Friday, July 07, 2017

33 IBBETSON STREET: The Orange House Down the Block

City of Poets Anthology--produced at 33 Ibbetson St. ( Don DiVecchio, Richard Wilhem and Doug Holder editors  1998  (Click on pic to enlarge)

 I sent this small piece to the Somerville 175th Birthday History Project and it will be on display with many others at the Somerville Public Library--and possibly on their website...

33 IBBETSON STREET: The Orange House Down the Block

By Doug Holder 

Back in 1994 I decided to give up my small, rent-controlled flat in the Republic of Cambridge, to get married. My wife Dianne said, " I am convinced you loved me, because you gave up a rent-controlled apartment for me." As it turns out rent control was soon to be abolished, and there was a mass exodus to Somerville--where -- if you can believe it--rents were cheap. But moving to Ibbetson Street and Somerville proved to be the best move we made. At 33 Ibbetson Street--we had a huge apartment, with a parlor, dining room, large kitchen, a bedroom and a study. It was there the idea of idea of the Ibbetson Street Press was birthed. We started this press in 1998--and threw a party where many people from the community and small literary presses gathered. We got coverage in the Boston Globe and other local papers. That unassuming, orange house--will always have special meaning to me... the heated editorial meetings, the documentary that was filmed there, the late night sessions getting the books and magazines ready for print--the City of  Poets anthology we put out --with a diverse group of poets like the late Jack Powers, Don DiVecchio, Aldo Tambellini, Linda Conte, Richard Cambridge, Askia Toure, Harris Gardner and many others. I wrote my first book introduction, and helped mediate the many differences that these talented folks had with the anthology and each other. In 2001 we moved to 25 School Street--just outside Union Square. These were the most productive years--we produced books, and we are releasing our 41st issue of the Ibbetson Street magazine. We couldn't have done it without our great landlords David Myers and Patricia Wild--who are supporters of the arts--and have given us a break on the rent--so we can still afford to live in Somerville. During this time I was able to help get the Poet Laureate position up and running in Somerville, I have an arts column in The Somerville Times, and for years have had a TV show, Poet to Poet/Writer toWriter on Somerville Community Access TV. I think this all happened because I moved to Somerville--where all these opportunities are available. On the rare occasion that I pass that unassuming, orange house on Ibbetson Street, I can picture that group of  Ibbetson poets sitting on the front steps--gazing out into the street--probably contemplating another poem...

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