In November 2015, more than 20 nonprofit poetry organizations joined forces to form a national Poetry Coalition working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
Mass Poetry's 2019 Poetry Coalition Programming
What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy
Throughout spring 2019, Mass Poetry will enlist members of our community to create erasures, or blackout poetry, of political documents including the US Constitution, Bill of Rights, Letter From a Birmingham Jail, and the speech ‘Our books and our pens are the most powerful weapons’ Malala Yousafzai delivered to the UN. Continuing in the rich, experimental tradition dating back to the 1960s, Mass Poetry will ask poets to create altered documents of the originals by blacking out text while exploring their newfound meaning.
Select poems will be displayed on our website and social media, and in July we will display posters on the T as well as in other public locales.
In March 2018, the Poetry Coalition will launch Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body, its second annual programming initiative on a theme of social importance. Programs will include a range of events and publications that address issues including mass incarceration, transphobia, violence against people of color, and health and self-care.
Mass Poetry's 2018 Poetry Coalition Programming
Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body
We are pleased to share that the 2018 Massachusetts Poetry Festival will feature poems about the body in its Raining Poetry project. Five poems will be selected to be displayed on the streets of Salem to celebrate our 10th Massachusetts Poetry Festival, May 4-6.
We are looking for poems specific to the broad theme of the body. The phrase “Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live” is an excerpt from U.S. Poet Laureate Tracy K. Smith’s poem "Flores Woman" from her collection Duende, which won the James Laughlin Award in 2006.
Using a biodegradable water-repellent spray and stencils made by local artists, the organization will place poems throughout the streets of Salem. The spray vanishes once dry, so the poems are invisible—until it rains. Once wet, the area around the poems will darken, enabling passersby to read them.
Poetry Coalition-Themed U35 Reading: March 26
For Massachusetts poets under 35, we are hosting a special 2018 Poetry Coalition-Themed U35 Reading! Submit at least 10 poems on the theme "Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body" for a chance to win $50 and read at Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Monday, March 26. (We will follow the reading with an open mic on Poetry & the Body. All ages welcome to attend and share at the open mic).
Our Readers were Prema Bangera, Melissa Leigh Gore, and Angela Siew!
From “AS YET UNBORN” - Stanley H. Barkan
From “Fingertip” -Louisa Clerici
From “HERE ON MY ANKLE” - Wendy Drexler
"Instructions for Skipping" - Marjorie Thomsen
From “The Art of Healing” - Prema Bangera
In March 2017, the Poetry Coalition launched its inaugural effort, Because We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration. For this collaborative effort, each organization in the Poetry Coalition will bring its unique mission to the task of presenting programs and projects on the theme of migration.
Mass Poetry's 2017 Poetry Coalition Programming
Because We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration
On a rainy weekend in Salem, poetry reigned supreme during festival weekend. City streets were covered with poems as part of the Mass Poetry Festival’s Migration Poetry Contest.
Sixty-four entries were received from Massachusetts residents on the broad theme of migration. Our theme, Because We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration, borrows a line from U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem, “Borderbus.”
The five winners are:
From “Embarkation” - Lisken Van Pelt Dus
From “Explorer” -Ashmita Malkani
From “EXQUISITE FRUIT” - Janet Aalfs
From “From the Sky” - Sarah Snyder
From “Kneeling to Kiss the Ground” - Jane Yolen
The poems were featured on Salem Streets through our program Raining Poetry...
Using a biodegradable water-repellent spray and stencils made by local artists, we placed poems throughout the streets of Salem. The spray vanishes once dry, so the poems are invisible, until it rains—which it did on festival Saturday. Once wet, the area around the poems will darken, enabling passersby to read them. The poems will remain for 6-8 weeks.
Excerpts of the poems were stenciled near Old Town Hall at Front Street in downtown Salem just in time for the festival. They will be on the streets for a few more weeks. Bring a bottle of water and watch the poems appear before your eyes!