Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Attention Somerville Poets and Poetry Lovers: The Mass. Poetry Festival!

By Doug Holder

 Well it is poetry month, and although T.S. Eliot characterized it as the cruelest month, it is not for poets. I mean our landscape is littered with poetry events. For the past few years I have been on the Advisory Board for the Mass. Poetry Festival, that started in Lowell, Mass. and since has moved to Salem, Mass. Mike Ansara , who founded the festival, January O'Neil and Jennifer Jean as well as countless others have nurtured the festival in impressive ways. From April 20 to 22 there are a plethora of events in Salem that you can enjoy: readings, music events, slams, a  small press fair, and the beat goes on.  The website for the said Festival is: Below is an article from the website of the Mass. Poetry Festival that gives you valuable information. Hope to see you there!


The fourth Massachusetts Poetry Festival will be held Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, April 20–22, in historic Salem. The three-day event, which will bring 1,500 poets and poetry lovers to the city, will showcase a variety of extraordinary local and regional poets, and engage the public through poetry readings, interactive workshops, panel discussions, music, film and visual arts, and performances geared toward a diverse statewide audience.

  • Readings by emerging and nationally recognized poets including:
    • Friday Night: Robert Pinsky, Major Jackson, & Maggie Dietz
    • Saturday Night: Sherwin Bitsui, Nikky Finney, Wesley McNair, & Joy Harjo
    • Sunday afternoon: Frank Bidart, Martha Collins, & Stephen Dunn
  • An exciting lineup of programming created by the Peabody Essex Museum
  • An expansive Small Press Fair
  • A Literary Magazine Fair
  • Poetry slams
  • Poetry-inspired music performances and visual arts
  • A poetry train from Boston to Salem to provide both transportation and another venue for poetry
“The Massachusetts Poetry Festival will bring a blizzard of verbal beauty to Salem, a city with a rich literary history and vibrant writing community. It will connect generations, and it will give the city and the university a leadership role in building culture in the Commonwealth,” said J.D. Scrimgeour, poet and professor of English at Salem State University. “The Poetry Festival is evidence of the vitality of the fundamental, central art of poetry,” said Robert Pinsky, former poet laureate of the United States and the honorary chair of the poetry festival.

This year’s festival follows a variety of small events across the state organized by schools, libraries, and bookstores in April as part of National Poetry Month.

For National Poetry Month, Mass Poetry will:

  • Produce Common Threads, a set of poems by Massachusetts poets to be read throughout March and April by schools, colleges, public libraries, book clubs, community poetry reading series, etc.
  • Produce a kit that includes the poems in text form, in audio form, a guide to reading and discussing each poem and several essays about each poem

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