Take Time for Your Own Writing and Support a Small Business

Photograph of a hand writing in a notebook.

Wherever you are, I hope that you are weathering well and staying safe and healthy during this pandemic. I’ve found it quite stressful, especially as my partner works in an emergency room. He takes precautions when he comes home, but I worry about him every day. For myself, I work from home regularly but I miss the days when I do go in to see my colleagues.

On the bright side, I’ve been getting outside for more walks than ever before (staying six feet away from everyone, of course) and have been especially grateful for Zoom, which helps me feel more connected to friends and colleagues than the phone alone does. In some ways, this physical distancing has meant that I reach out and connect with good friends even more than before.

If you are looking for some additional connection, please consider joining me for an online generative writing workshop. A new creative space called Create Art in Community just opened in Roslindale Square in February. I was delighted to connect with Gena Mavuli and to offer this course in her studio. As with many small businesses, closing has created some real difficulties for her–especially since it’s such a new business. She asked me to take the class online. We will use the five senses and other prompts to grow new seedlings in our very own garden of words. Feedback for these new first drafts will be exclusively positive. A few spots remain. Please consider signing up, to support your own writing practice and also a small, local business.

The two-hour workshop meets for four sessions in April: April 1, 8, 15, and 29. Cost is $165. Sign up here.

Some folks are intimidated by trying this new technology. If you’d like to learn how to use Zoom, I’m happy to give you a tutorial, whether or not you sign up for the class. It’s a great way to stay connected in this time of social distancing. Just comment on this message below, use my contact form, or send me a DM on Twitter.

No Poetry Readings for the Foreseeable Future

As of this evening, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a ban on all gatherings of more than 25 people and has restricted bars and restaurants to takeout and delivery service only. Even without these new restrictions in place, the strong recommendations over the last few days to practice social distancing (avoiding gathering places, keeping six feet between yourself and others in public) have caused the cancellation of most events in Massachusetts and environs. The situation is evolving rapidly and I’m sure people are getting their news from more current sources than this website. I hope it won’t be too long before we flatten the curve of this pandemic. Stay safe and healthy.

UPDATED Boston Area Poetry Readings and Cancellations as of March 2020

In the wake of the spread of coronavirus, public events are being cancelled left and right. Poetry readings do not tend to draw large crowds, so some events may go on as planned. It’s best to call ahead to make sure that a reading has not been cancelled.

If you are sick, please stay home. The best way to prevent the spread of the virus is to wash your hands thoroughly and often (as long as it takes to sing Happy Birthday twice), to avoid touching your face, and to avoid contact with people who may have been exposed to the virus. The CDC has a list of precautions you should be taking.

These listings are current as of March 12, 2020.

Among the CANCELLED readings:

  • Mary Buchinger, Jennifer Markell, and J.D. Scrimgeour (3/13) in JP
  • A celebration of Stephen Jonas’s Arcana (3/14) at MIT Press Bookstore
    Charles North (3/16) at MIT
  • Katherine Hollander and Angela Voras-Hills (3/16) at Blacksmith House
  • David Ferry at Suffolk (3/17)
  • Christian Wiman (3/23) at Blacksmith House
  • Sara London and Nathan McClain (3/31) at Smith College (All Smith College Poetry Center readings are cancelled through the end of the semester)
  • Anne Carson (4/1) Harvard Divinity School’s Ingersoll Lecture – “will take place in fall 2020 on a date to be determined”
  • Joy Harjo (4/9) at Harvard
  • Paisley Rekdal (4/14) at Smith College

Daniel Bouchard writes the following in his latest email update:

Remember: colleges do not lose revenue when a poetry reading is cancelled but bookstores do. Keep MIT Press Bookstore, Brookline Booksmith, Grolier, Harvard Bookstore, Porter Square Books, Bedlam Book Café in Worcester, I AM Books in the North End, and so on healthy – drop by and buy some books or order something online.

