2015 Mass Poetry Festival - Media Gallery

2015 Mass Poetry Festival Brings Poetry to the People 

“Poetry is the one place where people can speak their original human mind. It is the outlet for people to say in public what is known in private.” -Alan Ginsberg 

This past weekend poets from across the globe flocked to Salem, MA for the 2015 Mass Poetry Festival. More than 55 events took place, ranging from panel discussions, workshops, giant scrabble games, musicals, and even a Poetry Carnival among many others. Renowned poets from all walks of life took their turns at podiums and all over the city, reading the words which have moved many of us over the years. 

The 2015 Massachusetts Poetry festival was an event for all age groups and preferences. Whether you ascribed to traditional poetry styles, modern interpretations, or something in between, there was an event which was perfectly accustomed to fit those unique tastes. This festival presented the world of poetry as it was intended to be presented: as something accessible by everyone. It also expressed something that’s often overlooked: 


Poetry isn't just for poets. It’s for the people too. 


“Stranger in a Strange Land” by Rita Dove 

It wasn't bliss. What was bliss   
but the ordinary life? She'd spend hours   
in patter, moving through whole days   
touching, sniffing, tasting . . . exquisite   
housekeeping in a charmed world.   
And yet there was always   

more of the same, all that happiness,   
the aimless Being There.   
So she wandered for a while, bush to arbor,   
lingered to look through a pond's restive mirror.   
He was off cataloging the universe, probably,   
pretending he could organize   
what was clearly someone else's chaos.   

That's when she found the tree,   
the dark, crabbed branches   
bearing up such speechless bounty,   
she knew without being told   
this was forbidden. It wasn't   
a question of ownership—   
who could lay claim to   
such maddening perfection?   

And there was no voice in her head,   
no whispered intelligence lurking   
in the leaves—just an ache that grew   
until she knew she'd already lost everything   
except desire, the red heft of it   
warming her outstretched palm.

2015 Mass Poetry Festival

2015 Mass Poetry Festival

Festival Staff: 

January O’Neil, Executive Director

Laurin Macios, Program Director

Jacquelyn Malone, Web Content Director

Gabrielle Tyson, Program Assistant 

Michael Ansara, Co-Founder

Nicco Mele, Co-Founder 



Rita Dove

Nick Flynn

Richard Blanco

Stephen Burt

Denise Duhamel

Regie Gibson

Jorie Graham

Richard Hoffman

Adrian Matejka

Marge Piercy

Rachel Wiley




Hawthorne Hotel

Peabody Essex Museum

Charter School 

Jo’ Freedom Café 

Old Town Hall 

Finz Restaurant 

Salem Common

First Universalist Church