Poetry Readings and Events in Boston, November and December 2013

I get periodic emails from a gentleman at MIT about poetry readings and events in the greater Boston area. It’s a good reminder of why I chose to move here 13 years ago, and why I stay. The list can be rather overwhelming, so I’ve highlighted two readings in November featuring poets I know and highly recommend:

  • Grey Held and other poets from the Workshop for Publishing Poets next Monday, November 4 at Newtonville Books;
  • Charles Coe and Alexis Ivy at the Newton Free Library on Tuesday, November 12

The Brookline Public Library reading series also has consistently high-quality readers both as headliners and in the open mic. The organizers can be a bit snooty as a result, but if you gird your loins appropriately it’s worth attending. You may even see me there.

If you are interested in signing up for the email list, please comment with your email address and I will send you information on how to subscribe.

And on an unrelated note, Happy Halloween, Blessed Samhain, and Feliz Dias de los Muertos.

Boston Poetry Listings follow:

Friday, November 1, 8 pm
Christopher Boucher, Carrie Causie, and Randy Wittwer
Dire Literary Series
Out of the Blue Art Gallery
106 Prospect St.

Monday, November 4, 6 pm
Philip Levine
Bill Bordy Theater
216 Tremont St.

Monday, November 4, 7 pm
Grey Held, Diana Cole, and Ellie Mamber
Newtonville Books
10 Langley Road
[This is the regular reading series for PoemWorks: The Workshop for Publishing Poets]

Monday, November 4, 7 pm
Scott Ruescher, Betty Buchsbaum, and Peter Filkins
and other winners
NEPC Prize Winners
Harvard-Yenching Library, Common Room 136
2 Divinity Ave.
Cambridge (off Kirkland, near Memorial Hall)

Monday, November 4, 8 pm
Mark Halliday and Anna Ross
Blacksmith House Poetry Series
56 Brattle Street

Tuesday, November 5, 6:30 pm
David Ferry
The Louisa Solano Poetry Series
Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge

Tuesday, November 5, 7 pm
David Rivard, Edith Pearlman, Ewa Hryniewicz-Yarbrough, and J. D. Daniels
AGNI 78 launch
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave
Boston (Green Line B, Pleasant St.)

Tuesday, November 5, 5:30 pm
Martha Collins
Grolier Poetry Fall Reading Series
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
6 Plympton St.

Wednesday, November 6, 8 pm
Julie Joosten, Erin Morrill, Laura Mullen
Small Animal Project
Outpost 186
186 1/2 Hampshire St

Tuesday, November 5, 6 pm [Note: moved from Thurs, 11/7]
Transversal Kickoff Reading
Washington Curcurto, Tamara Kamenszain and Malu Urriola
in the company of their translators Forrest Gander, Laura Healy and Anna Deeny
David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Auditorium
1730 Cambridge Street

Tuesday, November 5, 5:30 pm
Martha Collins
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
6 Plympton Street

Wednesday, November 6, 5 pm – 6: 30 pm
Rae Armantrout
Morris Gray Lecture
The Thompson Room
Barker Center
Quincy Street

Wednesday, November 6, 6 pm  (please note updated location)
Transversal Seminar: On Spanish Poetry and Translation
Brandel France de Bravo and Roger Santivañez
David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies Auditorium
Woodberry Poetry Room, Lamont Library
Harvard University

Thursday, November 7, 5 pm – 6:30 pm
Seamus Heaney Memorial
Harvard Memorial Church
One Harvard Yard

Thursday, November 7, 6 – 7:30 pm
Laura Mullen
New England Conservatory
Pierce Hall
around the corner from 290 Huntington Ave.

Friday, November 8, 7:30 pm
Elizabeth (Louie) Galloway, Elena Harap and Alice Kociemba
Chapter and Verse Literary Reading Series
Loring-Greenough House
12 South Street
Jamaica Plain Center

Friday, November 8, 6 pm
Tamiko Beyer, Kate Greenstreet and Deborah Poe
Publicly Complex Series
Ada Books
717 Westminster St.

