My chapbook, "Too Much Like a Landscape"

Writer and Playwright

I am a playwright, poet, and writer of both fiction and critical nonfiction. My poetry and short fiction have been published in numerous magazines, both digital and analog, and my theatrical work has been performed in Syracuse, Chicago, Boston, and New York. I have been awarded multiple writer's residencies from Catalonia to Virginia, have read my work at multiple venues in the greater Boston area, central New York, and elsewhere, and was the winner of the OUTSpoken Poetry Prize at Sundress Publications in 2014. My poetry book We Might As Well Be Underwater was published by Unsolicited Press in 2017.

Finalist, Peseroff Poetry Prize, “The Marriages: The remains”, Breakwater Review (2019)
Finalist, Fiction Contest, & Best of the Net Nomination, “Skin in the Game,” Breakwater Review (2018)
Best of the Net Nomination & Pushcart Prize Nomination, “The Marriages: The marionette,” Midway Journal (2017)
Runner-Up, James Jones First Novel Fellowship (2016)
Best of the Net Nomination – “Bruised,” Sharkpack Poetry Review Annual
Grant Recipient, Barbara Deming Memorial Fund (2016)
Artist’s Residency, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Amherst, VA (2016)
Pushcart Prize Nomination, “Privacy,” Bellevue Literary Review (2015)
Artists’ Residency, Sundress Academy for the Arts, Knoxville, TN (2015)
Artists’ Residency, Wildacres, Little Switzerland, NC (2015)
Artist’s Residency, betterArts, Redwood, NY (2015)
OUTSpoken Poetry Contest Winner, Sundress Publications— “Straight Girls” (2014)
Artist’s Residency, Writer’s Room at the Betsy Hotel, Miami, FL (2014)
Artist’s Residency, Can Serrat Centro de Actividades Artísticas, El Bruc, Catalonia (2014)
Pushcart Prize Nomination — “Thresh,” Ballard Street Poetry Journal (2013)
Dean’s Grant for Creative Writing, University of Chicago (2000)

We Might As Well Be Underwater (Poetry, Unsolicited Press, 2017)
Too Much Like a Landscape (Chapbook, 2014, with Warren Tales)

You Want Them to Look Away, workshopped at Breadcrumbs Productions’ Scratch Night, Syracuse, NY (2020)
Break, workshopped at About Face Theatre, Chicago, IL (2018)
Through the Glory Hole and What We Found There, written for The Theater Offensive‘s Creative Action Crew (2016)
Reporting Live from Under the Rainbow, written for The Theater Offensive‘s Creative Action Crew (2015)
The Dating Game (formerly Watch), SLAM Boston, Open Theatre Project, Boston, MA (2015)
Watch, One Acts and Snacks at Casa de Beverley, Brooklyn, NY (2015)
Sense and Sensibility: A New Musical (with Joshua Tyra), workshop production at Trinity International University, Deerfield, IL (2012)
Sense and Sensibility: A New Musical (with Joshua Tyra), excerpts produced by JASNA-NY at Manhattanville College’s “Inspired by Austen” conference (2010)
Blindside, directed by Laura Blegen, produced by Stockyards Theatre Project and Helen Balasny, Chicago, IL (2008)
Chicago Chronicle #1 (co-playwright), a documentary theatre project at American Theatre Company, Chicago, IL (2008)
The Book of Esther (children’s play), produced at Anshe Emet Synagogue, Chicago, IL (2006–2008)
Blindside, workshopped at Stage Left Theatre, Chicago, IL (2006)
I’m Coming In Soon, Young Playwrights, Inc. at the Cherry Lane Alternative, New York, NY (2000)

