Boston-Area Poetry Readings for September and October 2018

Poetry and all that jazz

Take your pick of free and low-cost readings from Boston to Gloucester, Northampton to Providence. Of special note: New Hampshire Poetry Festival this weekend; group readings in Harvard (the town, not the university), Somerville, and Amherst; “Asian Glow” at the Pao Arts Center in Boston, and the Dire Literary Series Finale. Danez Smith in Northampton wraps up the list in late October.

September 15
New Hampshire Poetry Festival
Linda Pastan, Adrian Blevins, Robert Crawford, Sharon Dolin, Matthew Guenette, Kathleen Aguero, Liz Ahl, María Luisa Arroyo, DeMisty D. Bellinger, Candace Bergstrom, Julia Bouwsma, Cheryl Buchanan, Eileen Cleary, Quintin Collins, Peter Covino, Tom Daley, Rachel DeWoskin, Maggie Dietz, Amy Dryansky, Nicole Terez Dutton, Alice B. Fogel, Robbie Gamble, Regie Gibson, Peter Gizzi, Gail Hanlon, Todd Hearon, Krysten Hill, Richard Hoffman, Joan Houlihan, Christine Jones, Hope Jordan, and many others.
http://www.poetrysocietyofnewhampshire.org/fest/
Henniker, NH

Saturday, September 15, 1 – 3 pm
Timothy Gager, Marcus Pierre, With Open Mic
Everyone Has a Voice
Brockton Library Poetry Series
Driscoll Gallery
304 Main St.
Brockton, MA

Continue reading “Boston-Area Poetry Readings for September and October 2018”

Literary Collage Workshop Saturday, September 8 in Roslindale MA

I’m facilitating a workshop using the fun, hands-on technique of literary collage, or cut-ups. You can use this technique to revise your own work or make poems out of existing texts. Scissors, paper, glue, and texts provided.  No experience required! We’ll also discuss how to attribute poems “found” in someone else’s work.

When: Saturday, September 8, 1pm-3pm
Where: SpaceUs at the Roslindale Substation
4228 Washington Street, Roslindale, MA
(Across from Adams Park in Roslindale Square)
Details are also on Facebook

Here’s a video of David Bowie using the cut-up method:

Direct link to the video, in case the embed fails

Interview with Sarah Nichols, Author of Dreamland for Keeps

Cover image for the chapbook Dreamland for Keeps

The latest chapbook from poet Sarah Nichols, Dreamland for Keeps (Porkbelly Press, 2018), uses found poetry to reclaim a voice for Elizabeth Short, victim of a brutal murder in 1947. The gruesome details of Short’s death led to sensationalized media coverage and the nickname “The Black Dahlia.”  Nichols lifts words from a novel inspired by the case and remixes them into a pointillist narrative–Elizabeth’s own story, rather than the story told about her. The resulting poems are spare, bold, and utterly riveting. Nicci Mechler of Porkbelly Press enhances the manuscript’s artistry with a beautifully designed, handmade chapbook.

Sarah Nichols took some time to discuss the book, her writing process, and the political implications of her work with me via email.

Continue reading “Interview with Sarah Nichols, Author of Dreamland for Keeps”

Reading at Newton YMCA on August 3, 2018

Come see me read at the Newton YMCA on Friday, August 3, 2018. My friends at PoemWorks: The Workshop for Publishing Poets have graciously invited me back. Open mic to follow the features.

POETRY READING and Open Mic
Friday, August 3, 2018, at 7:00 PM
West Suburban YMCA
276 Church Street
Newton, MA 02458
617-244-6050
www.wsymca.org

Join us for a poetry reading with Frances Donovan & Kenneth Lee, members of the Workshop for Publishing Poets, directed by Barbara Helfgott Hyett, followed by an Open Mic. For more information about the workshop, see www.poemworks.com & https://www.facebook.com/groups/poemworks/ Hosted by Richard Waring, rwaring@nejm.org.

Frances Donovan is the author of the chapbook Mad Quick Hand of the Seashore (Reaching Press, 2018). Publication credits include Borderlands, Snapdragon, Marathon Literary Review, and The Writer. She curated the Poetry@Prose reading series in Arlington, Massachusetts, and has appeared as a featured reader at numerous venues in the Northeast. In 1998 she drove a bulldozer in a GLBT Pride parade. In 2018 she became a certified Poet Educator in Massachusetts. Find her online at www.gardenofwords.com and on Twitter @okelle.

Kenneth Lee is a pathologist at Brigham & Women’s Hospital. He is the author of four books of poetry. Ken will read from his latest, Late Revelations (2017), along with some new poems. He has published poems in many journals, most recently in Ibbetson Streetand The Aurorean.

A Note About the Venue: Please sign in at the front and provide a photo ID. Those who have already attended will be streamlined through. All are invited to help return chairs to the chair stands after the reading. Rest rooms are available down the hall, a handicapped ramp is beside the front door, parking in front & behind the gym as well as on Washington St. and most side streets nearby.

