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Apr 232017
 

Poetry is a bouquet, and just as a bouquet of flowers may be filled with colors, shapes, and scents, so to is a poem a blend of words, rhythms, and sounds. This will be evident May 5-7th when the 9th annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival welcomes many of America’s most admired poets to a celebration of Massachusetts’ lively contemporary poetry scene in historic downtown Salem, MA

The Mass Poetry Festival offers nearly 100 poetry readings and workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, and open-air readings. Panel topics range broadly from The State of Poetry, poetry and gender, poetry and aging, book publishing, and children’s poetry.

Of special note, on Friday, May 5, MPF will host a “Student Day of Poetry” in which 300 high school students from across the Commonwealth study with acclaimed poets and instructors to discover their own unique voice.

Throughout the weekend, you are also invited to absorb the thoughts and expressions of acclaimed poets such as: Pulitzer-prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück, Guggenheim fellow Eileen Myles, Kazim Ali, Andrea Cohen, Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic, Ross Gay, Rigoberto González, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Emily Pettit, Tom Sleigh, and Dara Wier.

For a full breakdown of the schedule go to the MPF site.

As example of the diversity:

Friday from 1:15- 2:15pm at Old Town Hall (second floor) 32 Derby Square, a relatively new genre of music known as Post Rock will be combined with poetry and in so doing create “Post Rock Poetry.” Grounded in 1980’s and 90’s indie rock music, it is primarily instrumental, guitar, base, drums, and keyboard, with few lyrics. Typically, post rock pieces are lengthy and may contain, “… repetitive build ups of timbre, dynamics and texture.” (Wikipedia, 9/11/2016.) Because Post Rock seldom has lyrics, it lends itself to the creation of Post Rock Poetry that can explore the quest for a peace, understanding, and rising above hostilities and misfortune. In short, it rings with hope.

Then Friday evening, two of the finest poets writing today— the award-winning Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil— will present from 7:30–9 p.m. in the Atrium of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Saturday afternoon will feature a musical performance by Cornelius Eady and his band Rough Magic, blending poetry and music at the Peabody Essex Museum. Headline poets Andrea Cohen, Tom Sleigh, Kazim Ali, and Rigoberto González will read throughout the day at the Peabody Essex Museum, celebrating the diversity and common threads among us all.

Saturday evening will feature award-winning poet and novelist Eileen Myles, 7:30–9 p.m. at The Bridge at 211. After her reading, she will be interviewed by WBUR’s celebrated host Christopher Lydon. Eileen Myles demonstrates the extraordinary possibilities of poetry to reveal the personal and political experiences of American life.

Venues

  • Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex Street
  • Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square
  • Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square
  • Museum Place Mall, 1 E India Square Mall, New Liberty Charter School, Rooms 1-4 (on second floor)
  • The Bridge at 211 (Universalist Unitarian Church), 211 Bridge St
  • Howling Wolf, 76 Lafayette Street

From the beginning, the goals of Mass Poetry have been to “support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, to build new audiences for poetry, and to make poetry more accessible for those who need it most—often those who have the least access to it.” By bringing it to the streets and venues in Salem Ma, accessible to residents and visitors, the poetic bouquet of words, rhythms, and sounds can be enjoyed by so many more. You are invited to be among them.

Admission is $20, and $7 for students & seniors; an additional $10 service fee is charged for all workshops.

For additional info on The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, contact January Gill O’Neil at january@masspoetry.org.

(Photo courtesy of Creative Salem)

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Apr 292016
 

MPF16+BannerWe understand, you worked on Friday and missed the first day of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. But fear not, ’tis more than one day in length. It will be shared among attendees on Saturday and Sunday of this weekend!

Here are a couple of links you might want to keep handy when you arrive. There is a lot going on, so be prepared to make some choices.

Not only are there many, many speakers. But they are also quite a diverse group.