“The Marriages: The park,” What Are Birds? (2020)
“She walks behind the theater,” 8 Poems (2020)
“Mane,” Stone Canoe (2020)
“She takes a taxi,” PanoplyZine (2020)
“The Marriages: The remains,” Breakwater Review (2019)
“Vesuvius,” SWWIM (2019)
“Once on a Ghost Ship [8],” Stirring 20th Anniversary Issue (2019)
“She finds another country,” Glass Poetry’s “Poets Resist (2019)
“What We Wore,” Rogue Agent Journal (2019)
“Oceanpurian,” Glass Poetry’s “Poets Resist 2018 Midterm Elections Special Feature” (solicited submission, 2018)
“Once on a Ghost Ship [6],” Lavender Review (2018)
“Patterns of Attraction,” I Can Count to 10 (2018)
Vertex,” Lambda Literary Poetry Spotlight (2017)
The Marriages: The selkie” and “The Marriages: The marionette,” Midway Journal (2017)
Endings,” Glass Poetry‘s Pulsamos: LGBTQ Poets Respond to the Pulse Nightclub Shooting (2016)
Dislodged,” Amethyst Arsenic (2016)
“Protocol,” The Saint Ann’s Review (2016)
Cicadas,” Cider Press Review (2016)
“Ghost Stories” and “Barbara,” Iron Horse Literary Review (2016)
Bruised,” Sharkpack Poetry Review Annual (2016)
Searchlight,” Maps for Teeth (2015)
After coffee,” Incessant Pipe (2015)
“Privacy,” Bellevue Literary Review (2015)
All Creatures,” “My Cabin Never Leaks When It Doesn’t Rain,” and “Wanderings,” Maps for Teeth (2015)
“Stand Up Eight,” Jabberwock Review (2014)
Tulsa,” Cider Press Review (2014)
Straight Girls,” Stirring (2014)
“Thaw” and “Heat,” Hanging Loose 103 (2014)
“Make No Bones,” Belleville Park Pages 9 (2013)
Round” and “Mulberries,” Construction (2013)
It Isn’t Stillness,” “I Don’t Belong Here,” and “Luxury,” Tampa Review Online (2013)
“Thresh” (Pushcart Prize Nomination) and “Float,” Ballard Street Poetry Journal (2013)
“Strip Poker at the Arctic Circle,” Referential Magazine (2013)
“Landscaping,” Belleville Park Pages 4 (2013)
“Like His Hand,” “Three Sheets to the Wind,” “Later,” and “In the Bedroom,” PressBoardPress (2013)
“That’s Not Why,” Amethyst Arsenic (2013)
“All This,” Spry (2013)
“Considerations” and “Migration,” Lyre Lyre (2013)
“Ben and Andrew, 1992,” Blast Furnace Review (2013)
“Anaconda Sunrise,” Rufous City Review (2012)
“Yesterday and Australia”, Hanging Loose 100 (2012)
“Aubade,” Hanging Loose 99 (2011)
“Asbestosis,” The Saint Ann’s Review (2009)
“The Ventriloquist Poems,” The Saint Ann’s Review (2005)
“Not Going to Khayelitsha,” The Saint Ann’s Review (2003)
“As the Child Prodigy Grows Up,” “Porn,” and “Shooting the Rat,” Shooting the Rat, Hanging Loose Press (2003)
“Spring” and “I wore these pants,” Aubade (2003)
“Sometimes She Dissolves,” Euphony (2002)
“Porn” and “Shooting the Rat,” Hanging Loose 78 (2000)

Skin in the Game,” Breakwater Review (2018)
Devil’s Thumb,” Santa Fe Writers Project (2014)
“Mars (from Go Home Faster),” Elsewhere (2014)
“Home Repair (from Go Home Faster),” Printer’s Devil Review (2013)

“Francisco,” Condoms and Hot Tubs Don’t Mix: An Anthology of Awkward Sexcapades (Jennie Jarvis & Leslie Salas, eds.; 2018)
“The marriages: the tumors,” “The marriages: the deer,” and “Lycanopterror,” Sundress Publications’ Curious Specimens Anthology (2017)

“The Pedagogy of Amazement,” St. Ann’s 50th Anniversary Book (2016)
Cultural Critique, Sinners Creek Commission (2013-present)
“Inclusive Practices for Graduate Students with Disabilities: A Writing Coach Model” (with Eileen Connell Berger), NASPA Knowledge Communities (2013)
Arts Reviews, Elevate Difference (2009–2010)
“Proving It,” The Callback Podcast (2008)
Arts Reviews, Feminist Review (2007–2009)
“The Story of a Play,” Imagine … (2003)

An Evening with Printer’s Devil Review at Porter Square Books (2015)
Encyclopedia Show Somerville (2014)
Poetry Salon of Boston (2014)
Stone Soup Poetry, Cambridge, MA (2014)
It Just Got Weirdo: An Evening with Weirdo Records (2014)

“The Brighton Word Factory: Fun Collaborative Writing Exercises” (with Michael F. Gill, Susanna Kittredge, and Khaled Abdel Ghani), Massachusetts Poetry Festival (2014)

Nancy Fales Garrett
Claudia Allen
PJ Paparelli

Martin Skoble
Srikanth Reddy

Beth Bosworth
Richard Stern
Jane Avrich
Leah Stewart

What strikes me in particular about Cooper-Novack’s work is the way in which a compressed narrative seems to inflate into a miniature world as the poem unfolds. She has the capacity for creating not just astonishing images but for aerating them with a context that makes them literally ventilate this reader’s imagination.


writer and writing teacher

Gemma Cooper-Novack … wrote the astonishingly accomplished, low-key one-act drama [I’m Coming In Soon] that … is head and shoulders the best, most mature—also most moving—of the four works by young playwrights.

Jerry Tallmer

The Villager

Gemma Cooper-Novack['s] first appearance in Hanging Loose was as a Writer of High School Age, one of the magazine’s wonderful regular features. Back then, Cooper-Novack’s poem, “Shooting the Rat,” provided the title for HL’s third anthology of high school writing. In Hanging Loose 100, she contributes a fine poem on the malleability of experience in the mind, “Yesterday and Australia.”

John Palen

New Pages

Compassion, a perhaps underrated subject in contemporary lyrical poetry, gets a rollickingly twisted treatment in Cooper-Novack’s deft and slippery hands.


writer and writing teacher

It's the same in every war: soldiers disoriented by alien cultures commit deeds unthinkable in their own, and afterward face well-meaning families unable to comprehend their experience. This time, however, the returning veteran is a woman--a wife, sister, and mother-to-be whose homecoming is shattered when evidence comes to light of her participation in atrocities overseas. But playwright Gemma Cooper-Novack's articulate exploration of the issues doesn't seek convenient targets for blame, nor does the Stockyards Theatre Project stoop to sensationalism in its presentation. Instead, both strive to remind audiences that conflict in faraway lands is not without its repercussions right here at home.

Mary Shen Barnidge

Chicago Reader

Contact me to collaborate on writing, editing, education, and theater!

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