Mass Poetry believes that words matter. We support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, 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.
Getting to Know Joy Ladin and Her New Book The Future is Trying to Tell Us Something: New and Selected Poems
I don't remember my first encounter with poetry, but my family didn't read poetry, so it was probably in kindergarten or first grade. I started writing rhyming lines I thought of as poems as soon as I could learn to write. It felt to me like something very important and magical was happening whenever one word would reach back and chime with a previous, different word. Although I certainly didn't think this way when I was young, I've come to think that my sense of the power of rhyme had something to do with being transgender – I always felt that who I really was inside rhymed with the girls and women who, because of my male body, saw me as being unlike them. There was nothing I could do in life to make people see the sense of likeness, of kinship, I felt, but whenever words rhymed in my “poems,” it seemed like for a moment the kinship hiding inside external difference became visible, audible, undeniable. I felt rhyme was so meaningful in itself that I didn't care wheter I actually knew what the words I was rhyming meant.
A historic poem is part of a public art installation in a small lovely out-of-the-way park in Charlestown. Set in warm mustard-colored tiles is a poem by Robert Frost that he read at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration in 1961.
grim demons slumber in the sea by the thousands. floating about, deranged and bloated, looking like five-foot worms, cast into the bay by the great storms. the newest bodies, more plump, arms wide apart, hover a few feet above the sea floor, where grimy oxygen-starved blue mussels suck on mud.
further on, more hideous bodies, nipped and bitten by sea creatures, great and small, slowly decompose in the dank water, grey skin peeling away. here lies the underlying tissues of this physics teacher, this registered nurse, this dishwasher, all of these students.