Monday, March 20, 2006

The Boston National Poetry Festival: Going on Six Years and Reaching Poetic Heights!

For the last 5 years, in April, (Poetry Month) I have participated in probably the most ambitious poetry event in the area: “The Boston National Poetry Festival.” This brainchild of Boston impresario, and “Tapestry of Voices,” founder Harris Gardner, will take place this year, as it has the last five years, at the Boston Public Library, Copley Square Branch, April8 and 9, 2006. Over fifty established and emerging poets will be reading as well as 15 1st and 2nd Grade students from the “Blessed Mother Theresa School,” of Dorchester, as well as students from the “Boston Latin High School.”

Each year Gardner, a man with a graying Einstein fro, and a generous amount of creative and nervous energy, manages to raise the funds and organize this Herculean effort, much to the admiration of the poetry community.

Gardner told me in a recent conversation we had that he will have several new poets in the lineup such as: James R. Whitley, Simmons College Literature Professor Afaa Michael Weaver, Endicott English Professor Dan Sklar, Stone Soup Poetry Coordinator Chad Parenteau, and Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Jorie Graham. Somerville will be represented with C. D. Collins, Lesley University lecturer Suzanne E. Berger and yours truly.

Gardner told me that he got a late start this year, but was able to raise the funds to keep the festival alive. He plans to include an open mic, and he is excited about student readings he has planned. As always there will be a book table. Gardner told me that it does a brisk business and people often get the featured poets to sign their books.

Although Gardner is better known as a poetry activist; he is an accomplished poet as well. He was a featured reader at the “Somerville News Writers Festival,” and has a number of collections and magazine publication to his credit such as: The Harvard Review, Ibbetson Street, Vallum, Aurorean, to name just a few… As Gardner told me: “I consider myself a poet first and foremost.”
The Boston National Poetry Festival starts on Saturday at 10A.M. (BPL-Copley sq. Branch) Sunday at 1PM. For more info go to:

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