Our Poets

Carol Leavitt Altieri is retired from teaching English, American literature in New Haven Public Schools. Published five books of poetry and winner of the CT Environmental Award for helping to save the Griswold Airport Property in Madison, CT. She loves hiking, reading and the whole world of nature. Her new book, Hiking the Rugged Shore, is available from Breakwater Books new online platform.

Sharon Bloom went from predicting corn crop production in Illinois, to inspecting chicken farms in
Alabama, to hedging commodity futures on the Chicago Board of Trade. From there she
launched a successful career as a marketing executive in the food industry, while raising her
children. A move to Connecticut brought a life changing shift to teach yoga to all ages. And after
years of writing ad copy, sales presentations and marketing plans, she finally pursued her dream
to become a writer and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. Sharon has recently completed her
first novel, Shadow Boxer. As a new resident of Guilford, she is honored to be part of the
Guilford Poets Guild. She believes poetry should create bridges to the sensual, emotional and
spiritual worlds.

Julie Fitzpatrick is an actress/writer who grew up in Guilford. She recently won the Spoken Word Artist’s Grant for the Guilford Performing Arts Festival, was published by Poets’ Choice in their book Close Friends and Relatives with her poem “Greasy Gone,” and won a Writer’s Digest Honorable Mention for her poem “kite.” She teaches with Wheel Life Theatre Troupe, an acting group for thespians who ambulate on crutches and wheelchairs, and she has led workshops and directed improv/acting enrichment classes with St. Martin de Porres Academy in New Haven, Madison Arts Barn, Calvin Leete School and Guilford Performing Arts Festival. Julie has acted in New York City, regionally, and in TV/short film. She is a member of the Legacy Theatre Playwrights Circle and she lives with her favorite peeps – her husband and son, Pete and Fitz. More information about her work can be found at juliefitzpatrick.com

Gwen Gunn has had poems published in Connecticut River Review, Fresh Ink, and Caduceus, among other places. She co-edited the poetry magazine Embers. With her partner Norman Marshall she performs Poetry’s Greatest Hits. Her book of poetry and paintings, Tastes, is for sale at the Clinton Art Gallery. She is Co-President of GPG with Norman Marshall.

Juliana Harris has contributed poems and essays to The New York Times, The Mid-America Poetry Review, Well Versed, Chicken Soup for the Soul and The Kansas City Star, among other publications.  She has written two novels, as well as a chapbook of poems about her family titled “Portraits.”  She recently published “Murder at Pine Brook,” the second book in her Guilford Mystery Series, following the debut of “Murder at the Tavern” in 2020.  A native of Kansas City, Missouri, she now lives in Guilford.

After living almost her whole life in CT, Karen Gronback Johnson and her husband retired three years ago to a farm in the mountains of Virginia. In her previous life Karen was a member of the clergy in East Haven, a police chaplain, and co-founder of East Haven United. She has been affiliated with members of Guilford Poets Guild since 1978 and now works with the Ridgeline Writers. Karen grows a lot of their own food and has recently taken up stained glass work.

Norman Thomas Marshall (Taurus) is a veteran of 55 years as a professional actor. He has participated in more than three hundred productions in New York and Hollywood — stage, film, television and radio — as actor, producer or director. Marshall has shared the stage and screen with such notable performers as F. Murray Abraham, Raul Julia, Moses Gunn, Bette Midler, Peter Reigert, Burt Reynolds, Telly Savalas, Barbara Streisand and Harvey Fierstein. He appeared many times on daytime television soap operas and wrote scenarios and supplied the voice for some of the animated spots shown on Sesame Street. He co-authored and performed the one-man play John Brown: Trumpet of Freedom in which he portrays thirty different characters including Frederick Douglass and Harriet Tubman. In 2019, he was awarded the John Brown Society Silver Medallion for ”outstanding cultural and intellectual contributions to the understanding of the Abolitionist Movement and the continuing struggle for equality for the poor and despised.” He has performed that play about three hundred times in the United States and Europe. He is a former member of the Theatre Artists Workshop, a member of R J Julia Voices and a member of the Woodstock Writers Workshop. Aside from composing verse, he is writing a novel, of memoiric fiction  entitled The Virginia Monologues. He is Co-President of the GPG with Gwen Gunn. (Photo by Pam Johnson, Guilford Courier)

Nancy Meneely has been a member of the GPG since 2007.  After retiring from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2006, she retired to Connecticut to focus on poetry, helping to administer the work of the Guilford Poets Guild and the Connecticut River Poets to support the writing and appreciation of poetry in Shoreline communities. She has published poetry, book reviews and articles in a variety of literary publications and newspapers. Her book, Letter from Italy, 1944, which provides the libretto for the oratorio of the same name, was noted by the Hartford Courant as one of thirteen important books published by Connecticut writers in 2013. Nan currently lives in Essex, CT.

