Cave Canem, Small Press Fair, and Medieval Poetry: We've got it all!

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival is just 4 weeks away, and every day our lineup gets more exciting.  Showing a glimpse of the range and depth

of this year’s festival, I want to call your attention to three specific events happening at the Festival this year:

Cave Canem: Founded in 1996 by poets Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, Cave Canem is a home for the many voices of African American poetry and is committed to the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. The organization has grown from an initial gathering of 26 poets to an influential movement with renowned faculty and a high-achieving fellowship of 287 poets in 34 states. Cave Canem fellows have published over 150 books and have received many prestigious awards–Guggenheim and Lannan Literary Fellowships and the Whiting Writers’ Award, among others. This year we will be having a Cave Canem reading on Saturday, October 17, at 3:00 pm in Lowell – featuring Metta Sama, DeLana R.A. Dameron, Tara Betts, January O’Neil, Jarita Davis, Jericho Brown, Lillian Bertram, Kamilah Aisha Moon, Jacqueline Jones LaMon, Venus Thrash, Joy Gonsalves, and Johnny Davis.  Space is limited – so reserve your seat today!

Small Press Fair: Massachusetts is home to a surprising number of small presses. Small press publishing is critical to the craft of poetry–without a small press culture, there is no sustainable American Poetic Tradition. That’s why this year – like last year – we’ll be hosting an all-day Small Press Fair in Lowell on Saturday, October 17.  The editors and publishers of 25 different presses and magazines will have their books and journals for sale and be available to “talk shop.” Many of the presses will be offering discounts and deals. This will be a central location for the festival & will also host book signings from featured poets – so be sure to stop by.

Medieval Poetry Workshop: The Medieval Poetry Workshop celebrates the inspiring survival of early English literature. Participants will be invited to practice producing medieval sounds, as we review the remarkable changes in pronunciation and verse features transpiring between Old English, Middle English, and Modern English poetry, in a presentation enriched by discussion of medieval manuscripts and their contexts.  Two medieval scholars will conduct the practicum element and perform readings from celebrated Middle English poems such as The Canterbury Tales, and two modern poets will read work inspired by the artistry of the Middle Ages, demonstrating the power and relevance of medieval poetry today. Space is limited – reserve a seat today!

Festival Schedule

There are many other exciting events – so check out our full schedule on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to see the full breadth of our lively weekend. And thank you for your patience – we’ve had some trouble with the event registration, so now you’ll notice two ticket options for both events – a free ticket, and an optional donation ticket.  All events are free – but we need your support to keep the Festival alive.  We depend on your donations help keep poetry fierce in Massachusetts — and to fund the Festival. We are still $6,150 shy of our minimum budget for the Festival — if everyone on this list gives $10, we are covered. Please donate today.

Thank you for everything you do for poetry – and please spread the word about the Festival. Without an advertising and promotion budget, we depend on word of mouth — so tell everyone about!  You can even follow us on Twitter, where we highlight a different event every day –

Thanks again – and don’t forget our 7 simultaneous opening events in Boston, Worcester, New Bedford, Salem, Lowell, Amherst and the Berkshires!

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival Organizing Committee