Another interesting twist on a poetry festival is The Small Press and Literary Fair which takes place outside of the Peabody Essex Museum on Saturday. You will most likely find materials from literary journals, library organizations, university libraries and academic programs. Venues

And just where does this grand festival take place in Salem? Perhaps ask where it is not. Seriously…

  • Peabody Essex Museum, 161 Essex St.
  • Salem Five Community Room, 210 Essex St.
  • Hawthorne Hotel, 18 Washington Square, W.
  • Old Town Hall, 32 Derby Square
  • New Liberty Charter School, Museum Place Mall, 1 E. India Square Mall
  • The Bridge at 211, 211 Bridge St.
  • Howling Wolf, 76 Lafayette St.

For a larger version of map go to  www.masspoetry.org/venues-2016.

According to the Festival website “We encourage those who have the means, to add a donation to their button purchase to help us continue to offer the festival experience at a low price.”

It is a worthy cause.

Roger Housden, author and public speaker, has said in an edition of the Huffington Post “Poetry at its best calls forth our deep being. It dares us to break free from the safe strategies of the cautious mind; it calls to us, like the wild geese, as Mary Oliver would say, from an open sky. It is a magical art, and always has been — a making of language spells designed to open our eyes, open our doors and welcome us into a bigger world, one of possibilities we may never have dared to dream of.”

But this weekend you may dare dream and experience. Visit Salem and you will hear and see poetry come alive at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

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Apr 302015
 

Poetry is the spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings: it takes its origin from emotion recollected in tranquility. — William Wordsworth

Keep those words in mind as you read, hear, sample, immerse and explore the words of participants to the 7th annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival,  which takes place this weekend, May 1-3, in various venues of downtown Salem.

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival showcases nearly 100 poetry readings and workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, visual arts, and open-air performances. Panel topics range broadly from the state of poetry, poetry and gender, book publishing, and modernism in contemporary art, to the Common Threads Reading, where contemporary poets with Massachusetts ties discuss their literary connections. More than 150 local and nationally known poets engage with thousands of New Englanders each year.

This year is no different, as among the scheduled are : Rita Dove, Richard Blanco, Stephen Burt, Denise Duhamel, Nick Flynn, Regie Gibson, Jorie Graham, Richard Hoffman, Adrian Matejka, Marge Piercy, and Rachel Wiley.

For a full schedule click here.

Over 1500 friends of poetry attended last year’s festival. As Robert Pinsky, a three time U.S. poet laureate and a College of Arts & Sciences professor of English has stated, poems should be spoken, not just read. The medium is the reader’s voice

Come here to hear the voices.

For more information, go to http://www.masspoetry.org/aboutthefestival/

And as a little extra… The Top Ten “Reasons” to Attend the 2015 Massachusetts Poetry Festival:

10. Richard Blanco and Rita Dove have read to America–now they’ll read to you.

9. There are many festivals, but Mass Poetry stanza lone.

8. A poetry carnival! Step right up, readers and writers!

7. Mass Poetry: Cute as a (festival) button!

6. If it’s not like something else, then what’s metaphor?

5. Poetry Smack Down: Cape Ann vs Cape Cod Poets

4. Giant Scrabble! Mad Libs! Poems about dirt!

3. If you really dig poetry, you’ll like The Golden Shovel.

2. After this winter, you deserve a little beauty.

And the #1 reason to attend the 2015 Massachusetts Poetry Festival…

Because “This is what it sounds like when Dove rhymes.”

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Apr 292014
 

Mass PoetryLetters become words, words become phrases, and phrases become ideas. Then gifted writers craft it all into messages for poems. Those writers, words and poems will be honored later this week as the annual Massachusetts Poetry Festival will be held from May 2 – 4 in downtown Salem.

Participating poets include Kim Addonizio, Lucie Brock-Broido, Rafael Campo, Oliver de la Paz, Carol Ann Duffy, Cornelius Eady, Rhina Espaillat, Forrest Gander, David Ferry, Li-Young Lee, Philip Levine, Marge Piercy, Susan Rich, Vivian Shipley, and C. D. Wright.

But more than just poems though, the Festival also offers workshops, panels, readings, music, visual arts presentations, and a book fair featuring small presses and literary magazines.

As stated on the Mass Poetry website: “It’s a perfect time to celebrate poetry, meet up with old friends that share your love of words, and make new friends.”

To find out more about the Festival go to their website.

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