Poet Jane Muir was born at the outset of the Great Depression — and things have been on the upswing ever since. She graduated from Connecticut College for Women — now coed and just Connecticut College. She worked in publishing and advertising before becoming a full-time Mom. She moved to Guilford twenty-five years ago, took poetry courses at Southern and joined the Guilford Poets Guild, where she has been chair and co-chair. Her poetry collection, Bulletin From Suburbia was published in 2018.

Patricia Horn O’Brien  is a graduate of Columbia School of Social Work and has worked and volunteered as a social worker throughout her adult life. She’s a member of the Guilford Poets Guild and co-founded CT River Poets. She initiated the ongoing program, Paintings and Poetry, at Florence Griswold Museum. Her recent book, a memoir, The Laughing Rabbit: A Mother, A Son, and the Ties that Bind, chronicling the surrender of her son for adoption in 1962, her search for him, and their reunion in 1982, is available on Amazon or from the author at patriciaobrien1937@gmail.com. Pat is the author of When Less Than Perfect is Enough and Poet Laureate of Old Saybrook.

Hannah Pat Luparia-Oboyski is a poet/actor/writer and really a lover of all things creatively expressive. Born and raised in Guilford, currently working as a paraeducator at Guilford High School and a Drama Teacher at St. Martin’s Academy. Novella and poetry collection to be announced. (Grateful to the GPG for the feedback and friendship!)

Sharon Olson‘s book Will There Be Music came out in early 2019 from Cherry Grove. Her previous book The Long Night of Flying was published by Sixteen Rivers Press in 2006. A retired librarian from California, she currently resides in Annapolis, Maryland. Since 2015 she has been a member of Cool Women Poets critique and performance group. She has also been a member of the Guilford Poets Guild since 2008. You can see more of her writing on her blog Slopoet Tells All.

Elizabeth Possidente, MA has returned to poetry after many years of jotting on envelopes, paper scraps etc while she worked as a Creative Arts Therapist and raised a family. She has published articles in her field and in the Connecticut River Review. She is a member of the Guilford Poets Guild.

Kate Summerlin, a lover of all things in the garden, the written word, the spoken word and the comforts of an old farmhouse, is a late bloomer.  After 17 years  as the library media specialist at A.W. Cox school she recently discovered the language of poetry and has just finished a memoir of essays and poems called Observations of an Ordinary life, musings of her 40 years in Guilford and beyond. It was a master’s degree in Oral Traditions that opened her to the power of storytelling and introduced her to the world of writing, especially for children.  Her children’s picture book, A New Kinda Blue was a finalist in the Tassy Walden  award, New Voices in Children’s Literature. She has also written about the Amish for Threads magazine. Through  volunteer work with the ABC Program, The Guilford Free Library, North Madison Congregational Church, St. Martin de Porres school and the Connecticut Storytelling Center she stays deeply rooted to organizations that provide support for those who value the power of words to enlighten and educate.

Poet Jane Ulrich says “For those of us who do not live on the big stage, change happens in the small moments, and that is what I write about. The larger details of my life are irrelevant.”

Edward Walker arrived in Guilford in 1977, with his wife Laury, where they raised their children and a few Labrador retrievers. Ed has a degree in English and one in Business and was founder and CEO of East River Energy. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Guilford and the Guilford Poets Guild.

Gordy Whiteman was born in Guilford in 1929. He is a member of the Guilford Poets Guild. Whiteman is the author of two volumes of poetry: Whitfield Crossing and Home Town Guilford. He is a founding member of The Connecticut Coalition of Poets Laureate and currently serves as Guilford’s Poet Laureate. If he can keep his short-term memory intact, he hopes to complete a third book of poems in the sometime soon.