Readings and cancellations follow:

Friday, March 13, 7 pm
Matthew Lippman and Jacob Strautmann
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard Street, Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA

Friday, March 13, 7:30 pm CANCELLED
Mary Buchinger, Jennifer Markell, and J.D. Scrimgeour
Chapter and Verse Literary Reading Series
Loring-Greenough House
12 South Street
Jamaica Plain, MA

Friday, March 13, 7 pm
Adam Falkner
Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Porter Square, Cambridge, MA

Saturday, March 14, 10:30 am
Joan Houlihan, Terence Hegarty, and Deb Goss
Wake up and Smell the Poetry
77 Main St.
Hopkinton, MA

Saturday, March 14, 3 pm
Zara Raab and Jodie Reyes
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Newburyport Public Library
92 State Street
Newburyport, MA

Saturday, March 14, 4 pm POSTPONED
A celebration of Stephen Jonas’s Arcana
with editors Dave Rich, Joseph Torra, and others
The Liminal Reading Series
The MIT Press Bookstore
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Sunday, March 15, 2 – 4 pm CANCELLED
Martha Collins and Lynn Powell
Brookline Poetry Series
Hunneman Hall, Brookline Village Library
361 Washington St.
Brookline, MA

Monday, March 16, 7 pm CANCELLED
Charles North
Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street
Room 32-141, MIT
Cambridge, MA

Monday, March 16, 8 pm CANCELLED
Katherine Hollander and Angela Voras-Hills
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Tuesday, March 17, 7 pm
Moira J.
Poets and Plants
Pemberton Farms Marketplace
2225 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Tuesday, March 17, 7 pm CANCELLED
David Ferry
Suffolk University Poetry Center
Sawyer Library, second floor
73 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

Friday, March 20, 7-8 pm
Carol Hobbs and Pamela Gemme
Bedlam Book Cafe
138 Green St. Ste. 1
Worcester, MA

Saturday, March 21, 7 pm
Anna M. Warrock, Liz Anker, Jennifer Barber, Toni Bee, Judah Leblang, Lauren Leja, Lee Okan, In Paik, Renuka Raghavan, and Francine Trester
Solidarity Salon series
Community Church of Boston
565 Boylston Street
Boston, MA

Sunday, March 22, 3 pm
John Mulrooney and Danielle Legros Georges
Art by Elizabeth Doran
Xit the Bear Readings Series
The Press Room
90 Oxford St.
Somerville, MA
$5

Monday, March 23, 7 pm
David Ferry and Mary Szybist
The Katzenberg Center, 3rd floor
CGS, 871 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA

Monday, March 23, 7 pm
Oddball Magazine Presents
Morrill Memorial Library
33 Walpole St
Norwood, MA

Monday, March 23, 7-9 pm
Brad Rose and David P. Miller
Nixes Mate book launch
Trident Booksellers & Café
338 Newbury Street
Boston, MA

Monday, March 23, 8 pm CANCELLED
Christian Wiman
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Tuesday, March 24, 6 pm
Eve Linn
Amesbury Monthly Reading Series
Amesbury Senior Center
68 Elm St.
Amesbury, MA

Wednesday, March 25, 6-7 pm
Jason Tandon
Bedlam Book Cafe
138 Green St. Ste. 1
Worcester, MA

Wednesday, March 25, 7 pm
Luke Salisbury, Denise Provost, and Zvi Sesling
A Hastings Room Reading Series event
First Church Cambridge
11 Garden Street, Harter Room
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, March 26, 7 – 9 pm CANCELLED
David Miller and Kate McCann
Rozzie Reads Poetry and Open Mic
Roslindale House
120 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA

Saturday, March 28, 4 pm
Alysia Abbott reads Steve Abbott and Jim Cory reads Karl Tierney
The Liminal Reading Series
The MIT Press Bookstore
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Saturday, March 28, 4-6 pm
Alec Solomita and Philip Nikolayev
Outpost 186
186 Hampshire Street
Inman Square
Cambridge, MA

