Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cambridge Chronicle > Arts & Lifestyle
Poets come for coffee, bagels, and community

By Shanti Sadtler/ CorrespondentThursday,

March 2, 2006 An eclectic community of local poets is sprouting in the basement of a local Finagle A Bagel.

"[I] come out of isolation, to connect, make relationships with other creative people," said IRENE KORONAS, a member of Breaking Bagels with the Bards. "It's brought me back to life again."
Koronas is the group's "word catcher," meaning she records interesting words and phrases during the meetings.
Breaking Bagels with the Bards is a group of professors, professionals, artists and writers bonded by their interest in poetry.
Members attend to exchange information on performance venues, new books and upcoming poetry readings. Through the connections made at Finagle, members, such as MATT ROSENTHAL, have had their work published.
"This is my publishing crowd right here, but it wasn't intentional," he said.
Rosenthal, an Internet advertising sales representative, was unpublished when he joined about six months ago, and now his poetry has appeared in contemporary anthologies.
By 10 a.m., a record 24 people squeeze around four pushed-together tables, taking up about half of the otherwise empty basement. Groups between two and four people chat about their most recent projects, such as a book or a Web site. The table quickly becomes a mess of colorful photocopied fliers, newspapers, business cards, books, coffee cups and water bottles. Co-founder HARRIS GARDNER sells an assortment of poetry books out of a plastic shopping bag.
DOUG HOLDER said he founded the group March 2005 with Gardener because the university-centered Cambridge poetry community was exclusive.
"The poetry world here in Cambridge is very cliquish. You're either in the university, or you're out," Holder said.
Holder's group includes all levels of poets, from professors to the unpublished. There are currently about 32 members, 10 of whom attend regularly, and new members join every week.
"It's getting bigger and bigger every week. We're having to move more tables around," Koronas said.
Breaking Bagels with the Bards is open to all and meets every Saturday at 9 a.m. in the Harvard Square Finagle A Bagel basement.

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