In a post for the Vox Mom blog, Massachusetts poet Jennifer Jean writes engagingly about her belief in Literary Citizenship. In her case, that means contributing her time and energy to the poetry community despite the already robust demands of being a poet and working mother. As a Literary Citizen, she makes sure to impart a love of poetry in those around her. She also takes an active role in organizing poetry community-building events like the upcoming Massachusetts Poetry Festival (May 12-14 in Salem) – even if that means meeting with fellow literary citizens/moms, kids in tow, at a local bounce house emporium.
Now, here’s your chance to be a poetic citizen. Take part in the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, a three-day schedule of events, workshops, performances, and readings. Celebrate the literary heritage of this state, experience captivating poetry, and write with (and draw inspiration from) some of the most trailblazing poetic citizens at work today. One festival button ($10 donation, $5 for seniors/students) will grant you admission to all events (though the workshops will require pre-registration).
Some ArtSake picks from the amply excellent line-up:
- The Poetry Dress, a collaborative art project showcasing the layers of female voices in contemporary poetry, on display at The Roost
- Salamander Reading, (The Gathering, 5:30-6:30 PM, 5/13), a reading from editors and contributors to Salamander Literary Journal, including Simeon Berry (Poetry Fellow ’06)
- A performance of Charles Olson’s dance play Apollonius of Tyana (Main Stage, 11 AM, 5/14), with performers including Sarah Slifer (Choreography Fellow ’10)
- Grub Street Poem Generator (Green Land Cafe, 12-1:30 PM, 5/14) Grub Street instructor and past MCC Poetry Fellow Ben Berman (’08) will lead poets through innovative, verse-stimulating exercises
- What We Want (Old Town Hall, 12-1:30 PM, 5/14), a panel of independent publishers advises emerging poets on how best to get their attention
- The Headword Poetry Presentation (Main Stage, 1:30-2:45 PM, 5/14), Regie Gibson (Poetry Fellow ’10) hosts performances by area spoken word poets
- Steve Almond (Fiction/Creative Nonfiction Fellow ’08) will read his own (good) poetry (Main Stage, 2-2:20 PM, 5/14), before exploring bad poetry (The Gathering, 3-4 PM, 5/14) as judge of the Mass Poetry Festival’s Bad Poem Contest
- Patrick Donnelly (Poetry Fellow ’08) offers a workshop on How to Be a Good Public Reader of Your Own Poetry (House of Seven Gables Hooper House #1, 2- 3:30 PM, 5/14)
- BEG, BORROW, AND STEAL (House of Seven Gables #1, 3:30-4:45 PM, 5/14), featuring Perugia Press poets including Frannie Lindsay (Poetry Fellow ’06) and Nancy K. Pearson (Poetry Finalist ’10)
- AND DON’T MISS: Follow the Fellows (Phillips Library, Peabody Essex Museum, 4:30-5:45 PM, 5/14), with readings by MCC Poetry Fellows, including Ben Berman, John Canaday, Patrick Donnelly, Regie Gibson, Sharon Howell, Rosann Kozlowski, and Leslie Williams
The headline events will feature Brian Turner, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and Jericho Brown and Mark Doty, Kim Richey, and Patricia Smith.