Saturday, March 28, 3:30 pm
Mary Bonina, Holly Guran, Deborah Melone, Elizabeth Quinlan, and Deana Tavares
The School Street Sessions: Women Reading Women
Omni Parker House, Brandeis Holmes Room on the Mezzanine
60 School Street
Boston, MA

Saturday, March 28, 6 – 8 pm
Neil Zagarella and Juliet Grames
IAWA Open Mic and Featured Reading
I AM Books
189 North Street
Boston, MA

Monday, March 30, 6 pm
Alan Gillis and David Wheatley
The Katzenberg Center, 3rd floor
CGS, 871 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA

Monday, March 30, 8 pm
David Barber and Katherine Coles
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Tuesday, March 31, 7 pm
Jonathan Andersen
Poetorium at Starlite
Starlite Bar and Gallery
39 Hamilton Street
Southbridge, MA

Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 pm CANCELLED
Sara London and Nathan McClain
Campus Center Carroll Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Tuesday, March 31, 6 pm
Jos Charles and Jana Prikryl
Stratis Haviaras Reading
Thompson Room, Barker Center
Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA

Wednesday, April 1, 5:15 – 6:30 pm (POSTPONED)
Anne Carson
Harvard Divinity School’s Ingersoll Lecture
co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of World Religions
Norton’s Woods Conference Center
American Academy of Arts & Sciences
136 Irving Street
Cambridge, MA

Wednesday, April 1, 5:30 pm
Carmen Giménez Smith
Thompson Poet Reading Series
Carling-Sorenson Theater
Babson College, Wellesley, MA

Thursday, April 2, 5:30 pm
Monica Youn
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Providence, RI
(free and open to public)

Thursday, April 2, 7 pm
William Evans
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA

Saturday, April 4, 1 pm
Amanda Lou Doster
Everything Begins Somewhere book launch and reading
Federal Street Books
8 Federal St.
Greenfield, MA

Sunday, April 5, 3 pm
Askold Melnyczuk and Chịbuihe Obi Achịmbá
with art by Elizabeth Doran
Xit The Bear Reading Series
The Press Room
90 Oxford St.
Somerville, MA
$5

Monday, April 6, 8 pm
Donna Stonecipher and Lesle Lewis
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Tuesday, April 7, 5:30 pm
Angie Estes
Lamont Forum Room
Lamont Library
11 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA

Tuesday, April 7, 7pm
Jasmine Dreame Wagner
Artists&Archives Series
The Cube at MIT
20 Ames St., room E15-001
Cambridge, MA

Wednesday, April 8, 6 pm
Cathy Park Hong
Lamont Forum Room
Lamont Library
11 Quincy Street
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, April 9, 6 pm CANCELLED
Joy Harjo
Harvard University Native American Program
Harvard Art Museums
Menschel Hall, Lower Level
32 Quincy St.
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, April 9, 7 – 9 pm
Melinda Coppola and Jessie Strauss
Menino Arts Center, Home of the Hyde Park Art Association
26 Central Avenue
Hyde Park, MA

Saturday, April 11, 7 pm
Letter Press and Broadside
Opening Reception with Center for Book Arts
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Plympton Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Tuesday, April 14, 7:30 pm
Natasha Trethewey and Megan Fernandes
Robert Lowell Memorial Lecture Series
Leventhal Center Auditorium, 233 Bay State Rd.
Boston, MA
Reception to follow at The BU Castle

Tuesday, April 14, 7:30 pm CANCELLED
Paisley Rekdal and HS Prizewinners
Campus Center Carroll Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Thursday, April 16, 7 pm
Michael Heller
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Plympton Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Thursday, April 16, 7 pm
Jason Tandon and Martha Collins
Wellesley Books, 82 Central Street
Wellesley, MA

Saturday, April 18, 4 pm
Maggie Dubris and Michael Heller
The Liminal Reading Series
The MIT Press Bookstore
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Sunday, April 19, 4:30 pm
Major Jackson and Didi Jackson
THE LOOM, Poetry in Harrisville
23 Church St.
Harrisville, NH

