Boston-Area Poetry Readings for April/May 2012

If you live in Boston and haven’t had a chance to celebrate National Poetry Month yet, here are more than a few chances. Some are readings and some are open mics — skim the listings for more details.

This information comes from a mailing put out by a gentleman at one of the MIT presses. His emails come out once every few weeks — no more than once or twice a month — and provide clear evidence of the rich literary landscape of Eastern Massachusetts. If you would like to be added to his mailing list, please leave a comment with your email address and I will connect the two of you privately.

Tuesday, April 24, 1 pm
Suffolk University Poetry Center
Sawyer Library, Third Floor
73 Tremont St.
Boston

Tuesday April 24, 7 pm
Writers at the Black Box: Graduate Students and Alum of the BU Creative Writing Program
Rebekah Stout, poetry/alum, Megan Fernandez, playwriting, Abriana Jette, poetry, and Laura Goldstein, poetry
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston

Saturday April, 28, begins 8:30 a.m.
Newburyport Literary Festival
Google it.
Newburyport, MA

Saturday, April 28, 10 am – 4:40 pm
Sunday, April 29, 1:10 – 4:30 pm
56 poets each reading for 10 minutes
inluding Sam Cornish, Rhina P. Espaillat, Richard Wollman ,Christine Casson, Dan Tobin, Jennifer Barber, Alfred Nicol, Kathleen Spivack, Doug Holder, Elizabeth Doran, Richard Hoffman, Lucy Holstedt, Charles Coe, Kim Triedman, Ryk McIntyre, January O’Neil, Regie O’Gibson, Kate Finnegan (Kaji Aso Studio), Victor Howes, Susan Donnelly, Jack Scully, Rene Schwiesow, Chad Parenteau, Linda Larson, Tomas O’Leary, Marc Goldfinger, Gloria Mindock, Tim Gager, Diana Saenz, Stuart Peterfreund, Valerie Lawson, Michael Brown, Mignon Ariel King, Tom Daley, Molly Lynn Watt, Ifeanyi Menkiti, Lainie Senechal, Harris Gardner, Joanna Nealon, Walter Howard, Zvi Sesling, Irene Koronas, Fred Marchant, Sheila Twyman, Robert K. Johnson, Suzanne E. Berger, and others
Boston Public Library
Copley Square
Boston

Saturday, April 28, 3 pm
Joseph Torra, Amanda Cook, and Sam Cha
Outpost 186
186.5 Hampshire Street (in rear)
Inman Square
Cambridge

Sunday, April 29, 3 pm
Over The Centuries: Poetry at Harvard (A Love Story)
A performance celebrating the work of Harvard-affiliated poets Ralph Waldo Emerson, John Ashbery, T.S. Eliot, Adrienne Rich, Robert Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, e.e. cummings and many more. Featuring an ensemble of Harvard students, the event will be a tapestry of live voices mixed with images and recordings of the poets themselves reading their work. Conceived by Professor Jorie Graham in collaboration with Matt Aucoin ’12 with curatorial assistance provided by the Woodberry Poetry Room.
Agassiz Theatre
Event is free but tickets are required. Limit of 2 tickets per person.
Tickets valid until 2:45 pm
Available on Tuesday, April 17th to Harvard Affiliates
Available on Thursday, April 19th to the general public.

Monday, April 30, 6 pm
Timothy Donnelley
Harvard
Location details to come, maybe

Monday, April 30, 7pm
Jordan Davis and John Godfrey
The Deja Brew
121 Lockes Village Rd
Wendell, MA
$1-$5 sliding scale

Monday, April 30, 8 pm
Franz Wright and Geoffrey Brock
Blacksmith House
56 Brattle Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge

Tuesday, May 1, 2:30 pm
Grace Krilanovich
McCormack Family Theater
70 Brown St.
Providence
Free and open to the public

Tuesday, May 1, 7 pm
Tom Sleigh, Lloyd Schwartz, Gail Mazur, Fred Marchant, Fanny Howe, Saskia Hamilton, Robert Gardner and Christopher Benfey
Celebration of Robert Lowell & launch of AGNI 75
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston (Green Line B, Pleasant St.)
Boston
free and open to the public

Wednesday, May 2, 7 pm
Rebecca Lindenberg and Stephen Burt
Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Cambridge

