The Massachusetts Poetry Festival was a great success this year. Poets and poetry-lovers filled the waterfront town of Salem, MA last weekend (including Friday the 13th). I co-led Becoming the Other: Writing the Dramatic Monologue, and the poems that were begun there were great. They included a cautionary tale narrated by a well-known doll and a few surprise visits from unsavory murderers. The workshop took place in the Hooper House at the House of Seven Gables, complete with old fireplace, ironware, and pottery crocks.
I also took a workshop in Erasure and Found Poems with Angela Voras-Hills (in that same funky room), and got some good ideas for process poems and exercises. Patricia Smith, Mark Doty, and emerging poet Elisa Gabbert gave engaging, inspiring, thought-provoking readings at the headline event. The organizers and volunteers did a fabulous job. I came home with many ideas and the perennial wish for more time to write...
There was even a "poetry train" going to the festival. The 10:15 commuter rail from Boston featured volunteers who walked through one of the cars and sat down with small groups of people for intimate poetry readings, before moving on to the next cluster of folks. My group was treated to a selection of Rilke, Cummings, and ancient Persian love poetry as the marshes and shopping centers slid by the windows.
In the Hooper House with KL Pereira. Thanks to Rachel for the photo.