On Celebrating National Poetry Month While Earning an MFA

National Poetry Month is April, the cruelest month according to T.S. Eliot. And I get where he’s coming from, especially in Boston, where lilacs may or may not be breeding out of the dead ground. This month, everything bloomed late because the Weather Gods decided to send us temps in the 40s for most of March and April, and then bust directly into summer on May 2 with a high of 87. I should be used to this by now, seeing as I’ve lived in Boston for 18 years. But California spoiled me in my toddler years, and on some level I’ll always mourn weeks and weeks of room-temperature weather. The temperamental temperatures affect my mood as well, leading to unpredictable amounts of spoons.

The good thing about National Poetry Month is also the bad thing about National Poetry Month: everyone is celebrating poetry. As anyone perusing the listings I post can see, Boston has a thriving po-scene. There are open mics and slams and performances and launch parties and panels and exclusive hoity-toity readings every week and twice on Sundays. In April the listings just explode. And those are just the ones I know about–I hear about other ones all the time that don’t make my list. And then there are the informal writing groups, as secret and desirable as lesbian potlucks.

Continue reading “On Celebrating National Poetry Month While Earning an MFA”

Mass Poetry Festival on the Horizon

A few months ago, Mass Poetry flattered me by asking me to be a regional representative for Suffolk County. If you have a poetry group or event in the Boston area that is open to the public, please feel free to add a comment with your information, or fill out my contact form.

Here’s a brief round-up of happenings at the 2017 festival,  just two weeks away, Friday to Sunday, May 5 – 7, in Salem, Mass.

This year’s headliners are: Louise Glück · Eileen Myles · Kazim Ali · Andrea Cohen · Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic · Ross Gay · Rigoberto González · Aimee Nezhukumatathil · Emily Pettit · Tom Sleigh · Dara Wier.

Tickets are $20 General Admission, $7 Senior or Student, with a $10 additional fee to attend any workshops over the weekend.

Check out the full schedule, get all the details on venues, and purchase tickets at the Mass Poetry website.

Boston Area Poetry Readings for Late March and All of April 2017

March is the cruelest month, breeding
ice out of vindictive snow, frosting
wintry mix with freezing nights, forcing
whimpers from our dull mouths.

But at least there’s April — National Poetry Month — to look forward to.  As usual, there’s a convocation of poets at the end of the month in Salem for the Mass Poetry Festival on May 5-7. If you’re feeling like too much of an introvert for a mini-AWP though, you can attend one of the readings below instead.

All venues are in Massachusetts unless otherwise noted. If you have an event in the area not listed here, please feel free to leave the information in the comments. Posts are moderated.

Sunday, March 19, 2 pm
Frannie Lindsay and Lynne Potts
Brookline Poetry Series
Brookline Public Library Main Branch in Brookline Village
361 Washington St.

Sunday, March 19, 2 pm
Celia Gilbert, Ruth Lepson, and Ethel Rackin
Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway

Monday, March 20, 7 pm
Kathleen Ossip
Continue reading “Boston Area Poetry Readings for Late March and All of April 2017”

Boston Area Poetry Readings for April/May 2016

National Poetry Month culminates this week with the Mass Poetry Festival — an event that fills all of downtown Salem with readings from poetic luminaries, a small press fair, and workshops of all kinds. The poetic fervor continues into May.

Thanks to those of you who came to the workshop I did last weekend at the Rozzie Public Library — if you missed it and want to know about the next one, sign up for my mailing list.

All events below take place in Massachusetts unless otherwise noted.

Thursday, April 28, 6 pm
Matvei Yankelevich
Woodberry Poetry Room, Lamont Library, Room 330
Harvard University

Continue reading “Boston Area Poetry Readings for April/May 2016”

Two Poetry Events in Boston and Salem this Weekend: Mass Poetry and Janaka Stucky

Mass Poetry Festival 2015 LogoThe Mass Poetry Festival takes place in Salem during the first weekend in May — just in time to cap off National Poetry Month. Founded in 2009, the festival creates a sort of clearinghouse for the many poetry events and societies in Boston and the surrounding areas. Every year, the festival saturates downtown Salem in readings, workshops, and open-air performances celebrating the written and spoken word. This year’s headliners include Rita Dove, Jorie Graham, Richard Hoffman, and Marge Piercy. The weekend boasts approximately 100 different events and the cost of attendance will fit even a starving poet’s budget: $15.

