I’m headlining with Wyn Cooper and Rosie Rosenzweig at the Newton Public Library’s online poetry series on Tuesday, September 8 at 7 pm. There’s an open mic after the features. I’d love to see you there. You’ll need to register in advance in order to receive the Zoom link.
Erica Charis-Molling at Mass Poetry has published a wonderful series of interviews with local small presses that publish poetry. Small presses are the lifeblood of the poetry world, and poets who publish with them often receive more support and creative control than with nationally known publishing houses. Also, buying local is good for so many reasons. Follow the links below to read about these vibrant, innovative organizations.
Editor and Director Rebecca Hart Olander
Human Error Publishing
Founder Paul Richmond
Co-founder Randolph Pfaff
Rose Metal Press
Co-founders Abigail Beckel (Publisher) and Kathleen Rooney (Editor)
Ibbetson Street Press
Director Doug Holder
Central Square Press
Editor Enzo Silon Surin
Editor Elizabeth Murphy
Editor Elizabeth Bradfield
Cervena Barva Press
Founder and Editor Gloria Mindock
The only thing you need to do to be a poet is to write poetry. But occasionally, if you do the footwork and let go of the results, you get rewarded with some accolades. I’ve had a string of successes recently and wanted to share:
- In March, the Lambda Literary Awards selected my chapbook Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore as a finalist in the bisexual poetry category.
- On April 24, Athena Dixon interviewed me for the New Books in Poetry podcast. We had a great conversation about the writer’s journey, how things have improved (or not) for marginalized voices, and how writing practice can change over time.
- On April 29, new Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola selected my work, along with that of 17 other poets, to be displayed at Boston City Hall as part of the Mayor’s Poetry Program.
- On April 27, I performed alongside a slew of talented poets, musicians, and actors in the Solidarity Salon, an event started and organized by fellow Lesley poet Lisa DeSiro. The crowd that showed up to Third Life Studios in Union Square, Somerville was wonderfully warm and appreciative, and True Story Theater brought three poems to life–including one of mine!
- On May 10, three of my poems appeared in the Heavy Feather Review #NoMorePresidents online feature.
- On May 13, The Rumpus published my interview with Kwoya Fagin Maples about her moving book of historical persona poetry Mend (University Press of Kentucky, 2018).
- On May 15, the Harriet blog on the Poetry Foundation website picked up the article, thus causing something rather unlikely: my name on the Poetry Foundation website. It’s a far cry from having my poems up there, but it’s still pretty cool.
- On May 18, I walked in the Lesley University commencement ceremony with a brown hood to signify Master of Fine Arts. Lesley won’t award me the degree itself until I complete my graduating seminar at the June residency, but taking part in the ceremony was quite moving. My mother, brother, and sort-of-mother-in-law all traveled from out of town to celebrate with me and Mark, my partner and biggest fan.
Yes, Dispatches from an MFA are not up-to-the-minute coverage. More to come.
The interesting thing about po-biz success is how short-lived the good feelings can be. Lesley faculty member Tracey Baptiste has talked about the moving goalposts, and others seem to agree with her. I’m sure I’ll be eyeballs deep in existential angst soon, but for the moment, anyway, I feel like the Poetry Gods are smiling upon me.
Thanks to you, dear reader, for supporting me in these endeavors.
All that energy from National Poetry Month seems to have spilled into May and June this year. Of special note:
- U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith reading at Harvard TODAY, May 2
- Rafael Campo in Cambridge Monday, May 6
- Gabrielle Calvocoressi in Belmont Thursday, May 23
- New Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola in Roslindale Thursday, May 23
- Cervena Barva’s monthly readings at the Somerville Arts at the Amory
Thanks as always to Daniel Bouchard for compiling these listings.
Thursday, May 2, 4 – 5:30 pm
Tracy K. Smith
Harvard Arts Medal Ceremony
5 James St.
free ticket required
Thursday, May 2, 5:30 pm
Dawn Lundy Martin
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
February 1, also known as Candlemas, marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. Attend a reading to light your way from winter to National Poetry Month in April. Thanks as always to Daniel Bouchard for compiling these listings.
Of special note: Regie Gibson Feb. 13 at the newly opened Bedlam Books in Worcester; Morgan Parker (one of my poetry crushes) Feb. 12 at Brookline Booksmith; Martha Collins Feb. 27 at Suffolk University; Gloria Mindock Feb. 28 at Rozzi Reads; Layli Long Soldier March 5 at Smith College.
