411 About Festival Programs

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival has seen a record breaking growth of interest.  The 2012 festival received a resounding total of 123 program proposals! While there were so many wonderful submissions, the festival was forced to select 80 programs to showcase. One of Mass Poetry’s leading volunteer’s Beth Moore said, “It was very heartening to us all to see how much interest is building in the kind of work we do at Mass Poetry.”


The 80 programs will be dispersed over the three day festival with the busiest day being Saturday April 21st. Saturday alone has close to 50 programs including major events such as a  Common Threads reading, a small press and literary magazine fair and workshops as well as many readings.  Friday and Sunday each have close to 20 equally exciting events. All three days will feature readings by our headlining poets. The Peabody Essex Museum will host a series of special children’s events for the festival on all three days.


Variety of programming

Beth describes the selection process for this year’s proposals, “We were especially on the lookout for originality and diversity. We wanted the festival to be a venue that would showcase a wide range of ideas, themes, poetic styles and cultural movements.” Festival goers can count on seeing this diversity in an array of programs; from readings, panels and workshops, to pairings of poetry with music, art, dance and many more! In addition to these programs, the festival is offering many programs to foster student enthusiasm. Programming will feature college writing departments, MFA programs, as well as performances by talented young writers from all over Massachusetts.


After perusing our schedule of events, you might notice some similarities among the programs. “Many of the programs do share similar themes, which we have found to be wonderfully varied and inclusive this year. Some prominent ones were poetry and music, poetry and visual art, performance poetry and slam, ekphrasitc poetry, poetry in translation, formal poetry, haiku, the local literary publishing scene, and poetry representatives of a wide variety of cultural groups and ethnic backgrounds,” Beth explains. In some cases, events with similar themes were scheduled together to highlight each other.


Celebrating Anne Bradstreet

Anne Bradstreet by LaDonna Gulley Warrick

This year’s festival honors Anne Bradstreet’s 400th birthday. Two programs that celebrate Anne Bradstreet will be featured together at The House of Seven Gables Friday evening. To My Dear Children is an exhibit of Bradstreet inspired art-poems created by children of North Andover. During that same time slot, The House of Seven Gables will also feature Anne Dudley Bradstreet: Then and Now,” a discussion and portrayal of the author’s life and poems.


Anne Bradstreet not your cup of tea? No worries, there’s plenty of options with this festival. Check out the schedule! You can peruse the list of events with detailed descriptions for everything. Register now! Spots are filling up quickly, so buy your button and we’ll see you April20-22.


Interested in experiencing the festival behind the scenes? Want to help bring poetry to the masses? Then sign up here! We’re always happy to have more volunteers!