Thursday, May 3, 6 pm
Christian Bök
MIT, Building 6 — room 120
Cambridge
Free and open to the public

Friday, May 4, 8 pm
Myfanwy Collins, Carroll Donnell, Joel Peckham, and Yuyutsu Sharma
Dire Literary Reading Series
Out of the Blue Art Gallery
106 Prospect Street
Cambridge

Saturday, May 5, 7:30 pm
Julian T. Brolaski and Cole Swensen
Gloucester Writers Center Poetry Salon
126 East Main St.
Gloucester

Sunday, May 6, 12:45 pm
John Holgerson and David R. Surette
Poetry: The Art of Words/Mike Amado Memorial Series
The Plymouth Center for the Arts
11 North Street
Plymouth
Music feature at Noon

Sunday, May 6, 1 pm
Plein Air Poetry Celbrations at Fruitlands Museum
Special guests and CPC members X.J Kennedy, Bob Clawson , Barb Crane, Joan Kimball and and Amy Woods
Winners of CPC and Fruitlands Museum first Plein Air Poetry Competition will read their poems.
Fruitlands Museum
102 Prospect Hill Road
Harvard, MA

Monday, May 7, 7 pm
Susan McDonough, Margot Wizansky, and Connemara Wadsworth
Workshop for Publishing Poets
Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Cambridge

Monday, May 7, 8 pm
Stanley Plumly and Jane Shore
Blacksmith House
56 Brattle Street
Harvard Square
Cambridge

Wednesday, May 9, 7 pm
Jorie Graham
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge

Thursday, May 10, 7 pm
Jorie Graham and Sophie Cabot Black
Amherst Books
8 Main Street
Amherst, MA

Friday, May 11, 7:30 pm
Gary Duehr, Karen Miller, and Margaret Young
Chapter and Verse Literary Reading Series
Loring-Greenough House
12 South Street
Jamaica Plain Centre

Saturday, May 12, 3 pm
Kevin Bowen, Fred Marchant, George Kovach, Paul Brailsford, Marc Levy, Martin Ray, Aldo Tambellini
War and Writing: Readings and Conversations
Gloucester Writers Center, William Joiner Center and Consequence Magazine
Harbor Room
126 East Main St.
Veterans and students free
Suggested Donation $10

Saturday, May 12, 3 pm
Ned Balbo and Nancy Bailey Miller
Powow River Poets Reading Series
Jabberwocky Books
50 Water St
Newburyport (in The Tannery Mall)

Saturday, May 12, 7 pm
Naomi Shihab Nye
Old Ship Church
90 Main Street
Hingham, MA
$10

Wednesday, May 16, 7 pm
Susan Jo Russell, Jim Henle, Mary Ellen Geer, Oliver Payne, and Laurie Rosenblatt
Porter Square Books
25 White Street
Porter Square Shopping Center
Cambridge

Thursday, May 17, 7 pm
William and Beverly Corbett: Forty-four Years at 9 Columbus Square
A Woodberry Poetry Room Oral History Initiative
Moderated by Fanny Howe
Barker Center, Thompson Room
Harvard University
12 Quincy Street
Cambridge
free and open to public

Friday, May 18, 7 pm
Nate Klug and William Corbett
Back Pages Books
289 Moody Street
Waltham

Friday, May 18, 7pm
Breakwater Reading Series
Join us for a night of new fiction, poetry, and essays
from the MFA candidates of Emerson, UMASS Boston, and BU.
Brookline Booksmith
Coolidge Corner
Brookline

Saturday, May 19, 3:30 pm
Zvi A. Sesling and Alvah Howe
Poetry Series at the Brockton Library
304 Main Street
Brockton, MA

Sunday, May 20, 3 pm
Teresa Cader and Charles Pratt
Concord Poetry Center
Emerson Umbrella
40 Stow Street
Concord, MA
Open Mike. Free.

Sunday, May 20, 2-4 pm
Brookline Poetry Series
Susan Becker and Kevin Goodman
Brookline Public Library
Main Branch
Brookline Village

Pepper Spray, Football, and Other Words that Don’t Mean What We Think They Mean

Last night, as Army Guy and I sat down for a late dinner at Galway House, tables filled with (mostly) large (mostly) men shouted at the plasma screens as men in tight pants ran around and jumped on each other*. Eating at Galway House is like eating in your uncle’s rec room, if your uncle were Irish and liked Pabst Blue Ribbon and had a lot of boozers for friends — and liked to cook you really tasty food.

