Mass Poetry Festival Update

From time to time, I will post updates for the Massachusetts Poetry Festival here. This update was sent to our email lists last week (here's the abbreviated version).


The fourth Massachusetts Poetry Festival will be held on April 20, 21, and 22. Once again, it will be held in downtown Salem at a number of venues including the amazing Peabody Essex Museum. Our program committee is hard at work trying to determine how many and which of the 123 program proposals (yes, 123 proposals—all of them good) we can actually fit into three days!


Joy Harjo and Shapeshifting

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, in partnership with the Peabody Essex Museum, is proud to announce feature poet Joy Harjo for the 2012 festival. Harjo will be reading in conjunction with the exhibition “Shapeshifting: Transformations in Native American Art.” Opening Saturday, January 14, Shapeshifting is one of the largest Native American art exhibitions to open in North America in the past 30 years. Spanning vast cultural, historical, intellectual, and aesthetic terrain, Shapeshifting offers a new approach to Native American art by exploring the conceptual underpinnings and artistic intent of contemporary and historic artworks alike.

Student Day of Poetry

This year, the Student Day of Poetry will be held Friday, March 30, and is being hosted by MIT in Cambridge. Students from across the Commonwealth will have the chance to work with a variety of terrific Massachusetts poets in small workshops as well as participate in a great assembly with special guest poets and performers. The workshops will run the full range from spoken word to sonnets and sestinas. As we are the guests of MIT, we hope to add some very cool science and poetry features. Once again, our own Regie Gibson will be our host. The day is free and is designed for both middle schools and high schools.

Register your school and reserve a space as soon as possible to make sure that your school is included.


Announcing the Launch of Massachusetts Louder Than a Bomb

MassPoetry and Mass LEAP are proud to announce the first Massachusetts Louder than a Bomb teen poetry festival, modeled on the Chicago program of the same name. It was the subject of the documentary shown at the 2011 festival.

This first year, we will limit participation to 24 school and community based teams--Already,we have 15 teams signed up to participate. We are looking for 9 more teams.

Teams need an adult sponsor/coach and generally meet once or twice a week after school up until the festival to write, practice and receive feedback on their poems/performance. MassLEAP can provide curriculum, information, and guidance on how to manage a team but it does involve work. The deadline for Team registration is coming up fast. If you are interested in forming a team or attending the festival, please email the Festival Coordinator Amanda Torres (, or Tournament Director Alex Charalambides ( for more information.


nwGg said…
Congratulations, January! You're moving from a full plate to a banquet. Eat hearty and enjoy completely.
Your blogosphere of friends support you!
Anonymous said…
I'm looking forward to seeing the PEM's Native American exhibit. (As it so happens the museum has a position AA [Education and Interpretation] that has sparked my interest- small circles stay close). Would love to hear Joy read her poetry there this year.

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