Sunday, April 19, 2 – 4 pm
Vievee Francis and James Stotts
Brookline Poetry Series
Hunneman Hall, Brookline Village Library
361 Washington St.
Brookline, MA

Sunday, April 19, 2:30 pm
Linda Goldberg and members of the Workshop
Wayland Poetry Workshop
Wayland Public Library
5 Concord Road
Wayland, MA

Sunday, April 19, 3 pm
Andrea Cohen and Nathan McClain
Concord Poetry at the Library Series
Sponsored by the Friends of the Library
Concord Free Public Library
129 Main Street
Concord, MA

Sunday, April 19, 3 – 5 pm
Denise Bergman, Hilary Sallick, and Ravi Shankar
New Poetry and Open Mic
New England Poetry Club
Arts at the Armory Café
Somerville, MA

Wednesday, April 22, 7 pm
Omar Sakr, George Abraham, Chen Chen, and moira j.
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard Street
Coolidge Corner, Brookline, MA

Thursday, April 23, 7 pm
Xhevdet Bajra and Julia Gjika
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Plympton Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Thursday, April 23, 7 – 9 pm
Martha Collins and Nancy Naomi Carlson
Rozzie Reads Poetry and Open Mic
Roslindale House
120 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA

Thursday, April 23, 5:30 pm
Caroline Bergvall
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Providence, RI
(free and open to public)

Thursday April 23, 7 pm
Anne Pluto, Marc Vincenz, and Michael Steffen
Celebrating Earth Day on its 50th
Somerville Public Library
79 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA

Saturday, April 25, 8:30 am – 4 pm
Newburyport Literary Festival Poetry Events:
Martha Collins, Michael Cantor, Charles Coe, Robert Crawford David Davis, Rachel DeWoskin, Midge Goldberg, Ernest Hilbert, X. J. Kennedy, Joan Kimball,
Chris O’Carroll, Linda Pastan, Susan de Sola
Paulette Turco, Anton Yakovlev
Central Congregational Church
14 Titcomb Street
Newburyport, MA

Saturday, April 25, 6 – 8 pm
Christine Casson and Rita Ciresi
Independent Bookstore Day
IAWA Open Mic and Featured Reading
I AM Books
189 North Street
Boston, MA

Monday, April 27, 8 pm
Chard deNiord and Nadia Colburn
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Tuesday, April 28, 5:30 pm
Carla Schwartz, Feature poet (one of three) at Writers Read
Lee Public Library
100 Main Street
Lee, MA

Tuesday, April 28, 7 pm
Eileen Cleary
Poetorium at Starlite
Starlite Bar and Gallery
39 Hamilton Street
Southbridge, MA, MA

Tuesday, April 28, 7:30 pm CANCELLED
Diane Seuss
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Wednesday, April 29, 6 pm
Claudia Rankine
The T.S. Eliot Memorial Reading
Knafel Auditorium, Radcliffe Institute
10 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, April 30, 5:30 pm
Terrance Hayes
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Providence, RI
(free and open to public)

Monday, May 4, 8 pm
Rafael Campo and Joan Naviyuk Kane
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Sunday, May 10, 3 – 5 pm
Cathie Desjardins
Barbara Hill and Eve Linn
New Poetry and Open Mic
New England Poetry Club
Arts at the Armory Café
Somerville, MA

Thursday, May 14, 7 – 9 pm
Jamele Adams and Lindsey O’Neil
Menino Arts Center, Home of the Hyde Park Art Association
26 Central Avenue
Hyde Park, MA

Friday, May 15, from 7-8 pm
Alexis Ivy and David Blair
Bedlam Book Cafe
138 Green St. Ste. 1
Worcester, MA

Friday, May 29, from 7-8 pm
Joe Fusco Jr. and Jennifer Charpentier
Bedlam Book Cafe
138 Green St. Ste. 1
Worcester, MA

Saturday, May 16, 3 pm
Lewis Turco and Wendy Cannella
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Newburyport Public Library
92 State Street
Newburyport, MA