To see a schedule and purchase a festival button, visit MassPoetry.org

Book Cover and Event Poster for Janaka Stucky's The Truth Is We Are PerfectIf you like your poetry with tattoos and music, I recommend the release party for Janaka Stucky’s full-length book, The Truth Is We Are Perfect. Janaka’s first chapbook Your Name Is the Only Freedom reignited the fire in my own belly and remains one of my prize possessions — excellent text aside, Brave Men Press created a beautiful book. The founder of Black Ocean Press, Janaka has a loyal following in the Boston area. The event, which includes both poetry and music, happens at the Brattle Theatre on Saturday May 2 at 9pm. More information Facebook and the poet’s website. And then there’s this, posted on the Facebook event yesterday morning:

Friends, I’ve felt increasingly conflicted about all the self-promotion this week during so much suffering and unrest. As a result, the other performers and I have agreed to donate all proceeds from ticket sales to a relief fund for those affected by the earthquake in Nepal. Furthermore, I will personally be donating $5 to the ACLU in Baltimore for every book sold at the event on Saturday. I hope you’ll join us in supporting others, through your attendance or in your own way.

Boston Area Poetry Readings for April 2015

Photo of crocuses again a backdrop of snow
Photo of crocuses by Tejvan Pettinger CC-licensed via Flickr

April is National Poetry Month. Combined with the advent of spring (and hopefully the disappearance of the last of the snowbanks), that means a massive number of readings in the Boston area. It all culminates with the Mass Poetry Festival, which runs from Thursday April 30 through the first weekend in May.

The April listings are more than ample, but I couldn’t resist giving a shout-out to Janaka Stucky, one of my favorite Boston poets, who will be reading tomorrow evening (Wednesday, March 25, 2015) along with Nicole Terez Dutton, Danniel Schoonebeek, and Jackie Eugene Wang at The Harvard Advocate, 21 South St., Cambridge, MA.

Wednesday, April 1, 7 – 9 pm
Emily Ferrera, James B. Nicola, and Zvi A. Sesling
with Open Mic
Raytheon Room, Wayland Public Library
5 Concord Road
Wayland, MA
Free and open to the public

Wednesday, April 1, 7:30 pm
Veronica Golos
Gloucester Writers Center
126 East Main Street
Gloucester, MA

Continue reading “Boston Area Poetry Readings for April 2015”

Boston Area Poetry Readings for May and Beyond

Light lights in air blossoms red
Like nothing on earth
Now the chains
Drag graves to lie in
This is May Day! May!
The poor’s armies are veining the earth!
Louis Zukofsky

Here’s the latest listing of poetry readings in Boston and eastern Massachusetts, just in time for Beltane and May Day. The Mass Poetry Festival is also taking place this weekend in Salem. It’s a weekend smorgasborg of readings, workshops, events, and exhibits that takes over the downtown Salem area, all for the cost of a movie. And parking is plentiful and cheap. Schedule and information here: http://masspoetry.org/category/2014-festival/ 

I also recommend the readings taking place on both sides of the river Monday, May 5 at Newtonville Books and the Blacksmith House in Harvard Square.

Thanks as always to my friend at MIT Press for compiling this list. Leave a comment if you would like instructions on how to be added to his mailing list.

Thursday, May 1, 2:30 pm
Arthur Sze
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.

Thursday, May 1, 4:30 pm
Jessica Bozek, Christina Davis, Jill McDonough, Anna Ross and Rodney Wittwer
The Bookstore @ The New England Institute of Art
10 Brookline Place West

Thursday, May 1, 7 pm
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub
Calamus Bookstore
92 South Street #B

Thursday, May 1, 7 pm
Susan Rich, Ann Easter Smith, and Rhina Espiallat
The Tannery Series
Jabberwocky Books
50 Water Street
Newburyport, MA

Thursday, May 1, 7 pm
Carrie Etter and Jennifer Militello
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
6 Plympton Street

May 2-4
2014 Massachusetts Poetry Festival
This event has many superb poets and the schedule is too lengthy for this email. Please find it online by using a search-engine “Massachusetts Poetry Festival” for detailed schedule

Friday, May 2, 11 am
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub
Reading and discussion with a seniors group
Sponsored by the Greater Boston area Jewish Community Center
Center Communities of Brookline, Hebrew Senior Life
1550 Beacon Street
Open to public

Friday, May 2,7:30 pm
Yermiyahu Ahron Taub
Reading at Temple Sinai
50 Sewall Avenue
Open to public

Friday, May 2, 8 pm
D. Foy, Robin Stratton, and Christopher Reilley
Dire Literary Series
Out of the Blue Art Gallery
106 Prospect St.