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On Celebrating National Poetry Month While Earning an MFA

National Poetry Month is April, the cruelest month according to T.S. Eliot. And I get where he’s coming from, especially in Boston, where lilacs may or may not be breeding out of the dead ground. This month, everything bloomed late because the Weather Gods decided to send us temps in the 40s for most of March and April, and then bust directly into summer on May 2 with a high of 87. I should be used to this by now, seeing as I’ve lived in Boston for 18 years. But California spoiled me in my toddler years, and on some level I’ll always mourn weeks and weeks of room-temperature weather. The temperamental temperatures affect my mood as well, leading to unpredictable amounts of spoons.

The good thing about National Poetry Month is also the bad thing about National Poetry Month: everyone is celebrating poetry. As anyone perusing the listings I post can see, Boston has a thriving po-scene. There are open mics and slams and performances and launch parties and panels and exclusive hoity-toity readings every week and twice on Sundays. In April the listings just explode. And those are just the ones I know about–I hear about other ones all the time that don’t make my list. And then there are the informal writing groups, as secret and desirable as lesbian potlucks.

Continue reading “On Celebrating National Poetry Month While Earning an MFA”

UPDATED Boston Area Readings for April and May 2018

National Poetry Month (image with flowers)

National Poetry Month continues at fever pitch. Updated listings below.

New in this posting:

Lainie Senechal, Neil Silberblatt and Anna M. Warrock in Somerville (4/17)
Matthew Dickman and Jenny Xie in Brookline (4/19)
Krysten Hill, Bruce Willard, Kathleen Hill and Michael Stein in Boston (4/23)
Tommy Pico, Joseph Osmundson, and Dorothea Lasky in Brookline (4/23)
The Writers Room of Boston Annual Reading in Jamaica Plain (4/26)
Newburyport Literary Festival (4/28)
Kevin McLellan book launch and reading in Cambridge (5/4)
Luljeta Lleshanaku in conversation with Ani Gjika in Brookline (5/4)
Beth Castrodale, Peter Cherches, Mark Saba, Julia Carlson, and Lee Varon in Cambridge (5/5)
Kevin McLellan, Steven Riel, Quintin Collins, Eileen Cleary in Cambridge (5/14)

Thursday, April 19, 7 pm
Tom Laaser and Joe Kebartas
and open mic
Midnight Voices sponsored by Veterans for Peace
Friends Service Center
5 Longfellow Park (across from Longfellow House)
Cambridge, MA

Thursday, April 19, 7 pm
Ellendra Proffer Teasley
Grolier Poetry Book Shop
Plympton Street
Cambridge, MA

Continue reading “UPDATED Boston Area Readings for April and May 2018”

Craft Annotation: Nonlinear Time and Poetic Structure

Image of spiral clock credit: Chris Limb via Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0.

An issue I’ve struggled with time and again is how to incorporate multiple scenes in a single poem while still maintaining unity and clarity. Dividing a poem into separate sections with roman numerals or asterisks may work, but not all poems are long enough to justify multiple parts, nor does this method evoke the seamless way a particular sense perception or situation can trigger associations with another time and place. Proust and his madeleine are a famous example: the taste of a cookie kicks off the epic, multi-volume novel Recherche du Temps Perdu (Remembrance of Things Past). Few modern poets have the luxury of such sprawl. But regardless of the length of the poem, one must still learn how to deal with nonlinear time in a way that mitigates the possibility of a confused reader. We experience time in a single dimension (past to present), but the way we think about time is multi-dimensional. It includes past, present, future, and possible divergences from a single outcome.

I set out in search of poems that dealt with the issue of multiple moments (past, present, future, and possible). Continue reading “Craft Annotation: Nonlinear Time and Poetic Structure”

Craft Annotation: Szymborska, Imagery, and Abstraction

As I discussed in my craft annotation on Rilke, modern poetry favors a particular aesthetic quite the opposite of the era preceding it. The rise of the Imagist movement in the early 20th century heralds this shift. As the name implies, the movement was toward concrete, visceral imagery and away from sentimentality and meditations on abstract concepts such as love or death – or if the poem is a meditation on love or death, it’s never explicitly named as such. In the preface to the 1915 anthology Some Imagists Poets, the school listed some of its common principles. These two in particular stood out for me:

  • To present an image (hence the name: “Imagist”). We are not a school of painters, but we believe that poetry should render particulars exactly and not deal in vague generalities, however magnificent and sonorous. It is for this reason that we oppose the cosmic poet, who seems to us to shirk the real difficulties of his art.
  • To produce poetry that is hard and clear, never blurred or indefinite. [i]

William Carlos Williams explores this principle in his long poem “Paterson,” Continue reading “Craft Annotation: Szymborska, Imagery, and Abstraction”