Sunday, May 17, 2 – 4 pm
Gabrielle Calvoccoressi and Alamgir Hashmi
Brookline Poetry Series
Hunneman Hall, Brookline Village Library
361 Washington St.
Brookline, MA

Sunday, May 17, 3 pm
Peter Balakian, Oksana Zabuzhko, Kythe Heller, and Scott Harney
presented by Megan Marshall
Arrowsmith Press Book Launch
First Parish Church in Cambridge
3 Church Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Sunday, May 17, 3 pm
Janet MacFadyen with photographer Stephen Schmidt
poetry reading/slideshow
Arms Library
Main St. & Bridge St.
Shelburne Falls, MA

Tuesday, May 26, 7 pm
Therese Gleason Carr
Poetorium at Starlite
Starlite Bar and Gallery
39 Hamilton Street
Southbridge, MA

Thursday, May 28, 7 – 9 pm
Dorian Kotsiopolous and Scott Withiam
Rozzie Reads Poetry and Open Mic
Roslindale House
120 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA

Saturday, June 6, 4 pm
Kate Colby and Rachel Blau DuPlessis
The Liminal Reading Series
MIT Press Bookstore
301 Mass. Ave.
Cambridge, MA

Saturday, June 13, 3 pm
Pedro Poitevin and Marybeth Rua-Larsen
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Newburyport Public Library
92 State Street
Newburyport, MA

Generative Writing Workshop in Roslindale, Massachusetts

Photograph of a hand writing in a notebook.

Roslindale just welcomed a new creative space called Create Art in Community, and I’m excited to be offering a generative writing workshop there this April. Please join me for some exercises designed to get the creative juices flowing and encourage play with words. Both new and experienced writers should enjoy the class. All forms of writing welcome: poetry, fiction, memoir, or any combination.

When:

Wednesday evenings, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Four dates in April 2020: April 1, 8, 15, 29

Where:

Create Art in Community, 11A Corinth Street, Roslindale MA

In the heart of Rozzie Square. Roslindale Village stop on the Needham Line Commuter Rail, multiple bus lines from Forest Hills. Municipal parking lot close by and free on-street parking.

Sign Up at the Create Art in Community Website

When the Horse Begins to Neigh on the Page: An Interview with Poet Eileen Cleary

Photograph of poet Eileen Cleary

Eileen Cleary seems to have found a way to clone herself. In addition to holding two MFAs from two different Boston institutions, she manages the Lily Poetry Salon and publishes the Lily Poetry Review. Her Lily Poetry Review Press will be publishing its first titles soon. She has studied with teachers near and far and seems to know everyone in the Boston poetry scene — and many on the national scene as well.

Eileen is a nurse and poet who earned an MFA at Lesley University and second at Solstice of Pine Manor College. She is twice a Pushcart nominee and has work published or upcoming in journals such as Naugatuck River Review, J Journal, The American Journal of Poetry, Solstice, and Sugar House Review. Her work has appeared as a Rainworks Installation in Newton, Massachusetts.

Her debut poetry collection, Child Ward of the Commonwealth was published by Main Street Rag Press in June 2019

Frances Donovan: What first brought you to poetry?

Eileen Cleary: I’ve always loved to read poetry. I had a sense that I could write it from an early age. But, I never wrote it seriously until I wrote a poem in response to unethical research on human subjects. I was a different person when I reached the end of that poem, and I could never go back to being a person who didn’t write poetry. 

Donovan: How were you a different person?
Continue reading “When the Horse Begins to Neigh on the Page: An Interview with Poet Eileen Cleary”

February and March 2020 Poetry Readings in Boston and Environs

Poetry to Warm a Mind of Winter: Photograph of a Cardinal on a Branch. Photo credit: James H via Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0.

I don’t know about you, but I’m aching for spring already. Here are poetry readings that will bring us in March, which is almost spring in New England. Thanks as always to Daniel Bouchard for publishing these listings. Follow him on Twitter. I’ve also discovered Lori Desrosier’s site, which posts poetry news in Western Mass. And a series in Shelburne Falls not listed below called Collected Poets.

