Monday, January 30, 2017

The Hastings Room Reading Series Welcomes Cambridge’s Poets Populist Payack, Joachim, Bee and Gallucio on Tuesday February 7th

Lo Galluccio

Jean Dany Joachim

Toni Bee

Peter Payack

At 7pm on Tuesday February 7th, at First Church Cambridge, 11 Garden Street, the Hastings Room Reading Series will be holding a special event to celebrate and remember the Cambridge Poet Populist program, which supported a “Poet Populist” designated to engage the community with the art of poetry. From 2007 to 2015 four Cambridge poets held the honored position: Peter Payack (2007-2009), Jean-Dany Joachim (2009-2011), Toni “Bee” Brooks (2011-2013) and Lo Galluccio (2013-2015).
The program, modeled in part on Seattle Washington’s Poet Populist project, was initiated by City Councilor Brian Murphy in 2007 and launched in the same year. The “Populist” idea differed from other cities’ Poet Laureate programs in that the poet was not appointed by the City but rather voted in by the community. The Poetry Populist program was streamlined by Cambridge Arts in 2015 into the Poetry Ambassador program, which promotes seasonal poetry events curated by different poets.
While the Ambassador program continues to engage the public with the art through public readings organized by talented area poets, the Poet Populist program will be remembered for bringing Cambridge residents in on the election and promotion of the four exceptional poets mentioned above. These poets have been invited to the Hastings Room Reading Series at First Church to read from their poetry and to remember highlights of their tenure as the city’s leading voices in poetry.
The Hastings Room Reading Series, established in 2014 by Steven Brown and Michael Steffen, has hosted many of the area’s leading poets, including Martha Collins, David Ferry, Fred Marchant, Joan Houlihan, Daniel Tobin, Marc Vincenz, David Blair, Doug Holder, Gloria Mindock and Pulitzer Prize poet Franz Wright. The readings are free and open to the public.
Please come join us. Here are our readers, with a little information about them.
Toni “Bee” Brooks is a writer, poet & photographer. Poet Populist of Cambridge from 2011-2013, and a Board Member at Cambridge Community Television, she is a public speaker, event host, and a Teaching Artist specializing in poetry workshops for teenagers and adults.

Lo Galluccio, Poet Populist from 2013 to 2015, is also a memoirist and vocalist. Her published work includes a chapbook, Hot Rain (2004) from Ibbetson Street Press, a prose-poem memoir, Sarasota VII (2010) published by Cervena Barva Press and available at the Grolier bookstore. A second chapbook, Terrible Baubles (2012) was released by Cervena Barva with a CD of the same title – a collaboration with pianist Eric Zinman and cellist Jane Wang. Galluccio is a graduate of Harvard, and has studied at the Goodman School of Drama and the Berklee School of Music.

Jean Dany Joachim, Cambridge Poet Populist from 2009 to 2011, and the current Poet in Residence at First Church in Cambridge, is also an author of short stories and plays. He created the Many Voices Project, a series of readings and follow-up poetry workshops, inspiring conversations about race and equality. He has three published collection of poetry, Crossroads / Chimenkwaze (2013), Avec des Mots (2014), and Quartier (2016). He is the director of City Night Readings, a series featuring diverse poetic talents, writers and artists. Jean Dany teaches at Bunker Hill Community College.

Peter Payack was the first Poet Populist of Cambridge from 2007 to 2009. He has been published widely, including in The Paris Review, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and The Boston Globe. Payack is also an inventor, notably of the world-renowned Stonehenge Watch™, an infinitesimal replica of the megaliths at Stonehenge inside of an old-fashioned pocket watch. He has taught at The Berklee College of Music, University of Massachusetts Lowell and UMass Online.

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