Confession Tuesday

Nikky Finney reading at the Peabody Essex Museum

Happy late-night Confession Tuesday! I am one worn-out puppy. I started this post around 10 a.m. but never got back to it. Oh well.

So the Mass Poetry Festival has come and gone, and it was simply amazing! Rough estimates are coming in, but we think about 1,500 people came to the festival—an increase of more than 30 percent from 2011. We had more poets, readings, and workshops this year. And, for the most part, the weekend went off without any major glitches.

Now, from my point of view, I can see things we could have done better. Thankfully, planning next year’s festival will be my primary responsibility this summer. And I’m happy to say we’re close to a date for 2013!


Some of my favorite festival memories:

  • The carbo-load at Colleen Michael’s house the night before the festival
  • Seeing volunteers line the streets in our brightly colored hazard orange shirts
  • Hanging out—albeit briefly—with Susan Rich
  • Watching poets take over the Peabody Essex Museum
  • Seeing Joseph Legapsi’s poem hang the window of a yarn store as part of the Improbable Places Poetry Tour
  • Carrying Joy Harjo’s suitcase down a spiral staircase
  • Nikky Finny. Nikky Finney. Nikky Finney.
  • My wardrobe changes (oh, the stories I could tell)
  • Taking the poets out for a late-night thank you on Saturday night
  • Hanging out—albeit briefly—with Jill McDonough and Tyehimba Jess
  • All of the readings I participated in (The Mom Egg, Fire on Her Tongue, and Cave Canem)
  • Taking pictures with Annie Finch and our families
  • Seeing a very pregnant Marie Gauthier
  • Meeting Major Jackson’s son
  • Spending time—albeit briefly—with Marie-Elizabeth Mali and Tara Betts
  • The Sunday reading with Frank Bidart, Martha Collins, and Stephen Dunn
  • The hi fives and thumbs up from festival goers
  • Taking the stage with Michael Ansara and Beth Moore Saturday night
  • Having my family visit me at the festival Saturday afternoon


If it takes a village to put an event like this together, then I happily than the “village people,” aka the Salem Writers Group! Without their support, I would have never made it through the last few months. Thanks, guys.


My heart is so full of gratitude for being a part of such a grand poetry affair. Need a few days to take it all in.



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