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!