Poetry Workshop at Brooksby Farm

I did something this past weekend that I rarely do: overschedule myself. Yes, I’m busy. But I usually don’t book events back to back to back, especially on weekends that I have the kids. But these events—a fundraiser, a workshop, and a poetry reading—were a cross section of poetry gatherings, too good to pass up. And while all the events were terrific, my favorite was the free poetry workshop held at Brooksby Farm.

The farm, which is owned by the city of Peabody, MA, has a few historic houses on the property. About 10 of us spent a good part of the day at the John Fenton house. The concept of the workshop was to let our writing be inspired by authentic Colonial-era tools, documents, and lives at historic Brooksby Farm. Inside were many household items dating back to the early 1600s. Just wandering through the small rooms and imagining a time before technology was enough to inspire some terrific drafts. The bowl pictured above is the subject of one of three poems I’m working on this week.

The workshop, sponsored by the Peabody Historic Society and Montserrat College of Art, actually happens in three stages. The writing is just the beginning. This upcoming Saturday we meet again to create handmade books of poetry with a book artist from Montserrat College of Art. Not sure if we will each have our own books or one large collection. Then, we will have a reading at the farm in their barn/reception hall, which is just so rustic and wonderful. It should be a grand affair ... with apple pies! (Brooksby Farm has about 165,000 apple trees on its property.)

I left Saturday afternoon feeling refreshed and satisfied, as if I had returned from a retreat. Just one more reason why I like living north of Boston. The creativity and artistic collaborations are off the charts—some might say improbable. Thanks to Colleen Michaels for making it all happen.

Now, I have to write a few poems.


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