GETTING Mass poetry's annual fundraiser to feature david mccullough, diane patrick, robert pinsky and more

by Jacquelyn Malone

David McCullough, Sr.

David McCullough, Sr.

On December 7 at 7pm, Boston’s Huntington Theater will throw open its doors for a performance of a slightly different kind. The theater is hosting An Evening of Inspired Leaders, a benefit program organized by Kirun Kapur for Mass Poetry. The evening will feature more than a dozen well-known Massachusetts leaders, all of whom will be reading a poem that means a great deal to them. And all these well-known folks will be giving their time and energy with the hope that you will be willing to give to Mass Poetry so we can sponsor all our statewide programs. Tickets are now on sale through Eventbrite.

And here are our wonderful readers:

·       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 Poet Laureate of America

·       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., High School teacher, author of “You Are Not Special."

·       Charles Kravetz, General Manager, WBUR

·       Michael Brown, Founder of City Year

·       Julianne 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, Rock & Roll singer, front man of the J. Geils Band

·       Tom Ashbrook, Host of WBUR “On Point”

Here’s your opportunity to support Mass Poetry while enjoying an exciting evening. Tickets, range from:

  • $250 for a Sponsor, which includes two tickets, plus sponsored event attendance for one student. Sponsors also receive an admission to a pre-event reception at 6pm and access to reserved seating.

  • $150 for a Donor, which includes one ticket, plus sponsored event attendance for one student. Donors also receive an admission to a pre-event reception at 6pm and access to reserved seating.

  • $75 for adult admission to reading

  • $25 for students with students IDs for admission to reading

  • Sponsor A Young Person Every $25 you donate allows us to invite a young person to attend for free.

We also offer a Host level ticket for $1000. If you are interested in being a host, contact Don McLagan at for details.

Favorite Poem is co-sponsoring this event.

Remember to get your tickets through Eventbrite. Where else will you be able to see a Police Commissioner and a Celebrity Chef sharing a stage and a poem? Mark your calendar and get ready for an amazing night.

We asked Kirun Kapur, our organizer for the evening, a few questions about what will be happening at the December 7 event.

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. And remember our story from last week where we enumerated all the amazing things Mass Poetry does on a shoestring budget. This is your chance to enjoy yourself, and, at the same time, help us in the coming months as we bring poetry to the Massachusetts public.

Kirun Kapur grew up in Hawaii and has since lived and worked in North America and South Asia. Her work has appeared in AGNI, Poetry International, FIELD, The Christian Science Monitor and many other journals and news outlets. She has taught creative writing at Boston University and has been awarded fellowships by The Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Vermont Studio Center and McDowell Colony.  Kirun is the winner of Arts & Letters/Rumi Prize for Poetry and Antivenom prize for her first book, Visiting Indira Gandhi’s Palmist. She is co-director of the popular Boston-area arts program The Tannery Series and is poetry editor at The Drum. More info at