Friday, August 21, 2009
The Massachusetts Poetry Festival for 2009 has been established. This year -- our second! -- the Festival will start on the evening of Thursday October 15th with 7 simultaneous opening events in Boston, Worcester, New Bedford, Salem, Lowell, Amherst and the Berkshires. Then the Festival returns to downtown Lowell for two days.
During the day on Friday, the focus is on student poets with separate programs of workshops and readings for high school students, college undergraduate and MFA graduate poets. Friday evening there will be a music and poetry event in Lowell cosponsored by the Urban Village Arts Series with Michael Casey, Jessica Smith, Caleb Neelon, and Capoeira Rosa Rubra/Mestre Calango.
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Saturday from 11:00 AM to midnight, downtown Lowell will be filled with more than 35 readings, workshops, performances. There will be the second annual small press fair running all day. There will be an official opening and favorite poem reading at 11:00 AM. There will be readings by dozens of Massachusetts poets. There will be a sequential reading (and book signing) by all the Massachusetts poets with new full length books out in 2009. There will be haiku and dance, environmental themed readings, smaller hands on workshops (like this one, this one, and this one). Readings by acclaimed African American poets produced by Cave Canem and more readings by such poets as Ann Waldman, Afaa Weaver, Louise Gluck, Robert Pinsky, Franz Wright, Ellen Watson, Dara Wier, Erica Funkhauser, Joan Houlihan, Fred Marchant, Lisa Olstein and many, many more.
The evening will culminate with a nationally sanctioned Poetry Slam competition with a local Lowell team and an established Cambridge team taking on two national renowned NY team with the winner automatically getting a place in the National Slam Championships.
Sunday afternoon the Festival moves to the Boston Children's Museum for an afternoon of poetry for kids and families, featuring author/poet/illustrator Calef Brown and other performances and workshops designed for kids and their parents. The Festival closes in Cambridge with poetry and jazz, co-sponsored by Harvard's Woodberry Poetry Room and Adams House.
How much do tickets cost? $0, Zero, Nada, Free!
This year all the events are free. We need your support to make this possible. So we are asking all of you to make a donation. You do not have to. You will not be hounded into doing so. But we will give you the option when you sign up for an event to make a donation. Or you can make a donation to the Festival right now by clicking here. All donations are tax-deductible. We are still $6,500 short of the minimum we need to put on the 2009 Festival. Please make a donation, support Massachusetts Poetry and help us keep the Festival Free for everyone.
Important: Space is Limited. Reserve your seat now.
Especially in Lowell on Saturday, there is limited seating. If you will sign up for the events that you want to attend we will gurantee you a seat. The cost of the ticket: nothing. We do ask for a donation. We have had to guess at how many people will attend certain events. You can help us and yourself by signing up now to hold a seat - and getting your friends to so the same. We will hold your seat for you - and if too many people sign up we can move most events to a larger venue if and only if we know soon that more people want to attend it. So please sign up and get your friends to sign up for the events you want to attend. All of the workshops held in the Mogan Center on Saturday are limited to 15 participants. We will assign participation to them to the people who sign up in advance on a first come basis. So go through the schedule and sign up now for the events you want to attend. We've even got maps that will show you exactly where each event is being held.
Saturday in Lowell: Meet at Poetry Festival Central
On Saturday, with so many events being held throughout Lowell, we have created a central meeting place. Please come to the National Park Visitor Center at 256 Market Street. At the Visitor Center, there are all the basic necessities for your festival needs: bathrooms and space to meet your friends, greeters will provide maps & program books, and guides can assist you with finding your way to events or a good place for coffee, tea, lunch or dinner. Public parking is just down the street at the Market Street garage. You can read more on our directions and map page.
Thanks for everything -- and please, spread the word! Poetry is alive and well in Massachusetts -- see you in October!
The Massachuestts Poetry Festival Organizing Committee
Massachusetts Poetry Festival
Office of Cultural Affairs & Special Events