Saturday, November 9, 12 pm
Gloria Mindock and Catherine Sasanov
Poetry: The Art of Words
Plymouth Center for the Arts
North Street
Plymouth, MA

Saturday, November 9, 2 pm
Donald Wellman
Toadstool Books
12 Depot Square
Peterborough NH

Saturday, November 9, 6 pm
Frank Bidart, Moe Pope, Betsy Gomez, Elizabeth Doran, Eve Strillacci, Alex Charalambides, Eloisa Amezcua
Featured Musical Artist: Julia LiGregni with the Jordan Carter Trio
Mr. Hip Presents: Reading Series UFORGE Gallery
767 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain

Saturday, November 9, 7 pm
Mathias Svalina, Stefania Heim, and Phil Cordelli
A 2×2 Reading of Poetry
Lorem Ipsum Books
1299 Cambridge Street

Sunday, November 10, 2 pm
Moira Linehan and Michael McCarthy
Bestsellers Café
24 High Street
Medford, MA

Sunday, November 10, 3 pm
Jillian Weise
Weekend Poetry Series of the Friends
Concord Free Public Library
129 Main Street
Concord, MA

Monday, November 11, 6 pm
Tom Pickard
Katzenberg Center, 3rd Floor,
871 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston University

Tuesday, November 12, 7 pm
George Elliot Clarke and Don Share
Grolier Poetry Fall Reading Series
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
6 Plympton St.

Tuesday, November 12, 7pm
Charles Coe, Alexis Ivy, and Dennis Daly
Newton Free Library Reading Series
330 Homer St
Newton, MA
Open mic follows featured readers

Wednesday, November 13, 7:30 pm
Rhina Espaillat, Barbara Lydecker Crane, David Davis
Poetry And The Experience Of Nature
Joppa Flats Audubon Center
1 Plum Island Turnpike
Newburyport, MA

Thursday, November 14, 6 pm
Christopher Ricks on T.S. Eliot
Edison Newman Room
Houghton Library
Harvard University

Thursday, November 14, 7 pm
Sophie Cabot Black and Greg Delanty
Suffolk University Poetry Center
73 Tremont Street (entrance around corner on Tremont Place)
Suffolk Poetry Center Mildred F. Sawyer Library

Saturday, November 16, 10:30 am
Henry Street Poets, Chuck Williams and Joanne Lurgio
Wake Up & Smell the Poetry at HCAM Studios
77 Main St.
Hopkinton MA

Saturday, November 16, 3:30 pm
Carol Ann Davis and David R. Surette
Fuller Café
Brockton Poetry Series at the Fuller Craft Museum
455 Oak Street

Sunday, November 17, 2-4 pm
Lee Sharkey and Melissa Tuckey
Brookline Poetry Series
Brookline Public Library
Main Branch in Hunneman Hall
Open mike sign-up: 1:45 pm

Sunday, November 17, 3 – 5 pm
Shelby Allen, Susan Nisenbaum-Becker, Gary Whited
Calliope – Poetry Readings at the West Falmouth Library
(575 West Falmouth Hwy.  Rt. 28A)
Cape Cod

Sunday, November 17, 3 pm
Lucy Ives and William D. Waltz
Jubilat / Jones Reading Series
Woodbury Room,
Jones Library
43 Amity Street
Amherst, MA

Monday, November 18, 6 pm
Omniglot Seminar: Pessoa and Other Poets in Portuguese
with Translator Richard Zenith
Woodberry Poetry Room
Lamont Library, Room 330
Harvard University

Monday, November 18, 8 pm
Sarah Arvio and Katie Peterson
Blacksmith House Poetry Series
56 Brattle Street

Tuesday, November 19, 2:30 pm
Rachel Levitsky
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Free and open to the public

Wednesday, November 20, 7 pm
Len Krisak and Mike Juster
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Jabberwocky Books (in the Tannery Mall)
50 Water St.
Free & open to the public

