Voices Raised: U35 Grows

by Josh Grossman, Summer Programs Intern



The crowd gathers. In corners, on chairs, on barstools they stand, sit, or perch. Slowly, they come to a hush, and the first poet begins, “The moon can’t keep hold of its’ skin. / Swept away, rough particles into space / charcoal dust / blown from the palm”. Her name is Hannah Larrabee, and she, along with fellow poets Heather Hughes and Mario Alejandro Ariza, will be spending the evening reading original poetry to an audience at The Marliave, a popular restaurant and bar at 10 Bosworth Street in downtown Boston. These poets were selected to read on this May night to continue a proud tradition of young poets at the U35 reading series, and to perform at the first U35 reading organized by Mass Poetry.

U35, short for “Under 35,” was first conceived of by Daniel Pritchard as a means to bring more poetry to Boston and showcase young, local talent. A bi-monthly affair, U35 is a reading series for young poets under the age of 35 that draws poets and audience members from across the state. Since its first inception in 2012, the U35 reading series has grown dramatically, and flourished. By March of 2014, U35 had grown such to the extent that Mr. Pritchard’s schedule was no longer able to keep up with the demand for more poetry. Without his leadership, it was believed that the March reading of 2014 would be the last of the U35 series, but thanks to a chance encounter between Mr. Pritchard and Mass Poetry program director Laurin Macios at the 2014 January U35 reading, Mass Poetry stepped in and has been able to keep U35 up and running.