Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Home Sweet Home

Sarajevo hard at work
I am so glad to be back home in the craziness of end of the quarter (almost) grading and the sense that summer will come soon with (finally) time to devote to my writing. In the meantime, I capped off my year of travel with a marvelous weekend at the Massachusetts' Poetry Festival in Salem, MA. Organizers of this festival understood the playfulness of poetry festivals and saw to everything from poetry trains and trollys to memorable sessions on Lorca and Bishop. I've been to dozens of poetry festivals and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival ranks as a world class event.

I don't know all the names of the village of volunteers that made this event possible, but I do know that three key players were Michael Ansara, January O'Neil, and Jennifer Jean. I tip my poetry cap to you!

As a former organizer for Amnesty International USA, I know all the energy and months of planning it takes to pull off an event with an outdoor stage, several different venues, over a hundred (!) poets, and a series of musical acts. Please forgive me for not mentioning special projects like The Poetry Dress and other amazing things that were included in this festival. As a participant, I gave a workshop, "Speaking Pictures" and spoke on a panel on "Lives of the Poets" my job was easy. I worked with the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) and was overwhelmed with the warmth and cooperation that everyone I encountered there from Michelle Moon to the museum security guards showed me.

I'm still thinking about what made this event so important for me, but for now let me mention some personal highlights.

Mark Doty speaking on Dutch Still Life at the PEM

Lloyd Schwartz on Elizabeth Bishop at the PEM

Meeting an old friend in the women's bathroom at the PEM

Spending time with new friend poets Joseph O. Legaspi and Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Duende on deck

More to come!


  1. Believe me when I say the pleasure was all mine!

    So wonderful to see you, Susan. And I'm looking forward to visiting you in your neck of the woods later this year.

  2. Thanks, January -- How does Thursday, October 13th sound?