Mass Poetry: Behind the Scenes

At our last official planning meeting Tuesday afternoon, festival co-founder Michael Ansara (standing in first photo) said that, “The festival is a bizarre experiment in collaboration.” This means there are an extraordinary amount of unnatural interdependences that have come together to make this festival a success. Months of planning, and we're now just hours away ... Yikes!

No doubt, there will be glitches, but I think we all feel as if we're truly a part of something larger than ourselves. How often does that happen? Not often enough.


We estimate 2,000+ people will descend upon Salem this weekend. The festival numbers look really strong, as they have all along.

  • More than 500 people have created personal schedules.
  • From those who have created schedules, here are the most popular:
    • Saturday Headline Reading : Mark Doty, Kim Richey, Patricia Smith, and Elisa Gabbert
    • Friday Headline Reading: Brian Turner, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Jericho Brown, & Enzo Surin
    • Mark Doty Presentation on Still Life with Oysters and Lemon
    • Small Press and Literary Magazine Fair
    • Lorca - His Poems and His Songs: A Melopoeia
    • Favorite Poem Reading
    • Celebrating Elizabeth Bishop's 100th Birthday
    • The Art of Critique and the Development of Craft
    • Speaking Pictures: Beyond Ekphrastic Workshop with Susan Rich
    • Box Lunch: Jazz and Poetry Performance
  • Patricia Smith's workshop filled up so quickly we had to double the size
  • There are 500 high school students and instructors coming to Salem State University for Friday’s High School Day.
  • And, we have 49 small presses and lit mags signed up for Saturday.

Now, if the clouds would kindly hold off until Sunday, we'd greatly appreciate it.


Keyword: Tremendous


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