon Prize from Orchard Street. Lew and his wife have lived in the same house in Arvada, Colorado since 1987. In addition to spending time with family and two young grandsons, he enjoys hiking, fishing, travel, and volunteer work. Dialogues With Light, 2020

suzanne freeman photo2Susan Freeman
lives on the outskirts of the Milky Way in the Texas Hill Country, where she is an avid practitioner of internet avoidance Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications, including: Miramar,Xanadu, Poems & Plays,and Earth’s Daughters, not to mention on friends’ refrigerators across the country.  Her fiction has appeared in Evening Street Review, and her novella, Omnibo, won the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize and was published by Texas Review Press. In 2017, she won First Prize in Orchard Street’s Chapbook Contest for The Sun’s Banquet Table which was published that year.

scott d gregory photo2Scott D. Gregory
is a retired school teacher. He was born in Canton, Ohio. His family later moved to Perry Township near Massillon. After graduating from Perry High School, he attended The College of Wooster. There he earned a B.A. in Social Welfare. After graduating, he went to Kent State University, taking an M.Ed. After teaching for half a year in Oberlin, Ohio, he taught for thirty-five years in Wooster, Ohio, primarily in the intermediate level.  Since retiring, Mr. Gregory spends his time with a number of projects as well as reading, writing, traveling, and working with the Wooster/Orrville NAACP. He currently lives in Wooster, Ohio. Going Back to Africa, 2017

Bill GriffinBill Griffin
is a family physician in rural North Carolina.  His poems have appeared in numerous publications, and he has published several collections, most recently Crossing the River (Main Street Rag, 2017). He has served on the Board of the North Carolina Poetry Society for almost two decades and showcases the work of Carolina poets at his blog: griffinpoetry.com. In 2008, Bill and his wife, Linda French Griffin, collaborated on Snake Den Ridge, a Bestiary, an lustrated book of poems set in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2010, the choral suite The Wanderer’s Carols, lyrics by Bill and music by Mark Daniel Merritt, premiered for Christmas at Biltmore House in Asheville, North Carolina.  In 2012, Bill spent a week at the North Carolina Zoological Park as Poet in Residence for the Poetry of Conservation project. 
Riverstory : Treestory, 2018

mary hotlen photo2Mary Hotlen
, M.S., writes poetry, essays and short fiction. She is also the author of two nonfiction books. Currently, she enjoys experimenting with flash fiction, lyric essay, and prose poetry. Her work has appeared in many literary journals, including: Dream International Quarterly; Psychopoetica; Red River Review; Running Deer Press; Literary Mama; Moon Journal; Earth’s Daughters;Devilfish Review; Pank Magazine; Persimmon Tree; Green Hills

Literary Lantern; Outrider Press’s 2015 and 2016 Anthologies;
and Eastern Iowa Review.

A short story appeared in The Rockford Review, and her poem “Year Of the Psalms” placed in the 2009 ‘Illinois Emerging Writers’contest. Ms. Hotlen has been a teacher and a licensed counselor. A Matter of Voice, 2017

jack kristofco2John P. (Jack) Kristofco
has published over seven hundred poems and seventy short stories in about two hundred different publications,  including: Folio,  Rattle,  Bryant Literary Review, Cimarron Review,  Fourth River, Stand, The MacGuffin,  Sierra Nevada Review, BlueLine,  Slant, Pinyon, Snowy Egret, and Clackamas Literary Review.  Jack has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize five times, and he was the recipient of the 2002 Chaffin Prize for Fiction. He is currently in the process of preparing for publication The Alex Chronicles, a collection of his short stories.

In 2011, Jack retired from a distinguished, forty-year career as a professor and university administrator (the last fourteen of those years as Dean of Wayne College at the University of Akron). He lives with his wife Kathy in Highland Heights, Ohio (just east of Cleveland), where he continues to pursue his passions for writing, photography, music, and watching his three children and nine grandchildren take their swings at changing  the world. The Timekeeper’s Garden, 2016 and Shadows on the Fog, 2020

Sean LauseSean Lause’
is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio.  His poems have appeared in many journals, including: The Alaska Quarterly, Atlanta Review, The Minnesota Review, Another Chicago Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Pedestal, Illuminations, and Poetry       International. His first book of poems, Bestiary of Souls, was published in 2013 by FutureCycle Press. Wakeful Fathers and Dreaming Sons, 2018