Sunday, May 4, 12:45 pm
Faye George and Dimitris Lyacos
Poetry: The Art of Words/Mike Amado Memorial Series
The Plymouth Center for the Arts
11 North St

Monday, May 5, 5:30 pm
Jill Walker Rettberg
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
East wing of Building 14
Room 14E-310

Monday, May 5, 7 pm
Linda Lamenza, Margie Flanders, and Margot Wizansky
Newtonville Books
10 Langley Road

Monday, May 5, 8 pm
James Arthur and Tung-Hui Hu
Blacksmith House Poetry Series
56 Brattle Street

Tuesday, May 6, 7 pm
Renaltta Arluk
An evening of words, prose, and melodies featuring local poets sharing their personal stories about climate change and mourning mother Earth. Inspired by Inuit spoken word artist Taqralik Patridge, whose words are at the heart of SILA.
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Ave
Free and Open to the Public

Tuesday, May 6, 6:30 pm
Seán Ó Coistealbha & Tomás O’Leary
Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway
(garage entrance is from Broadway, between playground and high school)

Tuesday, May 6, 7:30 pm
Lisa Starr and John Holgerson
For the Love of Words
Unity Church
13 Main Street
North Easton, MA

Thursday, May 8, 7 pm
Don Wellman and Tam Lin Neville
Cervena Barva Press Studio
At The Arts for the Armory
191 Highland Avenue

Thursday, May 8, 7 pm
Mary Bonina
Flint Memorial Library
147 Park St.
North Reading

Friday, May 9, 7 pm
Frannie Lindsay, Barbara Crooker and Amy Hoffman
Chapter and Verse
Loring Greenough House
12 South Street
Jamaica Plain

Sunday, May 11, 3 pm
Cecily Parks
followed by Mothers’ Day Tea
Poetry at the Library Series
Concord Free Public Library
129 Main St.
Concord, MA

Monday, May 12, 8 pm
Peter Campion and Tomás Morin
Blacksmith House Poetry Series
56 Brattle Street

TuesdayMay 13, 7 – 9 pm
DAY ONE: readings, remarks, and riffs in honor of Professor Emeritus Fred Marchant and to support The Suffolk University Poetry Project
C. Walsh Theatre
Suffolk University
55 Temple Street

Wednesday, May 14, 6:30 pm
Louise Callaghan and Mairide Woods
Cambridge Public Library
449 Broadway
(garage entrance is from Broadway, between playground and high school)

Wednesday, May 14, 7 pm
Jan Schreiber & Wayne Clifford
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Jabberwocky Books
50 Water Street (in the Tannery Mall)
Newburyport, MA

Thursday, May 15, 7 – 9 pm
Ken Lee and Debora Pfeiffer
Rozzie Reads
Roslindale House
120 Poplar St.

Saturday, May 17, 10:30 am
Elizabeth Doran, Carla Schwartz and Tara Greenblatt
Wake up and Smell the Poetry
77 Main Street
Hopkinton, MA

Saturday, May 17, 3:45 pm
Mary Bonina
Tony Brown and the Duende Project
Brockton Arts
Fuller Craft Museum
45 Oak Street
Brockton, MA

Saturday, May 17, 6 pm
Peter Shippy, Rosebud Ben-Oni, and others
Mr. Hip Presents: Reading Series at the UFORGE Gallery
767 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain

SundayMay 18, 2 to 4 pm (note earlier start time)
James Arthur, Audrey Henderson, and Sheile Whitehouse
Calliope Poetry Readings at West Falmouth Library
575 West Falmouth Highway
Falmouth, MA
Donation: $5. Refreshments provided

Tuesday, May 20, 7 pm
Marguerite Guzman Bouvard, Preston Hood, Lamont B. Steptoe
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
6 Plympton Street

Thursday, May 22, 7 – 8:30 pm
Haiku Reading by members of the Alewife Brook Haiku Group
Community Room, Robbins Library
700 Massachusetts Avenue

Monday, June 2, 7 pm
Margaux Novak, Robin Pelzman, and Lani Scozzari
Newtonville Books
10 Langley Road

Sunday, June 8, 12:45 pm
Jacquline Maloney and Molly Lynn Watt
Poetry: The Art of Words/Mike Amado Memorial Series
The Plymouth Center for the Arts
11 North St

Thursday, June 19, 7 pm
Hanna Andrews, Eryn Green, Stefania Heim
Small Animal Project
Lorem Ipsum Books (note new location)
1299 Cambridge St

Saturday, June 21, 10:30 am
Teresa Mei Chuc, Elijah Imlay and Ergo Canto
Wake up and Smell the Poetry
77 Main Street
Hopkinton, MA


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