On Coming Home: A Note from Executive Director Daniel Johnson

Daniel Johnson | July 2018

 Laurin Macios, Michael Ansara, January Gill O'Neil

Joining Mass Poetry recently as its newest executive director feels like a homecoming to me. I mean this in the deepest sense. Poetry, for many winters and springs, has given me shelter. Poetry has offered up a space to
dream.

If you were to peer into my writing study, you would see that books, piled floor to ceiling, hold up the roof. Lorca, Brooks, Neruda, Dickinson, Szymborska, Rilke… these volumes, and hundreds of others, keep my roof from crashing down. It’s books, not bricks. At least, that’s how it appears to me.

I relish my writing time before my young family wakes up. But I also savor building community around writing. For nearly a decade, I led 826 Boston, the youth writing center fronted, quite whimsically, by a Bigfoot Institute. I’ve led writing workshops with prisoners. I’ve taught poetry to pediatric patients lying in bed. For many years, I’ve spent my days working alongside others to inspire the next generation of writers, to build something that will last for years to come.

I’ll wrap up by saying this: I feel enlivened to join Mass Poetry and look forward to working alongside so many of you. As you know, Mass Poetry Mass Poetry is vying with partners Grub Street and Harvard Book Store to create a Narrative Arts Center at 50 Liberty in the Seaport. The Narrative Arts Center would serve as an inclusive space dedicated to drawing writers from all backgrounds from across Greater Boston. I believe strongly in this mission and hope we get the chance to build a new home for stories together. Thank you for your warm welcome to Mass Poetry and feel free to be in touch with me directly at Daniel@masspoetry.org.

Read a Boston Globe article published on Daniel’s joining Mass Poetry here. Continue Reading.