Getting My Features On

Recently the lovely Jackie Malone, Mass Poetry's long-time web content director, stepped down from her role, and I was asked to help out. It's with such pleasure that I have a small part to play with Mass Poetry again as the new Features Editor, developing weekly stories and curating Poem of the Moment, which features a weekly poem by a poet with Massachusetts ties. 

It's a pleasure for a number of reasons, including:

1) I love Mass Poetry. Simple as that! They bend over backward to take poetry to the people, always thinking on their toes, always pushing themselves toward the best use of their bite-size budget to broaden the audience for poetry, boost the poetic economy in Massachusetts, and support poets. Maybe you've seen their new Raining Poetry program?

2) I get to work with Lauren McCormick, who has been working behind the scenes on Mass Poetry's website for years after being featured at U35. She's an awesome poet and person, and does lots of cool book-related stuff, such as "Like This? Read That" videos. <3 Check her out at Burnt Fiction.

3) I love having the opportunity to feature as many exciting and dynamic poets as possible. Toward that end, we've updated the guidelines for Poem of the Moment, which was a program previously open only to Massachusetts residents with a full-length book. It's now open to poets with a strong and demonstrable tie to Massachusetts who have a chapbook or full-length manuscript. Our goal for Poem of the Moment is that it is a diverse and inclusive program/archive that features emerging poets as well as established. On the docket are Ching-In Chen, David Rivard, Rachel Eliza Griffiths, Annie Won, Clint Smith, and more. 

4) Series are fun. Check out the first edition of 10+ Questions--a new series in which we catch up with poets who have appeared in our programming, and stay tuned for an upcoming series on Massachusetts' "literary legacies." 

To have the goods delivered to your inbox, sign up for Mass Poetry's weekly email. 

#TBW to the Massachusetts poetry festival

I can't wait until tomorrow to #TBT the great long weekend I had at the 2016 Massachusetts Poetry Festival, so #TBW it is! :) It was so good to see my old colleagues and friends, and a pleasure to have the opportunity to experience the festival from the other side--that of a poet and attendee. (It took a while for that to sink in though, and for me to stop running into headquarters to see if anyone needed me to do anything--but I got the hang of it eventually!)

On Saturday I had the honor and extreme pleasure of being the opening act for David Rivard and Charles Simic, my mentors of three years at UNH. Audio excerpts from that reading are posted here. And before that, on Friday, I was part of the Student Day of Poetry, leading the workshop "Get Your Ode On" and sharing a poem at the reading and open mic. I have really missed being in the classroom and working with students, only having led a couple workshops since my time teaching at UNH. These students were inspiring, too, and so interested in poetry. It was a blast sharing poetry with them and hearing their writing. For inspiration we read "Possibilities" by Wislawa Syzmborska, "Ode to Chicken" by Kevin Young, and "Ode to My Blackness" by Evie Shockley. (Had we time, we would have read Neruda's "Ode to My Socks," as well--and so much more!) I'm really excited to be able to share some student work with you. First up: "Ode to a Wonderful Relationship," by Burlington High School senior Timmy Sullivan. Stay tuned for more!

It was a pleasure, too, to see readings and talks by Sandra Beasley, Edward Hirsch, Ocean Vuong, Martha Collins, Richard Blanco, Fred Marchant, David Ferry, Jenny Barber, Marie Howe, Mark Doty, Ada Limón, Greg Pardlo, and so many more--and there are even MORE poets whose wonderful sessions I unfortunately missed--too many to name! That is the tough part of such vibrant festivals with so much to do and see--but that's a nice problem to have. Can't wait till next year!