Thursday, November  21, 7 pm
Danielle Legros Georges and George Kalogeris
Rozzie Reads Poetry
The Community Room of Roslindale House
120 Poplar Street

Monday, November 25, 8 pm
Tanya Larkin and Jamaal May
Blacksmith House Poetry Series
56 Brattle Street

Monday, December 2, 7 pm
Jane Bachner, Susan McDonough, and Lee Dunne
Newtonville Books
10 Langley Road

Tuesday, December 3, 6:30 pm
Frank Bidart
The Louisa Solano Poetry Series
Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway, Cambridge

Wednesday, December 4, 6 pm
Louise Glück & Katie Peterson
Edison Newman Room
Houghton Library
Harvard University

Wednesday, December 4, 7 pm
Denise Bergman
Porter Square Books
25 White Street

Sunday, December 8, 12 pm
Dennis Daly and Lawrence Kessenich
POETRY:The Art of Words
Plymouth Center for the Arts
North Street
Plymouth, MA

Monday, December 9, 8 pm
Albert Goldbarth and Sharon Bryan
Blacksmith House Poetry Series
56 Brattle Street

Sunday, December 15, 2 – 4 pm
Afaa Michael Weaver and Larissa Pienkowski
Brookline Poetry Series
Brookline Public Library
Main Branch in Hunneman Hall
Open mike sign-up: 1:45 pm

Monday, December 16, 8 pm
Tamiko Beyer, Jenny Browne, and Kate Greenstreet
Small Animal Project
Outpost 186
186 1/2 Hampshire St

In Memoriam: Trayvon Martin

I’ve been largely silent regarding the issue of Trayvon Martin’s death and Zimmerman’s acquittal. As a white woman living in Boston, I don’t see the ongoing effects of racism in the same way that I did when I was living on the north side of Poughkeepsie, or growing up in a housing project in Stamford. But racism still affects me and those I love. I’d like to take a moment to honor the friends and loved ones whom I know deal with racism on a daily basis — and the friends and loved ones I never met or never got to know well because of the racist and segregated society in which I live.

From a New York Times editorial published July 14, 2013:

While Mr. Zimmerman’s conviction might have provided an emotional catharsis, we would still be a country plagued by racism, which persists in ever more insidious forms despite the Supreme Court’s sanguine assessment that “things have changed dramatically,” as it said in last month’s ruling striking down the heart of the Voting Rights Act.

The Day After the Boston Marathon Bombing

Sudden violence (is there any other kind?) throws the world into sharp relief. Horror that doesn’t speak but roars in the head like the ocean. Magnolias blooming under the crescent moon.

It gives things the proper perspective, too.

Last night, laying on the bed, talking to my mother on the phone while Army Guy relaxed next to me, the younger cat purring between us, I felt utter contentment.

This morning I woke at 6:00 am to take down the emergency update on the hospital website that I maintain. Cortisol shot me awake, makes me drained and snappy today. The sun is shining, the air is crisp and lovely. The Copley Square area is closed from Mass Ave to Berkeley. Did they wash the pavement clean? Will they find who did this? Will the cycle of violence continue, into the end of the time? Is peace just a pipe dream, like dreaming for the end of hunger, the end of darkness?

All things in sharp relief, from one moment to the next.

Boston-Area Poetry Readings for April/May 2012

If you live in Boston and haven’t had a chance to celebrate National Poetry Month yet, here are more than a few chances. Some are readings and some are open mics — skim the listings for more details.

This information comes from a mailing put out by a gentleman at one of the MIT presses. His emails come out once every few weeks — no more than once or twice a month — and provide clear evidence of the rich literary landscape of Eastern Massachusetts. If you would like to be added to his mailing list, please leave a comment with your email address and I will connect the two of you privately.

Tuesday, April 24, 1 pm
Suffolk University Poetry Center
Sawyer Library, Third Floor
73 Tremont St.

Tuesday April 24, 7 pm
Writers at the Black Box: Graduate Students and Alum of the BU Creative Writing Program
Rebekah Stout, poetry/alum, Megan Fernandez, playwriting, Abriana Jette, poetry, and Laura Goldstein, poetry
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave.

