Back to School: Boston Area Poetry Readings for September and October, 2016

In August, I lean and loaf at my ease, observing a spear of summer grass. In September we stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store / and the gas station and the green market and

then we make time for poetry.

The listings below will bring you right through to Halloween. As always, thanks to my informant Daniel Bouchard for compiling this list.

Sunday, September 11, 2 pm
Plein Air Poetry Walk
Ellie Coolidge-Behrstock, Zachary Bos, Lucinda Bowen, Polly Brown, Helen Marie Casey, David Davis , Linda Fialkoff, Lynn Horsky, Terry House, William Lenderking, Moira Linehan, Franny Osman, Dawn Paul, Mary Pinard, Joanne DeSimone Reynolds, Susan Edwards Richmond, Hilary Sallick, Georgia Sassen, bg Thurston
Old Frog Pond Farm & Studio
Harvard, MA Continue reading “Back to School: Boston Area Poetry Readings for September and October, 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.

Rita Dove

Rita Dove may have been one of the first published poets I saw as a real human being rather than a sort of mythical demi-god. Sure, Adrienne Rich is still alive, but I’ve always seen her as much more removed and unattainable — in that regard, she’s in the same category as Eliot and Pound and Bishop and Millay. But Rita Dove, for some reason, seems like a real person, someone I might actually be able to meet and talk to one day. Perhaps it’s because she was poet laureate of something or another when I was in college (the U.S. maybe?). Perhaps it’s because I always associate her with a joint project I did with another student, and I still vividly remember that woman’s frustration with me for not being as on-the-ball as her. She also introduced me to those little sticky flag things from Post-It. They cured me of my archivist-horrifying habit of dogearing pages — plus, it’s easier to find a yellow flag than a dog-eared page. I have a package of them in my desk right now.

So. Rita Dove. In an interview in some literary journal, probably conducted because she was the poet laureate of something or another, she talked about learning to leave the end of a poem open, rather than sewing it up with a final sewing-up type line. I think about that a lot when I’m writing poetry. I try to leave room for the poem to breathe at the end, rather than making it a self-contained little jewel. A stale cream puff. Some poems lend themselves to open-endedness more than other poems.

Continue reading “Rita Dove”