Thursday, March 08, 2007

Doug Holder, Harris Gardner and Jennifer Matthews At Squawk March 15 9 PM

Featured Poets

Doug Holder

Harris Gardner

Jennifer Matthews

A Talk with Squawk
February 18, 2005 by Doug Holder
Somerville News

On any given day, at the Sherman Cafe, in Union Square, you are bound to run into any number of poets, writers, and artists nursing their respective cups of java.

On this particular Saturday I ran into the former owner of House of Sarah Books in Inman Sq. and June Gross who co-wrote the play “The Dangers of Empathy.” But, who I was really waiting for was Lee Kidd and Jessa Lynne, of the “Squawk Coffeehouse,” a long-time venue of music, poetry and performance housed at the Harvard Epworth Methodist Church just outside Harvard Square.

Since 1988, the coffeehouse has presented such folks as the poet/writer Ed Sanders, the singer and 60’s activist John Sinclair, the jazz musician and Kerouac confidant David Amram, and a host of local poets and musicians. Their other brainchild is “Squawk Magazine” an art and poetry journal that they have put out with artist/poet Mick Cusimano and others. There are 57 issues of the print magazine, and now “Squawk” is solely online, but a new print run may be in the works.

Lee Kidd, one of the founders of the “Squawk” enterprise, is decidedly a Renaissance man. Since 1976, he has owned and operated a language school in Harvard Square that specializes in foreign language immersion. Kidd is not just a self-educated bohemian. He attended Harvard Divinity School; he is a Fulbright scholar, and has been published in “The New Yorker.”

Jessa Lynne has an equally fascinating background. Originally from the Milwaukee area; she moved here looking for a counterculture venue when she heard of the “Naked City,” an earlier incarnation of “Squawk,” which was located at the “Allston Mall” in Allston. “I was impressed with the warm and open environment,” she said. Since then, she has graced the stage at “Squawk.” She has performed skits, political satire, dance and other modes of expression.
Lynne works at Harvard, and also has a gig where she portrays historical figures like Susan B. Anthony, Emilia Earhart, and other notable women, at libraries and schools in the area. Kidd said that “Squawk” has changed a lot from 1988 to 2005. Before it was basically music and poetry, now there is anything from jugglers to book signings, he said. “We are more eclectic now. We have a coffeehouse consciousness, a mix of people from the homeless to Harvard professors,” he said.

Kidd and Lynne are optimistic for the future of “Squawk.” Kidd said, “There will a great golden age of music and poetry in the third millennium, and we'll be part of it.” “Squawk” meets every Thursday night at 9 p.m. at the Harvard Epworth Methodist Church, 1555 Mass. Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge. More information is available at

SQUAWK Coffeehouse, an open-mike venue for musicians, poets, & other performing artists.

Every Thursday night, from 9:00 pm to 12 midnight,
located in the Harvard Epworth Methodist Church, 1555 Mass. Ave., Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA (between Harvard & Porter Squares, right next to Harvard Law School's Pound Hall), or call (617) 776-3625.

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