Saturday April, 28, begins 8:30 a.m.
Newburyport Literary Festival
Google it.
Newburyport, MA

Saturday, April 28, 10 am – 4:40 pm
Sunday, April 29, 1:10 – 4:30 pm
56 poets each reading for 10 minutes
inluding Sam Cornish, Rhina P. Espaillat, Richard Wollman ,Christine Casson, Dan Tobin, Jennifer Barber, Alfred Nicol, Kathleen Spivack, Doug Holder, Elizabeth Doran, Richard Hoffman, Lucy Holstedt, Charles Coe, Kim Triedman, Ryk McIntyre, January O’Neil, Regie O’Gibson, Kate Finnegan (Kaji Aso Studio), Victor Howes, Susan Donnelly, Jack Scully, Rene Schwiesow, Chad Parenteau, Linda Larson, Tomas O’Leary, Marc Goldfinger, Gloria Mindock, Tim Gager, Diana Saenz, Stuart Peterfreund, Valerie Lawson, Michael Brown, Mignon Ariel King, Tom Daley, Molly Lynn Watt, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Lainie Senechal, Harris Gardner, Joanna Nealon, Walter Howard, Zvi Sesling, Irene Koronas, Fred Marchant, Sheila Twyman, Robert K. Johnson, Suzanne E. Berger, and others
Boston Public Library
Copley Square

Saturday, April 28, 3 pm
Joseph Torra, Amanda Cook, and Sam Cha
Outpost 186
186.5 Hampshire Street (in rear)
Inman Square

Sunday, April 29, 3 pm
Over The Centuries: Poetry at Harvard (A Love Story)
A performance celebrating the work of Harvard-affiliated poets Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Ashbery, T.S. Eliot, Adrienne Rich, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, e.e. cummings and many more. Featuring an ensemble of Harvard students, the event will be a tapestry of live voices mixed with images and recordings of the poets themselves reading their work. Conceived by Professor Jorie Graham in collaboration with Matt Aucoin ’12 with curatorial assistance provided by the Woodberry Poetry Room.
Agassiz Theatre
Event is free but tickets are required. Limit of 2 tickets per person.
Tickets valid until 2:45 pm
Available on Tuesday, April 17th to Harvard Affiliates
Available on Thursday, April 19th to the general public.

Monday, April 30, 6 pm
Timothy Donnelley
Location details to come, maybe

Monday, April 30, 7pm
Jordan Davis and John Godfrey
The Deja Brew
121 Lockes Village Rd
Wendell, MA
$1-$5 sliding scale

Monday, April 30, 8 pm
Franz Wright and Geoffrey Brock
Blacksmith House
56 Brattle Street
Harvard Square

Tuesday, May 1, 2:30 pm
Grace Krilanovich
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Free and open to the public

Tuesday, May 1, 7 pm
Tom Sleigh, Lloyd Schwartz, Gail Mazur, Fred Marchant, Fanny Howe, Saskia Hamilton, Robert Gardner and Christopher Benfey
Celebration of Robert Lowell & launch of AGNI 75
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston (Green Line B, Pleasant St.)
free and open to the public

Wednesday, May 2, 7 pm
Rebecca Lindenberg and Stephen Burt
Porter Square Books
25 White Street

Thursday, May 3, 6 pm
Christian Bök
MIT, Building 6 — room 120
Free and open to the public

Friday, May 4, 8 pm
Myfanwy Collins, Carroll Donnell, Joel Peckham, and Yuyutsu Sharma
Dire Literary Reading Series
Out of the Blue Art Gallery
106 Prospect Street

Saturday, May 5, 7:30 pm
Julian T. Brolaski and Cole Swensen
Gloucester Writers Center Poetry Salon
126 East Main St.

