Meeting House: A Journal of New England Literature and Arts

This was the website for Meeting House, Magazine a journal of New England literature and arts from 2007 - 2011.
The content below is from the site's 2010 archived pages offering just a glimpse of what the site offered its readers.



We hope you’ll check in once a week to see what other writers and artists in New England are up to. And we hope you’ll share your work with us and let us share it with others.

We think there’s something special about New England that goes deeper than simple geography. Through your thoughts and your work, we hope to understand this place and the people who live here more deeply.

We’re looking for original writing and art by people working in New England. Please check our submission guidelines page to see what sort of work we’re looking for.

Thanks for coming to the Meeting House.


Issue #89

October 9th, 2011

Two Poems by Mary Kovaleski Byrnes

This week, we’re excited to feature two poems by Mary Kovaleski Byrnes. Mary is a lecturer in the First Year Writing Program at Emerson College, where she recently received her MFA in Creative Writing. Her work has appeared in numerous literary journals, including the Minnetonka Review, the Squaw Valley Review, Poets & Artists, PANK, and Silk Road, and her travel writing has appeared on’s Passport. She lives in Cambridge, MA.

Read on!

Two Poems

By Mary Kovaleski Byrnes of Cambridge, MA


La Niña, a girl Christ touching her toes
to the gulf stream, makes it snow.

Plastic cherubim lit on the neighbor’s lawn
wear softer feathers. Count as they swirl

from the sky, catch them on your tongue like hosts.
Slip a little on the icy driveway, laugh

as we unlock our door. Like this we end
another year: our familiar bed, your arms, lips.

Clank of the old radiator the only
bells. In the morning, my kitchen stays cold,

the church empty. We have no desire
for our mothers’ traditions:

pork and sauerkraut for luck against
a god-hand playing yo-yo with the planet,

a new year impossible without
the blessing of solemn gold and stone. My mother’s voice,

my grandmother’s singing praise to God, 
who lengthens out our days, who spares us yet another year.

This time we want to measure,
grasp, elongate, hold—

you and I will keep it differently.
I pull you closer, need only

your body, late-night pizza.
No otherworld.

The bed. The glowing
angels buried on the lawn.

First Inversion

We spent the evening naming imaginary babies.
When I called one Natalie, she suddenly grew
a face. I called her again, in a forest of boats and names.

I found her there, floating on a brick island,
in a book under glass. For decades,
they asked questions here, recorded people.

Books the size of countries. A thousand Natalies.
A million first words. My mother saved mine
under her bed. My handprints. Shoes. Certificates.

I was already Mary Natalie. Named for a woman
who crossed an ocean in the belly of a creaking beast.
She would not remember the scale of green waves—

everything before this was destroyed.
Words blown to the currents,
words out the bomb bay doors.

The island book told me all it knew—
NatalieRuthenian. Crude label for eyes
and skin. An illusion of distance:

How long does the alien wish to remain in the United States?
Always. Her answer same as the others
in an officer’s shorthand—Ditto.

A thousand pages of aliens, a history
of ditto. All we’ve lost in the naming,
between the ordered ledger lines we drew.


Submission Guidelines

We will only consider submissions by writers and artists working in New England. To this end, please include with your submission a brief bio (at least a sentence, but no more than a paragraph) including, if nothing else, your current whereabouts (we don’t need a full address for email submissions). Yes, we recognize there is nothing to keep you from lying to us or using a fake address, but this would not be in keeping with the spirit of the journal. We assume you want to be honest with us.


We consider original, previously unpublished fiction and creative nonfiction of any genre as long as it is of high quality. Send us only your best, for your sake and ours. Pieces do not have to be “New Englandy”. Send us something that is good and true. Please send no more than one piece of prose at a time to Write “fiction submission” or “nonfiction submission” in the subject line, and paste your submission into the body of the email. Attachments will be deleted unopened. No set word limit, but, this being the Internet, a little shorter is usually better than a little longer. We will do our best to respond in a prompt manner, usually no more than eight weeks.


We consider original, previously unpublished poetry. Please send no more than four poems at a time to Write “poetry submission” in the subject field and paste your submission in the body of the email. Attachments will be deleted unopened. We will do our best to respond in a prompt manner, usually no more than eight weeks.

Visual Art

Please send a brief bio and a description of your work to Write “visual art” in the subject line. Do not send samples of your work until you hear from us.

Meeting House acquires exclusive first-time Internet rights for all works it publishes. All web content is archived. All other rights, including the right to publish in print form, revert to contributors.

By submitting your original work to Meeting House, you verify that you have read the guidelines on this page. By publishing your original work with Meeting House, you acknowledge that you understand and agree to Meeting House’s terms of publication.


Readers of Meeting House have sorely missed this delightful journal of literature. I was introduced to the site by a neighbor who had moved to my Baltimore neighborhood from Maine. My New England neighbors stayed only a year before they moved abroad. I believe I repaid their recommendation with a different recommendation of my own considering the effusive thank you email I received six months later. They were looking for a moving company in Baltimore Maryland that could handle an international move. I suggested Von Paris Moving & Storage which is a well regarded moving company right here in Baltimore. Their email said that Von Paris couldn't have been more helpful on their complicated move. I think its a no brainer to recognize that international relocations take a great deal of time and effort to coordinate and often require two to three months or more of preparation and planning for that overseas move. Well apparently their move was not a nightmare and they were now living in Great Britain. We both commiserated over the demise of the Meeting House journal, but felt we were lucky to have nejoyed it anyway for several years. The content above is a nostalgic reminder.