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December 7 at The Huntington Theater
Thank you for joining Massachusetts’ brightest leaders as they shared the stage and a favorite poem in support of Mass Poetry.

Thank you so much to all who were able to attend a remarkable evening, as exceptional leaders from diverse fields read a poem and reflected on its connection to their life and work. The evening was a fundraiser for Mass Poetry’s many wonderful programs. This event was co-sponsored by the Favorite Poem Project at Boston University.

                                               David McCullough, Sr.

                                               David McCullough, Sr.

Our readers included:

  • David McCullough Sr., Pulitzer Prize- winning historian & author, John Adams
  • Diane Patrick, Former First Lady of MA, Co-Managing Partner, Ropes & Gray
  • Robert Pinsky, Former U.S. Poet Laureate
  • Julie Burros, Boston’s Chief of Arts and Culture
  • Andre Dubus III, Guggenheim winner & author, House of Sand and Fog
  • Jody Adams, Celebrity Chef of Rialto
  • Ed Harding, Anchor WCVB TV (Channel 5)
  • Margaret McKenna, Civil rights attorney & President of Suffolk University
  • Ed Davis, Former Police Commissioner of the City of Boston
  • David McCullough Jr., Wellesley High School English Teacher & Author
  • Charles Kravetz, General Manager, WBUR
  • Michael Brown, Founder of City Year
  • Julianna Devasto, City Year Boston AmeriCorps member
  • Joan Wallace-Benjamin, President of The Home for Little Wanderers
  • Larry Weber, Digital marketing pioneer and CEO of Racepoint Global
  • Peter Wolf, Musician, songwriter
  • Tom Ashbrook, Host of WBUR's “On Point”

Check out pictures from the evening!

All proceeds from this event fund Mass Poetry’s many programs, including PoeTry on the MBTA, which replaces ads with poems; Student Days of Poetry, where we reach over 6,000 students annually, mostly in underserved schools; Common Threads, a community reading program that reaches all across the state and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, the second largest poetry festival in the U.S., which brings together thousands of poetry lovers every year. With your support, we’ll do even more in the coming year.

Watch highlights from Evening of Inspired Leadership in 2014 & continue reading for an interview with our 2015 organizer Kirun Kapur, by Jacquelyn Malone.

What were some of the highlights of last year's event?
It was a great night with an amazing lineup. The Governor, Duval Patrick, read. And the former Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis talked about a poem that was one of his mother’s favorites. Bill Littlefield sang a song/poem. I was amazed to see such a wonderful lineup of Massachusetts leaders and to hear them express a love for a poem they had been close to – for many – since childhood.

Last year was the first year of this fund raiser. Did we learn anything we'd like to change or anything we definitely want to retain?
Last year’s event confirmed what we have long believed—that poetry is important to people from all walks of life; that it guides and inspires a wide range of leaders; that we need poetry if we want to foster creative, compassionate, powerful pioneers in every field; and that there is nothing like sharing poems, out loud, together, as a community.  

 What has been the most surprising part of your job?
I have always believed in the power of poetry, but working on this event has brought that home in a whole new way. It has given me the chance to talk to people from all different fields—entrepreneurs, politicians, actors, writers, students, Hollywood talent agents and clergy—truly, all kinds of amazing folks, from all walks of life. To hear them tell me about the poems that have mattered to them—sometimes even quoting a remembered line or two—has been deeply moving and a wonderful, joyful surprise.

What has been the most enjoyable part?
In addition to what I just said, the chance to work with the amazing Mass Poetry team who do so much poetry and for people—creating programs for thousands of school children, putting poetry on the T, bringing poems and politicos together—all on a shoestring budget. That’s been a true pleasure.

Besides the readings, why else would someone what to attend this event?
Events like these showcase what we value as a society—in our art and in our leaders. Come to An Evening of Inspired Leaders because words matter, because poetry matters. Come because we want to cultivate and celebrate truth, beauty, empathy and inspiration in the leaders of today and leaders we are raising for tomorrow.

We’d like to thank Kirun for her work on this exciting evening!