This was the first time I’ve been there during Monday Night Football season. Football, cheerleaders, and NASCAR aren’t really my thing, but I do love the Galway, in part because you’re as likely to find a Lesbian Avenger at the booth next to you as you are a member of the IBEW. And as Jamaica Plain follows the same path of gentrification that Cambridge and Somerville have, I find myself more and more drawn to the places I avoided when I was younger and upwardly mobile.

Last night we had to shout to hear one another, though, which was less pleasant. And looking back on the evening, I find the context of our conversation that much more disorienting. Surrounded by middle-class Americans enjoying a quintessential American pastime (drinking beers and watching football), Army Guy proceeded to explain to me the meaning behind the innocuous-sounding headlines I’ve been hearing on the radio. It wasn’t tabasco they were spraying on the faces of those kids who linked arms and sat down at U.C. Davis. It was a chemical compound 15 times as strong as a habanero pepper. And they didn’t just spray it at them. According to U.C. Davis Professor Nathan Brown’s open letter to the school’s Chancellor (which has since become a petition):

Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.

There’s more. This article in the Atlantic documents use of “less-than-lethal” force against OWS protesters across the country. The Washington Post also reports on “esclating protests”.

Our police are attacking our own citizens — our own children — with chemical weapons and clubs because they linked arms and sat down and refused to move. I turn on the news and I don’t know whether I’m hearing about Cairo or California. History is happening before me, and I’m watching it from the sidelines, more confused than a schoolchild will be in forty years reading about it from a book.

“It’s been fifty years since the 1960s,” I shouted across the table last night as our neighbors drank beer and watched football.

“Yes? And?” he replied.

“I guess it’s time for another round.”

We paused and contemplated the flat-screen TVs, the tinsel snowflakes and shamrocks that dangled from the ceiling.

“All those years ago in the 80s when people were telling me I was born too late while I ran around with a long skirt and a peace sign around my neck… I wasn’t born too late, or too soon. I was born at just the right time.”

I think about language, and how the language we use betrays our beliefs. As the bifurcation of America continues, I wonder how long it will be before we can agree to use any of the same words at all. Nonviolence or nuisance. GLBT or homosexual. ObamaCare or health care reform. Austerity or social injustice. Pepper spray or chemical agent.

And I realize something about myself, something disappointing and also something that makes me settle deeper into a sense of who I am. My days of protesting are over. I won’t be camping out in Dewey Square, although I will donate money and materials to those who do. I’m not brave enough to link arms and sit down in front of men in uniform holding weapons. But I trust that I have a purpose, some bit part in history to play, even if it’s a stack of journals in a dusty attic and a neglected little blog. And I will cheer my team on the plasma screen as I eat my steak at the Galway.

* In the interest of full disclosure, I should point out that at least one screen was dedicated to the Bruins (hockey) rather than the Patriots (football). There is no line of sight in the Galway that does not include a plasma screen TV.

Feed the Hungry Heart on Feb. 22

Come to an intimate gathering of fresh, local food and fresh, local writing at Prose Restaurant in Arlington, MA.

Reasons you should come to Feeding the Hungry Heart at Prose on Feb. 22 at 7pm:

1) It’s all about the food. $15 gets you a vegetarian buffet of fresh, local food that will rock your socks off. Prose is one of the best restaurants in Boston, and $15 is an amazing deal. Dinner at Prose usually runs more like $40 a person

2) It’s all about the writing. Our featured readers will rock the socks off of anyone who still has them on after sampling the buffet.

3) It’s all about the community. Reaching Productions creates spaces that celebrate and support artists no matter what their level of experience. If you sign up for the open mic, you can expect people to applaud you. And that applause will rock your socks off.

4) It’s all about me! I’m organizing this event solo. As the date gets closer, I get the “what if I throw a party and nobody comes?” jitters. Be a pal and show up just for me. And for the food, writing, and community.

RSVP on Facebook by clicking this link

Or, comment below.