Mass Poetry supports poets and poetry in Massachusetts. We help to broaden the audience of poetry readers, bring poetry to readers of all ages and transform people’s lives through inspiring verse. We are a 501(c)(3) organization.
Sponsors of the largest slam poetry championship for young people in Massachusetts has this as its motto: “The points are not the point, the point is poetry” (points being the scores earned in the championship contest). The Louder than a Bomb (LTAB) contest is sponsored by MassLEAP, a Boston-based collective of poets and educators dedicated to providing a platform for positive youth development through performance poetry. Over 40 teams from around the state competed in a friendly contest this last month, and four have emerged to compete in the state championship from 6 to 9 pm on Friday, May 6th at the historic Strand Theatre in Boston. The public is invited to attend with general admission tickets for $10 and youth groups free.
The program originated in Chicago in 2001 and has since spread across the country. Teams perform original works of poetry, and judges score each piece on a scale of one to ten. The winning teams advance through several rounds in a bid for the finals.
Done with Beauty: on Sandra Beasley—Festival Headliner
by Jennifer Jean
“And the artist in me saw a great opportunity in surgery.”
~bambam future M.D.
Sandra Beasley is a kind of surgeon. Her knife is poetry. Consider the penultimate line in her collection Count the Waves. “I am done with beauty,” she says. She’s analyzing a peacock’s rear. Not the feathers, but the butt, essentially. Throughout the poem, she’s parsing expectations—the usual direction of a gaze; the usual direction of praise or poetry; and, the usually ignored meanness of that bird. She’s staring hard at these things, and remarking. With precision. To end the poem, and the collection ends, she tells us: “Only a blinking eye can measure the light.” We end on biologic fact. On basic function. On a poet’s function.
To continue the surgeon metaphor—the flesh cut into, and sutured, is language. The major poem sequence in the collection, “The Traveler’s Vade Mecum,” serves as an example. In this sequence, originally a prize-winning chapbook from The Center for Book Arts in 2013, the poems are each inspired by a line from A.C. Baldwin's 1853 list of over 8,000 conversational/epistolyrical phrases for travelers.
Are you ready for the 2016 Mass Poetry Festival?
The schedule for the 8th Massachusetts Poetry Festival is live! Purchase a button and celebrate poetry in downtown Salem April 29-May 1, 2016. Our partial lineup of award-winning poets includes 2015 Pulitzer-prize recipient Gregory Pardlo, Marie Howe, Mark Doty, Sandra Beasley, Edward Hirsch, Ada Limón, David Rivard, Charles Simic, Ocean Vuong and Martha Collins.