Sunday, May 6, 12:45 pm
John Holgerson and David R. Surette
Poetry: The Art of Words/Mike Amado Memorial Series
The Plymouth Center for the Arts
11 North Street
Music feature at Noon

Sunday, May 6, 1 pm
Plein Air Poetry Celbrations at Fruitlands Museum
Special guests and CPC members X.J Kennedy, Bob Clawson , Barb Crane, Joan Kimball and and Amy Woods
Winners of CPC and Fruitlands Museum first Plein Air Poetry Competition will read their poems.
Fruitlands Museum
102 Prospect Hill Road
Harvard, MA

Monday, May 7, 7 pm
Susan McDonough, Margot Wizansky, and Connemara Wadsworth
Workshop for Publishing Poets
Porter Square Books
25 White Street

Monday, May 7, 8 pm
Stanley Plumly and Jane Shore
Blacksmith House
56 Brattle Street
Harvard Square

Wednesday, May 9, 7 pm
Jorie Graham
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave.

Thursday, May 10, 7 pm
Jorie Graham and Sophie Cabot Black
Amherst Books
8 Main Street
Amherst, MA

Friday, May 11, 7:30 pm
Gary Duehr, Karen Miller, and Margaret Young
Chapter and Verse Literary Reading Series
Loring-Greenough House
12 South Street
Jamaica Plain Centre

Saturday, May 12, 3 pm
Kevin Bowen, Fred Marchant, George Kovach, Paul Brailsford, Marc Levy, Martin Ray, Aldo Tambellini
War and Writing: Readings and Conversations
Gloucester Writers Center, William Joiner Center and Consequence Magazine
Harbor Room
126 East Main St.
Veterans and students free
Suggested Donation $10

Saturday, May 12, 3 pm
Ned Balbo and Nancy Bailey Miller
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Jabberwocky Books
50 Water St
Newburyport (in The Tannery Mall)

Saturday, May 12, 7 pm
Naomi Shihab Nye
Old Ship Church
90 Main Street
Hingham, MA

Wednesday, May 16, 7 pm
Susan Jo Russell, Jim Henle, Mary Ellen Geer, Oliver Payne, and Laurie Rosenblatt
Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Porter Square Shopping Center

Thursday, May 17, 7 pm
William and Beverly Corbett: Forty-four Years at 9 Columbus Square
A Woodberry Poetry Room Oral History Initiative
Moderated by Fanny Howe
Barker Center, Thompson Room
Harvard University
12 Quincy Street
free and open to public

Friday, May 18, 7 pm
Nate Klug and William Corbett
Back Pages Books
289 Moody Street

Friday, May 18, 7pm
Breakwater Reading Series
Join us for a night of new fiction, poetry, and essays
from the MFA candidates of Emerson, UMASS Boston, and BU.
Brookline Booksmith
Coolidge Corner

Saturday, May 19, 3:30 pm
Zvi A. Sesling and Alvah Howe
Poetry Series at the Brockton Library
304 Main Street
Brockton, MA

Sunday, May 20, 3 pm
Teresa Cader and Charles Pratt
Concord Poetry Center
Emerson Umbrella
40 Stow Street
Concord, MA
Open Mike. Free.

Sunday, May 20, 2-4 pm
Brookline Poetry Series
Susan Becker and Kevin Goodman
Brookline Public Library
Main Branch
Brookline Village

