Contributors Issue #4 2019

Robert M. Mendonsa

Rob was born in Lowell, Massachusetts. Since early adolescence he began fostering an overly-active and grotesque imagination in the wetlands and forested fells of New England, often blurring the lines between reality and fantasy through the mediums of art and storytelling. He is frequently inspired by the indifference of nature and the nebulous void, seeking to overcome the deep-seated nihilism that lingers behind every rock, stream, and river of his dark muse. He currently resides in Massachusetts, where he spends his most private moments reading, writing, and seeking remote groves in the forests still untouched by the presence of man. When unshaken by his compulsory desires for solitude, he also spends his time working towards a degree in English, ruminating about life with close companions, and spending time with his significant other.     

Julia Martyn

My earliest recollection of writing goes back to my childhood, as a three-year-old, scribbling and drawing with crayons that my parents gave me for Christmas. I think I’ve been doing pretty much the same ever since. DRR is a positive experience for any student to voice their words, to have somebody listen to their poems and stories is a noble effort. It’s also a worthy one. American Poet James Tate is a poet that I particularly admire because I consider him to be a poet of “possibilities” and surprising consequences, lovely or disastrous, and I believe these phenomena exist everywhere. I always return to Tate’s poetry when I want to be reminded afresh of the possibilities of poetry. I also love singer & song writer Neil Young whom I consider to be one of the most influential songwriters and guitarists of his time. I particularly love his songs, “Old man,” “Harvest Moon,” “Heart of Gold,” and one I’m currently learning on guitar, “Four Strong Winds.” Other interests include humanitarian efforts, environmental issues, farming, and my eternal love of music and nature. I have endured thanks to love of family and friends through good time and bad times.

Karie Ociepka

“Papa the Jungle Warrior,” written and illustrated by Graphic Design student, Karie Ociepka, was inspired by true events that happened while living in Hawaii. Being a Graphic Design and Art student has given her the tools to give life to her imagination, stories, and illustrations. Staying inspired by her surroundings is how she experiences and creates art! In addition to Graphic Design, Karie creates art with paint, pastels, and charcoal. Combining mediums to create style has been one of her specialties. Another way Karie explores art is by designing and making nature inspired jewelry. Visit to see what else she makes!  

Zach Rahed

I fell in love with the art of poetry and prose as a maturing adolescent and If not for my mother and her mother’s intellectual heirlooms that were conferred to me, I would not have been able to find meaning and purpose in this turbulent world of ours. Therefore, I am forever indebted to those brilliant ancestors who showed humankind the true elixir of life, which is art.

Timothy Bleeker

Tim Bleecker is an expert dilettante, a paragon of mediocrity who dabbles in volleyball, art, cycling, and poetry. He has also been known to teach at Middlesex and Quinsigamond Community Colleges, repairing comma splices and binding up sentence fragments. He studied under semi-famous poet Philip Levine in graduate school and once spotted Seamus Heaney eating potato soup.

Amanda Bordenca

My name is Amanda Bordenca and I work as a Cybersecurity EDP Systems Analyst here at Middlesex Community College.  I graduated in 2017 from the I.T Cybersecurity program and have worked for the Technology Center and S.T.E.M Division.  I enjoy writing when I get a chance and being involved with the community here at Middlesex Community College.

Raymond Anganes

I am a twenty year old Chemistry major from Dracut, Massachusetts, but writing has always been my creative outlet. For over seven years now I’ve worked on a huge number of fiction and nonfiction projects for my own satisfaction. I take a great deal of inspiration from Ray Bradbury’s short story anthologies and from the world around me, since I enjoy spending a good deal of time out in nature. Much of my work is very much focused on things of nature or the universe at large, whether that is expressed through fictional folk legends, unconventional adventures deep in the void of space, or any other strange setting I can come up with- creating a snapshot of an alien setting filled with familiar faces is one of my favorite pastimes.

Michelle Davis

Michelle has written two poems for this issue of Dead River Review!

M.J. Bujold

MJ Bujold is a Lowell based artist, photographer and budding writer. Ms Bujold enrolled in Middlesex Community college in 2018 in search of clarity. She sought to discover a way of blending her many creative interests into one expression and needed assistance to do so. A year and a half later, after what she calls “Goldilocks and the Three Semesters,” she has found a synthesis that satisfies her. Visual artist, street performer, abstract photographer, and now writer, she feels confident that she can create something that is uniquely and authentically hers and is ready to present it to the world. Ms. Bujold would like to especially thank Prof. Joe Nardoni for believing in her before she believed in herself and guiding her to see what she could not see.

Destiny Donahue

Destiny Donahue is a student at Middlesex Community College. She is mostly introverted but give her anything caffeinated and she will most likely talk to you if you approach her slowly. She is going to school to get a degree in Creative Writing. She is currently writing her first book. If Destiny is seen reading, do not disturb her. There is a great chance she will throw something.

Alizeh Khawaja

Alizeh is a Creative Writing Major finishing up her last semester at MCC. She will be continuing her degree at UMass Amherst in the fall. She is 20 years old who loves to play with words and aspires to make people feel something with her own. A lover of disparate books and poetry; she enjoys writing on rainy days the most. 

Kenneth Brown

Kenneth Brown is a student here at Middlesex Community College and is 22 years old. He enjoys drawing still lives and comics in his spare time as well as using unreal engine to make small entertaining 3D videogames. He takes inspiration from traditional artists, mechanical devices, and nature. He is currently majoring in Engineering technology.

Tori Kingston

Tori’s photography is featured on the front page in this issue of Dead River Review!

Abigail Duffer

Abigail is a psychology major at Middlesex. One thing about her is that she always has her headphones in listening to music. She enjoys creative writing, and is currently working on a piece called Betrayal, and another one called Hidden Secrets.

Olivia Agostini

Olivia is allegedly 20 years old, and an English major with a focus in Creative Writing. Her hope is to one day become a successful sci-fi/fantasy author and publish her first book, Hijacking Halcyon. She also enjoy singing and painting, as well as spending time with family and friends. Secretly, she gets a sick thrill out of editing (roasting) other people’s writing.

Cullen Malone

Cullen Malone is a totally glammed out musician who also happens to dabble in the dark arts… the dark arts of CREATIVE WRITING!!! (dun dun dun!) He has this neo-’80s New Romantic project called Boutique, where he uses the stage name Robin Rouge. He plays synths and drum machines in Boutique, along with writing the music (but not the lyrics, because pens melt whenever they reach his delicate, nail polished hands.) He also plays drums in the bands Mad Painter and Forsake Not Me, as well as being the world’s only drummer who prefers the sound of drum machines to his own playing. He got involved in Dead River Review because he supports people having a place where they can review dead rivers.

Tom Laughlin

Tom is a professor at Middlesex Community College where he teaches Creative Writing, Literature, and Composition courses and coordinates the MCC Visiting Writers Series.  He was a founding editor of Vortext, a literary journal of Massasoit Community College, and a staff reader for ten years at Ploughshares.  His poetry has appeared in Green Mountains ReviewIbbetson StreetMuddy River Poetry ReviewNorth Essex ReviewHowth CastleMiddlesex Magazine, and other small journals and magazines.

Katie Durant
Katie is an adjunct professor at Middlesex Community College. A compulsive reader, obsessive grammarian, and professional word-smith, she is also a freelance writer, tutor, and editor. Having graduated from Middlesex, Wellesley, and Bennington colleges, Katie has many friends who are good for trivia and a rousing game of scrabble. Her work has appeared in “The Citron Review,” “The James Franco Review,” “The Voices Poetry Project,” and others. She looks forward to being a crotchety cat lady well into her eighties.

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