Friday, February 1, 7 pm
Linda Lamenza and Francis Lunney, Open Mic
Workshop for Publishing Poets
West Suburban YMCA
276 Church Street
Friday, February 1, 7:30 pm
Unearthed Song & Poetry
Home.stead Bakery and Cafe
1448 Dorchester Ave.
Sunday, February 3, 1 -3:30 pm
Lisa Sullivan and Iain Haley Pollack
Poetry: The Art Of Words
Plymouth Public Library/Otto Fehlow Room
132 South St
February 3, 2 – 4 pm
Zvi A. Sesling
followed by open mic
50 Sewall Ave.
I’ve been interviewing authors and poets on this website for quite some time, but having the opportunity to do so for The Rumpus really inspired me to up my game. I corresponded with Jennifer Martelli about her new book My Tarantella for about three weeks in order to have a true back-and-forth with her. The book spirals around the story of Kitty Genovese, a notorious murder that took place in the late 1960s, ostensibly while scores of people heard the attack and did nothing to come to her aid. I learned a lot I hadn’t known about Kitty, including the fact that she was a lesbian. Jennifer clued me in to a beautiful piece of theater and dance that tells the story of both Kitty and her lover, Mary Ann Zielonko.
My editor at The Rumpus also gave the interview a great headline–A Female, Bone-Deep Obsession: Talking with Jennifer Martelli.
I’m excited to be reading my long poem “On the Ferry to Spectacle Island” with the Improbable Places Poetry Tour at the Boston HUBweek festival next Sunday, October 14. The reading runs from 10am to 11:30am.
You need to register for the event in advance but you can get in for free if you do soon enough. Here’s the description from the HUBweek website:
The Improbable Places Poetry Tour, hosted by Colleen Michaels of Montserrat College of Art, has been bringing poetry to unlikely venues north of Boston since 2010. The tour began in a bicycle shop and has made stops at a laundromat, tattoo shop, power plant, Viking ship, and the YMCA – in the swimming pool. For this tour stop, poets will excavate down to Scollay Square. They will look in windows and wait in lines at government offices. Watch them work the concrete and slants of City Hall Plaza.
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.
National Poetry Month continues at fever pitch. Updated listings below.
New in this posting:
Lainie Senechal, Neil Silberblatt and Anna M. Warrock in Somerville (4/17)
Matthew Dickman and Jenny Xie in Brookline (4/19)
Krysten Hill, Bruce Willard, Kathleen Hill and Michael Stein in Boston (4/23)
Tommy Pico, Joseph Osmundson, and Dorothea Lasky in Brookline (4/23)
The Writers Room of Boston Annual Reading in Jamaica Plain (4/26)
Newburyport Literary Festival (4/28)
Kevin McLellan book launch and reading in Cambridge (5/4)
Luljeta Lleshanaku in conversation with Ani Gjika in Brookline (5/4)
Beth Castrodale, Peter Cherches, Mark Saba, Julia Carlson, and Lee Varon in Cambridge (5/5)
Kevin McLellan, Steven Riel, Quintin Collins, Eileen Cleary in Cambridge (5/14)
Thursday, April 19, 7 pm
Tom Laaser and Joe Kebartas
and open mic
Midnight Voices sponsored by Veterans for Peace
Friends Service Center
5 Longfellow Park (across from Longfellow House)
Thursday, April 19, 7 pm
Ellendra Proffer Teasley
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
Enjoy the thaw while it lasts and go see some poetry before the snow comes back. Thanks as always to Daniel Bouchard for these listings.
All readings are in Massachusetts unless otherwise noted.
New this week:
Anne Waldman in Cambridge (2/15)
Paula Bonnell, Tom Lyons, and Michael Todd Steffen in Somerville (2/20)
Elizabeth S. Wolf in Amesbury (2/27)
Philip Nikolayev and John Hennessey in Cambridge (3/3)
Jonathan Aibel, Ben Berman, and Wendy Drexler in Jamaica Plain (3/9)
Martha Collins and Joan Houlihan in Newton (4/3)
James Whitley and Maria Termini in Roslindale (4/24)
Barbara Siegel Carlson in Roslindale (4/26)
Matvei Yankelevich, Lisa Fishman, and Laynie Browne in Cambridge (5/5)