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.
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
Peabody Essex Museum
Jo’ Freedom Café
Old Town Hall
First Universalist Church