2014 PD Instructor Bios

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Ben Berman is the author of Strange Borderlands, which won the 2014 Peace Corps Writers Award for Best Poetry Book and was a finalist for the Massachusetts Book Award. He has received awards from the New England Poetry Club and fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Somerville Arts Council. He is the Co-Poetry Editor at Solstice Literary Journal, has taught high school in the Boston area for over fifteen years and currently teaches at Brookline High School and with Grub Street Writers.

Maggie Dietz is the author of Perennial Fall (University of Chicago, 2006) and co-editor of three anthologies related to her long-time work as director of the Favorite Poem Project. She teaches English and creative writing at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.



Alison Frydman Whitebone is a nineteen year veteran of the Brookline High School English Department. With her energy and enthusiasm, she has inspired her students to find a home in the local literary community. Over the years, she has identified key strategies that meet the academic and creative needs of the entire spectrum of students. Her at-risk, English Language Learner, and honors-level students have won prestigious awards that include Oprah WInfrey's National High School Essay Writing Contest and acceptance to several prestigious writing programs, but they have also found their voices through poetry. A co-founder and producer of Brookline High School's Annual Poetry Festival, her team continues to welcome international poets to Brookline High School each year while creating a safe space for all students and staff to share their original work. 

Regie Gibson is a poet, songwriter, author, workshop facilitator, and educator. Gibson and his work appear in the film Love Jones, based largely on events in his life. In 1999 he performed for the award-winning Traffic Series at Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theater where he adapted the work of Kurt Vonnegut. In addition, he has performed at The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago Field Museum of Natural History, and many other venues. Gibson is widely published in anthologies, magazines, and journals, such as Power Lines, An Anthology of Poetry along with Pulitzer-Prize winning poets Gwendolyn Brooks, Yosef Komunyakaa, and Lisel Mueller. His first full-length book of poetry, Storms Beneath The Skin, was released in 2001. Gibson has also taught, lectured and facilitated workshops.

The winner of three Pushcart prizes, Jill McDonough is the author of Habeas Corpus (Salt, 2008), Oh, James! (Seven Kitchens, 2012), and Where You Live (Salt, 2012).  The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Stanford’s Stegner program, she taught incarcerated college students through Boston University’s Prison Education Program for thirteen years.  Her work has appeared in Poetry, Slate, The Nation, The Threepenny Review, and Best American Poetry.  She directs the MFA program at UMass-Boston and 24PearlStreet, the Fine Arts Work Center online.

Cole Rodriguez is a mother, sister, friend, writer, teacher, activist, and lover of rhyme. She has been teaching students of all ages for more than 14 years. Covering a vast range of subjects, her use of interactive methodology governs most of the classrooms she leads. As a performance poet, she has captured audiences' attention as a slam winner at Cambridge’s Lizard Lounge and Manhattan’s Nuyorican Café. She has appeared at Harvard University and Critical Breakdown, Boston's only all-ages hip hop event. She has featured for Soulkore and BloodSkinLand Productions, Berklee College of Music, The Providence Black Repertory Company, and Rhode Island’s annual Sound Session event. As a member of the Lizard Lounge Slam Team for the last two years, she has traveled nationally to share work across the country and represented at the Individual World Poetry Slam. Passionate about working with young people, Cole performs regularly at community events and conducts workshops for schools in the Greater Boston area.