Monday, May 14, 2018

Grolier Poetry Book Shop Poetry Festival June 2, 2018

I interviewed Francine LaChance at the Bloc 11 Cafe about the Grolier Poetry Festival coming up this Saturday.  LaChance wrote a small piece about this important poetry event for Off the Shelf in The Somerville Times.

The Grolier Poetry Festival Brings Poetry, Music, Dance, and Dramatic Performances to the Street, Saturday, May 19, 2018, 12noon–8pm
 The Poetry Festival is one in a series of 90th Year Celebrations, and includes an exciting lineup of readings and performances, while featuring new collaborations with local organizations, workshops for children and adults, and a preview of future events.  This event is free and open to the public. 

The Grolier Poetry Festival will be held on Plympton Street, between Mass Avenue and Bow Street. Board Member and Poet Lloyd Schwartz will open the children’s hour, which will feature scene selections from Twelfth Night, performed by Boston Shakespeare Project, Shakespeare in Motion, followed by interactive segments, word play and a Q&A. X. J. Kennedy, will read children’s poetry, from his own work, and poems written by close Grolier poet friends from Elise Paschen’s anthology, Poetry Speaks to Children. He will also read later in the program. A poetry writing workshop for children will be held from 1-3pm. 

Proprietor and Director, Poet and Philosopher Ifeanyi Menkiti will give opening remarks at 1pm. David Ferry will lead an impressive lineup of poets, reading from his poetry and translations, followed by Kathleen Spivack, Lloyd Schwartz, Lillian Yvonne Bertram, and many great local poets. Dramatic performances will include Jim Vrabel, performing from John Berryman’s The Dream Songs, and Michael Mack, performing from Hearing Voice, Speaking in Tongues. Jimmy Tingle will make a guest appearance. 
Stan Strickland will play the saxophone and James Kamal Jones will play the drums from 3:40–4:10pm. They will both accompany Ifeanyi Menkiti while he reads one of his poems. Our performances include dance and music with poetry, and Audrey Harrer playing the harp. We will also feature Joe Burgio, Ensemble Inedit: Poetry, Song and Dance by performers from Turkey, Brazil, and Israel.

Diana Norma Szokolyai will read and perform with members of the Cambridge Writers' Workshop and lead a workshop based on CREDO: An Anthology of Manifestos & Sourcebook for Creative Writing. a newly released book that she and Rita Banerjee edited. Whiskey Radish, who has worked at Ryles Jazz Club for over 20 years, will sketch throughout the day,  and and she and Philip O’Brien take photographs.

Lloyd Schwartz and Joyce Peseroff  will read poems and essays by Donald Hall, a dear friend of the Grolier who also turns 90 later this year. Readings will include excerpts from A Carnival of Losses: Notes Nearing Ninety, which will be released in July, and poems by Mr. Hall’s late wife, Jane Kenyon. 

Future events with Grolier poet friends will be previewed, including: Frank Bidart, Robert Pinsky, Tino Villanueva, Peter Balakian, Robert Perkins, David Ferry, Jim Vrabel, and Michael Mack.

We will conclude our Festival with a special video presentation of Ifeanyi Menkiti’s title and signature poem, Before a Common Soil, an original composition by George Emlen, Former Music Director of Revels for over 30 years, performed by the Revels chorus and musicians.

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