Joanne LehmanJoanne Lehman
teaches English Composition and Works as a writing tutor at the University of Akron Wayne College. She previously taught writing and literature at Malone University and has been a tutor at the College of Wooster. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Ashland University and a BA in Communications Arts from Malone. In addition to teaching,  she has worked in community relations and journalism in Wayne County, Ohio. Joanne has published two poetry chapbooks, Morning Song and Driving in the Fog and received the 2004 Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University. She has published poetry and prose in numerous peroiodicals, journals, and local newspapers. She is also the author of Kairos: A Novel and Traces of Treasure: Quest for God in the Commonplace, both published by Herald Press. Joanne and her husband live in Wooster, Ohio. Fountain Nook, 2018

Mark Louis LehmanMark Louis Lehman
graduated from the University of Michigan, later earning a Ph.D. and teaching English for three decades at the university of Cincinnati. He has also been a long-time classical music reviewer for The American Record Guide and The Absolute Sound and continues to compose chamber music, with several releases of his compositions on the Enharmonic and Albany record labels. In 2006 his first and so far only novel Mocky’s Revinge (yes, that is the correct spelling) was published, earning the 2007 Independent Publisher Book Award for “Outstanding Story Teller of the Year” as well as laudatory reviews in Publishers Weekly, Kirkus Reviews, Booklist, and other venues. His poems have appeared in Quiet Diamonds, The Lyric, Eureka Review, and Cincinnati Poetry Review. Twenty Small Worlds, 2020

Kiara Letcher2

Kiara Nicole Letcher is a poet who currently resides in Omaha, Nebraska.  She received her MFA from The University of Nebraska at Omaha in 2014.  Her work has appeared in: Green Mountains Review, Plainsongs, Stone Highway, New Bile, Villianess Press, and Quiet Diamonds. Scream Queen, 2019




Peter LeverichPeter C. Leverich
has been writing poetry for more than forty years.  He is the publisher/editor emeritus of Avocet, A Journal of Nature Poems. Blaze, his second book of poems, is a follow-up to Catching Sundown which was published by Xlibris in 2006. Both books are about life in, on, and around the Peconic Bay, the North Fork, and Long Island.

Mr. Leverich attended Colgate University and the University of Missouri.  He worked for the New York Times and is now the retired founder and CEO of Tech Software, Inc., a computer 
software company located on Long Island. He and his wife, Diane, live in Manhasset, New York and have a summer place on the Peconic Bay in Southold, New York. Blaze, 2019

Craig McVayCraig McVay
, originally from  Lafayette, Indiana, has lived for most of the past forty years with his wife, and extended family nearby, in Columbus, Ohio. His degrees are in Classics and English, both of which he has taught in schools, community colleges, and prisons in central Ohio and Maryland. He now teaches classical mythology at Columbus State Community College. He is co-founder of the longtime Columbus reading series, PeripateticPoets. His poems and stories appear online and in print in Avatar Review, Blue Unicorn,Common Threads, Everything Stops and Listens (anthology of the Ohio Poetry Association, 2013), Grey Sparrow, Icon, and other 
publications.  “Autumn Lynching in Ohio” received an Honorable Mention in the 2018 Orchard Street Press Poetry Contest, and “At Summer’s End” was a Finalist in 2019. Joys in the Tomb of Hunting and Fishing, 2020

Duane NiatumDuane Niatum
, Jamestown S’Klallam tribe, has been writing poems, stories, and essays for over fifty years. He has been widely published in the U.S. and abroad and has been translated into fourteen languages. He edited two important American Indian anthologies, Carriers of the 
Dream Wheel and Harper’s Anthology of Twentieth Century Native American Poetry.

He has published nine books of poems, most recently Earth Vowels. Duane’s writing is deeply connected with the Northwest coast landscape, its mountains, forests, water, and creatures. The legends and traditions of his ancestors, who have long called this place home, help shape and 
animate his poetry. Duane has made a life-long study of art and artists, including European and American Indian art, literature and culture.