Of special note below:

  • Tamiko Beyer at home.stead in Dorcester
  • Carla Schwartz at the Old Manse and home.stead
  • Martha Collins at Arts at the Armory Somerville and the Brookline Public Library
  • Jericho Brown at Smith
  • Joan Houlihan in Hopkinton
  • Zara Raab in Newburyport
  • Daniel Bouchard’s MIT Reading Series

Sunday, February 2, 1 – 3 pm
Tzynya Pinchback and John Bonanni
Poetry: The Art Of Words
Plymouth Public Library/Otto Fehlow Room
132 South St
Plymouth, MA

Sunday, February 2, 2 – 4 pm
Rachel Kann (featured reader)
and open mic
Jewish Poetry Festival
Temple Sinai in Brookline
50 Sewall Avenue
Brookline, MA

Thursday, February 6, 7 pm
Barbara Thomas
Andala Cafe
286 Franklin St.
Cambridge, MA

Friday, February 7, 7:30 pm
Tamiko Beyer
Unearthed Song & Poetry
Home.stead Bakery and Cafe
1448 Dorchester Ave.
Fields Corner
Dorchester, MA

Friday, February 7, 7 pm
Joey Gould, Carol Hobbs, and Open Mic
Poetry at the Y
West Suburban YMCA
276 Church St.
Newton, MA

Friday, February 7, 7 pm
Bradley Trumpfheller
Brookline Booksmith
Harvard Street, Coolidge Corner
Brookline, MA

Friday February 7, 7 pm
Cynthia Bargar, Adnan Onart, and Carla Schwartz
Old Manse Poetry in the Parlor Series, New England Poetry Club
269 Monument St.
Concord, MA

Saturday, February 8, 10:30 am
Howard Kogan and Mark Lipman
Wake up and Smell the Poetry
77 Main St.
Hopkinton, MA

Saturday, February 8, 4 pm
Ariana Reines and José Angel Araguz
The Liminal Reading Series
The MIT Press Bookstore
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Sunday, February 9, 3 pm
Joan Kimball, Eve Linn, and Jason Tandon
Concord Poetry at the Library Series
Sponsored by the Friends of the Library
Concord Free Public Library
129 Main Street
Concord, MA

Sunday, February 9, 3 – 5 pm
Eileen Cleary, Edison Dupree, and Gloria Monaghan
New Poetry and Open Mic
New England Poetry Club
Arts at the Armory Café
Somerville, MA

Thursday, February 13, 5:30 pm
Tracie Morris
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Providence, RI
(free and open to public)

Saturday, February 15, 4-6pm
Raquel Balboni Book Launch, with Ben Mazer
Outpost 186
186 Hampshire Street
Inman Square
Cambridge, MA

Sunday, February 16, 2 – 4 pm
TBA and Tanya (Tingyu) Liu
Brookline Poetry Series
Hunneman Hall, Brookline Village Library
361 Washington St.
Brookline, MA

Friday, February 17, 7 pm
Patricia Cleary Miller
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Plympton Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Tuesday, February 18, 7:30 pm
Kathleen Graber
Campus Center Carroll Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Thursday, February 20, 7 pm
Martha Collins and Susan Eisenberg
Cervena Barva Press
The Armory, Basement Room B8
191 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA

Monday, February 24, 8 pm
Jason Tandon and Judith Baumel
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Tuesday, February 25, 7 pm
Joan Naviyuk Kane
Stata Center, Room 32-155
(corner of Main and Vassar)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, February 27, 7 – 9 pm
Vivienne Shalom, Maureen McElroy, and Queen Hodge
Rozzie Reads Poetry and Open Mic
Roslindale House
120 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA

Sunday, February 23, 4 pm
Darcie Dennigan and Elaine Kahn
The Liminal Reading Series
The MIT Press Bookstore
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Sunday, March 1, 1 – 3 pm
Jim Brosnan and Terry Johnson
Poetry: The Art Of Words
Plymouth Public Library/Otto Fehlow Room
132 South St
Plymouth, MA

Monday, March 2, 8 pm
John Murillo and Jacob Strautmann
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Friday, March 6, 7:30 pm
Carla Schwartz
Unearthed Song & Poetry
Home.stead Bakery and Cafe
1448 Dorchester Ave.
Fields Corner
Dorchester, MA

Sunday, March 8, 3 -5 pm
Stephen Delbos, Jason Tandon, and Joyce Wilson
New Poetry and Open Mic
New England Poetry Club
Arts at the Armory Café
Somerville, MA

Sunday, March 8, 3 pm
DeWitt Henry and Sara London
Concord Poetry, the Library Series
Sponsored by the Friends of the Library
Concord Free Public Library
129 Main Street
Concord, MA

Tuesday, March 10, 7:30 pm
Jericho Brown
Weinstein Auditorium, Wright Hall
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Thursday, March 12, 7 pm
Raquel Balboni, David Blair and Katherine Hollander
Grolier Poetry Bookshop
Plympton Street
Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA

Saturday, March 14, 10:30 am
Joan Houlihan, Terence Hegarty, and Deb Goss
Wake up and Smell the Poetry
77 Main St.
Hopkinton, MA

Saturday, March 14, 3 pm
Zara Raab and Jodie Reyes
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Newburyport Public Library
92 State Street
Newburyport, MA

Saturday, March 14, 4 pm
A celebration of Stephen Jonas’s Arcana
with editors Dave Rich, Joseph Torra, and others
The Liminal Reading Series
The MIT Press Bookstore
301 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Sunday, March 15, 2 – 4 pm
Martha Collins and Joan Naviyuk Kane
Brookline Poetry Series
Hunneman Hall, Brookline Village Library
361 Washington St.
Brookline, MA

Monday, March 16, 7pm
Charles North
Stata Center, 32 Vassar Street
Room 32-141, MIT
Cambridge, MA

Monday, March 16, 8 pm
Katherine Hollander and Angela Voras-Hills
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Monday, March 23, 8 pm
Christian Wiman
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Wednesday, March 25, 7 pm
Luke Salisbury, Denise Provost, and Zvi Sesling
A Hastings Room Reading Series event
First Church Cambridge
11 Garden Street, Harter Room
Cambridge

Thursday, March 26, 7 – 9 pm
David Miller and Kate McCann
Rozzie Reads Poetry and Open Mic
Roslindale House
120 Poplar Street
Roslindale, MA

Monday, March 30, 8 pm
David Barber and Katherine Coles
Blacksmith House Poetry
Spiegel Auditorium
56 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
$3

Tuesday, March 31, 7:30 pm
Sara London and Nathan McClain
Campus Center Carroll Room
Smith College
Northampton, MA

Unearthing Surprising Moments: A Conversation with Poet Sarah Dickenson Snyder

Photograph of poet Sarah Dickenson Snyder

Sarah Dickenson Snyder has written poetry since she knew there was a form with conscious line breaks. She has three poetry collections: The Human Contract, Notes from a Nomad (nominated for the Massachusetts Book Awards 2018), and With a Polaroid Camera (2019). Recently, poems have appeared in Artemis, The Sewanee Review, and RHINO. She has been a 30/30 Poet for Tupelo Press and was accepted both times she applied to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. One poem was selected by Mass Poetry Festival Migration Contest to be stenciled on the sidewalk in Salem, MA. Another was nominated for Best of Net 2017.

Sarah took some time to speak with me via email.

Frances Donovan: What first brought you to poetry?

Sarah Dickenson Snyder: The first time I saw a poem in a book and its intentional line breaks, I was hooked—I just loved how it looked. I was probably in 1st grade. I wrote and wrote even more when I realized that poems didn’t have to rhyme and that I could pour out a seemingly endless fountain of thoughts and memories. I ended up sending a stack of twenty poems to Bowdoin College as my college essay. 

