Your Common Threads Kit is ready!

We are delighted to release the first Common Threads poetry selection and guide. The kit can be read on the web or can be downloaded.  Go to .
We are also in discussions about printing the kits and making them available for a small cost. We expect to know about that in the next 2 days.
The full kit consists of:
  • the texts of each of the seven poems;
  • specific discussion questions for each poem;
  • a general set of questions for reading the poems;
  • a guide to reading poetry;
  • a note from the editors;
  • short biographies of each poet;
  • links for more information about each poet and poem;
  • a list of resources for reading poetry;
  • and a brief description of MassPoetry and its programs.
As well as the kit, we also have created a discussion area where you can pose your own questions and discussions about the poems. You should also share any suggestions from what worked in your group so others can learn from your experience.
We expect to have audio for each poem up by next week. Then you will be able to play each poem on line, download the audio of the poems in an MP3 format or order the audios for free through iTunes.
Over the next week to ten days we expect to keep enhancing the kit with additional links, information and features. Keep checking back in to the website.
The total kit is 40 pages. For your group, you can either download and print the entire kit to hand out or you can send the link to each group member, and they can download the kit or read it online. Of course, you can also print specific pages of the kit from the website.
Please remember that while we set out to offer a great selection of poems and to produce a high quality kit — and I believe we have done exactly that with this first effort — we do all this on a tiny budget and with volunteers.  So, please, be patient. Expect great programs from us, but remember we do not have the resources of a university or a publishing house. This is the very first time we have done Common Threads. Next year it will be faster and easier. Particularly if we have the financial support of more people.
We depend upon you for the revenue that supports this work. If you think Common Threads is a worthwhile endeavor, and you appreciate the work that has gone into this 40 page reading and discussion guide, please, make a donation to support MassPoetry and Common Threads.
Finally, do not forget to make your plans to attend the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, May 13 &14 in Salem. Within 10 days we will be releasing the full schedule of poets, events, workshops and readings, with times and locations. This should be a remarkable festival.
Mark Doty will not only read his poems on Saturday evening but also offer a personal perspective on his book, Still Life with Oysters and Lemon, and connect the book to the new exhibition of Dutch Masters at the Peabody Essex Museum where he will be talking. Patricia Smith will read on Saturday evening and also conduct a workshop. Kim Richey will both perform and lead a worshop on song writing. Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye will perform on the Main Stage and lead a workshop.
Participating poets in the festival include: Jericho Brown, Brian Turner, Aimee  Nezhukumatathil,Tess Taylor, John Murillo, X.J. Kennedy, Tom Sexton, David Rivard, Gail Mazur, Richard Hoffman, Rhina P. Espaillat, Bll Coyle, Meg Kearney, Doug Holder, Jaci Jones LaMon, Regie Gibson, John Canady, Sharon Howell, Kim Triedman, Lawrence Kessenich, Marie-Elizabeth Mali, Afaa Michael Weaver, Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz, Danielle Georges, Fred Marchant, Jenny Barber, Ernest Hibert, Patrick Sylvain, Leslie Harrison — and that is only a partial listing!
Stay tuned for the full list of music, readings, workshops, panels and performances on our website shortly.
See you in May in Salem.
Michael Ansara