Poetry Month — Poetry Festival

“April is the cruelest month…” and it is National Poetry Month. I probably write more on this blog about poetry than about anything else. Poetry is art that sustains me; it is the quiet commentary on my day. Little things all around me call to mind lines from poems; my inner life lives in the company of poems. I am reminded of the George Bradley poem “Paideia” which begins:

My poems are my children, and I swear
on the graves of my ancestors
I never laid a hand on them,
not even when they exasperated me,
when caring for them left me exhausted
and their cries in the night disturbed my sleep.

I rarely write poetry; I read it and memorize it. Writing real poems seems to me like enormously hard work. But poetry is such an enormous part of my private life, such a part of my joy (and in fact all of my emotions), that when Michael Ansara invited me to help start the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, I knew there was only one answer. Last year we managed to pull of an incredible festival in Lowell, with readings by Marjorie Agosin, Lucie Brock-Broido, Martín Espada, Rhina Espaillat, Regie Gibson, Robert Pinsky, Nick Flynn, and Ed Sanders that left me wanting for more. I ended up buying many more volumes of poetry following the festival than I should have, but “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. / There is no happiness like mine. / I have been eating poetry.” I was particularly thrilled to hear Robert Pinsky read one of my favorite poems, Samurai Song.

We had so much fun with last year’s festival, we are organizing it again – again in Lowell (Jack Keraouc’s hometown), this time October 16 & 17. I’m hosting a couple of planning meetings in April at EchoDitto’s Cambridge office – the first one is tonight! – so please ping me if you’d like to come. We need all the help we can get!

One Response to “Poetry Month — Poetry Festival”

  1. Little by little | jessicaslavin Says:

    […] Yesterday I reread Pablo Neruda’s Si Tu Me Olvidas. I think I am going to make it the first in my memorizing-poems project. I got the idea from reading The End of Big by Nicco Mele (which I recommend). He is a super interesting  and inspiring man. And one of his interesting hobbies is memorizing poetry. I used to do that, and I miss it. As he said, […]

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