What I Learned During National Poetry Month 2011

  1. Haiku improves with practice.
  2. Poetry is real work.
  3. Sometimes work is gentle, easy, and takes hardly any time.
  4. Sometimes work is hard and grueling and difficult.
  5. Sometimes I forget to do things I said I was going to do
  6. Instead of hating on myself or giving up, I can just start doing them again.
  7. I am an imperfect poet.
  8. There is a difference between work and discipline.
  9. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself.”
  10. Writing can be a form of spiritual practice.
  11. Once upon a time I bloomed words from the tips of my fingers like a… word-blooming goddess with flowering fingertips. Now, I am embryonic. I need to be patient with myself.
  12. I am unreasonably jealous anytime another writer gets attention and accolades.
  13. Someone inside of me thinks all the attention and accolades should be long to ME ONLY ME IT’S ALL ABOUT ME DAMMIT.
  14. Ahem.
  15. I am reminded of my gentle, loving, sweet-natured kitty. She gives teeny mews most of the time and has an endless supply of soft kitty hugs and purring cuddle sessions for me. Until another cat invades our household.
  16. Then, sweet Tara turns into a yowling, hissing fiend of a cat. She flips like a coin: one moment hissing and attacking the INVADER, and the next minute turning to me with a look of pure innocence, asking “Mew?”
  17. Sometimes Tara can learn to share space with other felines, but only after a long and persistent campaign of desentization.
  18. In matters of poetry and accolades, I am more like my cat than I would like to admit.
  19. I am an imperfect human being.
  20. There is nothing wrong with giving my embryonic, easily threatened Inner Poet all the time and safety and attention she needs.
  21. WordPress’s post-dating feature is the best thing ever for procrastinators.
  22. I would like to do NaPoWrMo next year.
  23. Other poets have blogs.
  24. Actually, I already knew this.
  25. There is a very large and very important difference between writing and marketing your writing.
  26. I tend to forget that every task in the universe — even those done online — takes time.
  27. I find the notion of making numbered lists of disparate elements strangely entertaining.
  28. I can scrawl a haiku in a notebook while stopped at a traffic light.
  29. Doing so is not illegal, but checking my email is.
  30. Does that seem right to you?
  31. Nobody said that life was fair.
  32. Encouragement and accolades come from unexpected places.
  33. I should take none of them for granted.
  34. Daily posting is good for me.
  35. I feel curious and optimistic about the future.
  36. If one is not careful, one may post a single haiku that still contains typos.
  37. I have been alive for 37 years and some months.

Feed the Hungry Heart on Feb. 22

Reasons you should come to Feeding the Hungry Heart at Prose on Feb. 22 at 7pm:

1) It’s all about the food. $15 gets you a vegetarian buffet of fresh, local food that will rock your socks off. Prose is one of the best restaurants in Boston, and $15 is an amazing deal. Dinner at Prose usually runs more like $40 a person

2) It’s all about the writing. Our featured readers will rock the socks off of anyone who still has them on after sampling the buffet.

3) It’s all about the community. Reaching Productions creates spaces that celebrate and support artists no matter what their level of experience. If you sign up for the open mic, you can expect people to applaud you. And that applause will rock your socks off.

4) It’s all about me! I’m organizing this event solo. As the date gets closer, I get the “what if I throw a party and nobody comes?” jitters. Be a pal and show up just for me. And for the food, writing, and community.

RSVP on Facebook by clicking this link

Or, comment below.

In the Midst of Madness, Beauty


The love-struck deer is asking, with his eyes
and tongue, is asking, with black gums and quivering
limbs, to be let in–

grinding against the actual gristle and crystal of salt,
wetted and domed in the forest’s center.
Someone else’s pleasure is always present.

The lick’s a sensate toy, a voyeur, watching him work:
shrinking her body by the second,
using lust, that dominant drug, to disguise aggression.

Apologies to the soaked ground, marked with arcs:
trampled bed, doomed intersection.

Paula Bohince

Reading tonight at Brookline Booksmith. I’m not going. I just get lots of email.

Dear Dad

Dear Dad:

Just a few days after you came to visit, we elected our first black president. Some people call him bi-racial, some people call him African-American, but we all call him Barack Obama. His father was born in Kenya, his mother was born in Kansas, and he was born in Hawaii.

Grandpa told me a story once about a time when you brought one of your college professors home to dinner. He was a black man, and I got the impression that Grandpa and Grandma weren’t too happy to be having a black man over for dinner. Grandpa may have actually called him “colored.”

This is what Grandpa said:

He kept talking about how money would solve everything, money money money. So I turned to him and I said, “I’m going to take this knife and cut your hand with it. Then I’m going to slap a hundred dollar bill on it.”

I never got to talk to you about that story. It’s one of the many things I never got to talk to you about, because you died in 1989. But I’d like think that you’re proud of our country right now. And I’d like to think that you would have voted for Barak Obama, too. And against Proposition 8.