Sunday, March 31, 2019

Boston National Poetry Month Festival, 2019 Now, with more music!

Thea Hopkins: A few guitar lengths from Somerville

Boston National Poetry Month Festival, 2019

Now, with more music!

By Kirk Etherton

This year's Festival is April 3-7 (see website below). As a Somerville resident, poet, and musician, I always enjoy writing about it from a "Somerville perspective." This year's photo is—for a change—of an artist who lives just over the line, but still in "Camberville." (Or is it "Somerbridge?")

Thea has released several CDs, and tours extensively. On Saturday, April 6, she'll bring her uniquely fine singing and guitar playing to the Commonwealth Salon, in Boston Public Library, Copley Square. As in previous years, this is where much of the Festival takes place.

Saturday is the Festival's biggest day, and it includes lots of Somerville folks. Doug Holder, founder and publisher of "Ibbetson Street Press," will start with a tribute to Sam Cornish, Boston's first Poet Laureate. Somerville resident, poet, and State Rep. Denise Provost is a featured reader.

Lloyd Schwartz, the City's newest Poet Laureate (plus a Pulitzer Prize-winning music critic), will share his poetry—as well as other creative observations. Our former Poet Laureate, Gloria Mindock, is also a publisher: when I host the "Panel on Craft and Publishing," she'll have many insights to share.

Berklee professor Lucy Holstedt (yes, of Somerville) will read some of her own poetry, and provide piano accompaniment for a number of other featured readers. Lucy also produces the Festival's always-popular "Evening of Poetry, Music & Dance," which this year is Thursday, April 4.

The New England Poetry Club was founded over 100 years ago. Hear what the NEPC is up to these days, from Somervillians Hilary Sallick (Vice President) and Linda Conte (Treasurer)—plus Mary Buchinger, President.

Sunday at the Commonwealth Salon, Somerville singer-songwriter Madelyn Holley, age seven, will probably be making her third Festival appearance. (Last year, she performed a really good song about fish.) The great claw hammer banjo player Yani Batteau, who was a City resident for years, will perform a number of original and other songs.

Oh...and Somerville's incomparable Bert Stern will be one of 10 Keynote Poets I'll have the honor of hosting at the BPL on Friday afternoon.

Somerville establishments that generously help to make this a FREE festival include: the UPS Store & Business Center on Somerville Avenue; Siam Ginger Thai Cuisine; and Master Printing & Signs.

Thanks also to Market Basket, for helping to promote the Festival. (You can probably find one of the Festival's fine printed programs at the front of the store.)

These are all great local businesses I've relied on for years. Special thanks to the Sater family: without them, we wouldn't have the Arts at the Armory (or The Middle East Restaurants & Nightclubs, over in Central Square.)

Don't forget to take a good look:

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