Niatum’s honors include residences at the Millay Colony for the Arts and Yaddo, the Governor’s Award from the State of Washington as well as grants from the Carnegie Fund for Authors and the PEN Fund for Writers.He won the National Book Award for his poetry collection, Songs for the Harvester of Dreams. He was invited to read at the Library of Congress and the International Poetry Festival at Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He received the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award from Native Writers Circle of the Americas, Returning the Gift. Sea Changes, 2020

ben onachila photo2Ben Onachila
grew up in the small town of Albion, Pennsylvania. He eventually left the Great Lakes area for the Mt. Washington Valley of New Hampshire, intent on rock climbing and hiking. After eight years there he followed his vision to Bisbee in Southeast Arizona, arriving sight unseen.  After nine years, he again followed his inner wisdom to Western North Carolina and the town of Brevard, also arriving sight unseen.  He has lived there the past eleven years. Ben calls himself an artist of life, with each place he has lived being a canvas upon which to paint anew. Homecoming, 2018 and Anubis Stands Close By, 2018

Jim ScrutonJames Scruton
is the author of two full collections and two award-winning chapbooks. His work has appeared often in Poetry magazine, which awarded him its Frederick Bock Prize in 1996, and the Chicago Tribune, Poetry East, Poet Lore, North American Review, Southern Poetry Review, The Florida Review, Yankee, and dozens of other journals. He is currently the Mary B. Holmes Professor of Literature and Associate Academic Dean at Bethel University in McKenzie, Tennessee. Blind Season, 2018

Doug SmithDouglas M. Smith
has been a social worker and community organizer for forty-one years with stops in Chicago, Detroit, Ypsilanti, and most recently in rural Western Washtenaw County. He is the co-editor of In Drought Time: Scenes From Rural and Small Town Life, an anthology of art and poetry published in 2005 by Mayapple Press, and was a finalist in the 2016 Mudfish Magazine and the 2017 New Guard Knightville Poetry contests. He was a Semi-finalist in the 2016 Concrete Wolf Press poetry book competition. His poetry has been published in Third Wednesday, Sheila-Na-Gig, Caesura, Mudfish, Slant, Last Call: An Anthology of Wine, Beer, 
and Spirits; World Enough Writers, and in Quiet Diamonds 2018. He is currently working on a novel set in Detroit during the 1980’s when he was a tenant organizer in the Cass Corridor. He lives with his family on twenty acres of woods and prairie in Sylvan Township, Michigan. Social Work and Other Myths, 2019

Patrick SynanPatrick Synan
was born in Baltimore in 1990 and spent most of his childhood in southern New Hampshire. In 2014, he moved to Boston to study literature. He currently lives in Watertown and teaches in East Boston. His poems have been published in Crosswinds, Bacopa Literary Review, and Quiet Diamonds. This is his first chapbook. The Walls Around the Ring, 2019

susan waters2Susan Christine Waters
has an advanced degree from the writing program at George Mason University.  She has been professor of English at New Mexico Junior College for nearly 
fifteen years, teaching composition, literature survey courses, and a class about the Wild West.

Susan started out as a journalist covering hard news in upstate New York and for thirteen years was a magazine writer/editor at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science of William and Mary.

Her publishing credits are extensive, ranging from the Washington Post and the Baltimore Sun to the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the U.S. House of Representatives.  Susan has won six prizes in poetry, including the Mary Roberts Reinhart Prize at George Mason University.  She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize in Poetry. Heat Lightning, 2017

Tom WestThomas A. West, Jr.
has had poetry published in many literary magazines and journals, including: The Ann Arbor Review, The Aurorean, The Connecticut River Review, The Listening Eye, POEM, The Literary Review, New Mexico Humanities Review, The Tampa Review, and Quiet Diamonds. He is the author of Nonantum Street,a book of poetry and Our Students Can Write, published with a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation.

A graduate of Oberlin College and Tufts University, Mr. West served in a combat zone in Korea in 1952. He taught junior and senior high school students for fifty-three years. In the 1970’s, he was Head of  The Country School in Madison, Connecticut. He now resides full time in Morrison, Colorado. The Hungry Man, 2018


Tom WestBob Wickless
was born in Frederick, Maryland and attended the public schools there. He received a BA in English from the University of Maryland where he won the Manning Prize for Creative Arts. He earned his Master’s from The Writing Seminars at Johns Hopkins where he was a Teaching Fellow. His poetry has appeared in many magazines and journals, including: American Scholar, Poet & Critic, Antietam Review, Antioch Review, Poetry, Shenandoah, SouthernIndiana Review, and Southern Poetry Review. He has held dozens of jobs, from laborer, beer truck driver, airport line jockey, surveyor, to federal jobs program director. For seven years he taught in the Poets-in-the-Schools Program in Maryland. He retired as Personnel Director for a large, urban police department and now lives in Reidsville, North Carolina.