Donovan: Did you study poetry at Bowdoin?

Dickenson Snyder: I took a few classes—there were only just a few in the English Department, certainly no writing classes at that time; I was a Religion major.

Donovan: Was there a particular poet whose work was really meaningful to you in those early years?
Continue reading “Unearthing Surprising Moments: A Conversation with Poet Sarah Dickenson Snyder”

Dispatches from an MFA: Semester Two, Third Packet

Photo credit: Nilufer Nilufer Gadgieva Flickr, CC 2.0

This is part of a series called Dispatches from an MFA, which details my experiences in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University. In the second semester, I studied with poet Kevin Prufer. We spent the semester looking at narrative versus lyric poetry. This is the cover letter to the third packet.

Dear Kevin:

As you pointed out, the critical work in my last packet was a little thin. I hope I’ve redeemed myself with this one. It’s always possible to do more with grad school work, but I feel confident that I’ve given sufficient time and attention to James Wright’s and D.A. Powell’s work. I read your essay on Powell, and am glad that I did so after finishing my own paper. It can be difficult for me to approach a text with any kind of original thinking after reading another’s interpretation. I think you managed to say with more perspective and eloquence some of the things I was trying to say in my own paper. I especially appreciated the parallels the death-dancing German painting and Powell’s exuberant music. I hadn’t really paid attention to Powell’s exploration of spiritual redemption in Cocktails – especially in the Bibliography section – but can see it clearly in hindsight.

Continue reading “Dispatches from an MFA: Semester Two, Third Packet”

Ross Gay’s Wild and Sensual Poems

Ross Gay’s poetry is lush with sensual pleasure. He uses strong imagery, musical language, and an unusual approach to poetic line to achieve this lushness. He eschews punctuation in many of his poems, relying almost entirely on white space and line breaks to achieve his phrasing. I’ve tried doing some similar with my own work, but Gay commits himself entirely to this technique, forcing it to do the work of commas, periods, capitalization, dashes. In “to the fig tree on 9th and christian,” —the first in his latest collection, catalog of unabashed gratitude— his short lines stutter down the page, slowing the eye at points both expected and unexpected. With no punctuation and no capital letters, he relies on the reader to suss out where one sentence ends and the next begins. This elision works both in concert with and counterpoint to his line breaks. The opening lines rush forth with enjambment through three separate thoughts:

… probably
rehearsing some
stupid thing I
said or did
some crime or
other the city they
say is a lonely
place until yes
the sound of sweeping
and a woman
yes with a
broom…

Continue reading “Ross Gay’s Wild and Sensual Poems”

Rachel Zucker’s Unclear Narrative

This is part of a series called Dispatches from an MFA, which details my experiences in the low-residency MFA program at Lesley University. In the second semester, I studied with poet Kevin Prufer. We spent the semester looking at narrative versus lyric poetry.

————-

I’ve been approaching this semester with an alternating focus on the lyrical and narrative modes of poetry. But how exactly does one differentiate between the two? And is it even a valid dichotomy? As with the prose-poetry divide, the more one tries to define it, the more slippery it becomes. In an essay published in 2006, Tony Hoagland writes about “a widespread mistrust of narrative forms and, in fact, a pervasive sense of the inadequacy or exhaustion of all modes other than the associative.” He also acknowledges the difficulty of defining the term: “Under the label of ‘narrative,’ all kinds of poetry currently get lumped misleadingly together: not just story but discursion, argument, even descriptive lyrics. They might better be called the ‘Poetries of Continuity.’”

Published in 2004, Rachel Zucker’s The Last Clear Narrative certainly demonstrates the zeitgeist Hoagland describes. At first pass, the title seems like a joke on the reader. Zucker’s language is disruptive, fragmented. It uses not only syntax but white space and idiosyncratic punctuation – all to skillful effect, but hardly the definition of what most people would call a clear narrative.

Continue reading “Rachel Zucker’s Unclear Narrative”