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Poetry [clear filter]
Saturday, October 19
 

10:45am EDT

Poetry at the Extremes
Former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky has been called “our finest living example of [the American civic poet]” by the New York Times. In his newest anthology, The Mind Has Cliffs of Fall: Poetry at the Extremes of Feeling, Pinsky continues to champion poetry’s relevance, by presenting a sweeping overview of how poets both ancient and contemporary have used poetry to address the full range of human emotion—from despair to ecstasy. Pinsky will be joined by contributors Maggie Dietz, Martín Espada, and Jill McDonough to read their own poems from the collection, as well as other collected poems demonstrating poetry at the heights and depths of emotion. Obama inaugural poet Richard Blanco, author most recently of How to Love a Country, will host what’s sure to be a powerful session exploring how poets articulate our most visceral emotions. Sponsored by Mass Poetry.

Moderators
avatar for Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco is a poet, professor, public speaker, memoirist, and civil engineer. He was the first immigrant, the first Latino, the first openly gay person, and the youngest person to be a US inaugural poet when he read at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration. He is also the first... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Jill McDonough

Jill McDonough

Jill McDonough is a poet and the recipient of three Pushcart prizes and fellowships from the Lannan Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fine Arts Work Center, the New York Public Library, the Library of Congress, and Stanford’s Stegner program. Her books of poems... Read More →
avatar for Maggie Dietz

Maggie Dietz

Maggie Dietz is the author of poetry collections That Kind of Happy and Perennial Fall, which won New Hampshire’s 2007 Jane Kenyon Award for Outstanding Book of Poetry. Her work has appeared widely in poetry journals like Poetry, Ploughshares, Threepenny Review, Agni, and Harvard... Read More →
avatar for Martín Espada

Martín Espada

As a poet, editor, essayist, and translator, Martín Espada has published close to twenty books including the poetry collections Vivas to Those Who Have Failed; The Trouble Ball; The Republic of Poetry, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize; and Alabanza. He has received the... Read More →
avatar for Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky

Robert Pinsky is a poet, translator, critic, and essayist who served as US Poet Laureate from 1997 to 2000. His work—which has earned him the PEN/Voelcker Award, the William Carlos William Prize, the Lenore Marshall Prize, Italy’s Premio Capri, the Korean Manhae Award, and the... Read More →

Sponsors

Saturday October 19, 2019 10:45am - 11:45am EDT
BPL McKim Exhibition Hall 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

1:30pm EDT

Something New with Febo: A Poetry Workshop
Does the blank page taunt you? Do you feel like writers block might start charging you rent? Interested in a new approach to your craft? Using a new process Febo has developed called Slinging, this embodied workshop will get you up and moving and ready to write. All you need is a phone, something to write on and with, and a willingness to try something new. Sponsored by Mass Poetry.

Presenters
avatar for Febo

Febo

Anthony Febo is a poet, actor, youth worker, lover, and friend. He founded Mill City Slam, the adult slam poetry scene, and M.O.M.S., the Middlesex/UMass Lowell college slam poetry scene in 2010. Alongside his fellow partners in rhyme, in 2009 he founded FreeVerse!, a youth organization... Read More →

Sponsors

Saturday October 19, 2019 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT
BPL Exchange 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

2:00pm EDT

Sea Stories
Join us for a stimulating mix of poetry, history, mystery, anthropology, and environmentalism, all relating to the sea. The session will begin with a reading by poet and naturalist Elizabeth Bradfield from her new collection, Toward Antarctica, informed by her work as a guide on ships in Antarctica. Christina Thompson will speak about Sea People, called a “grand, symphonic, beautifully written book,” by the Boston Globe. In it, she investigates what came to be known as the Problem of Polynesian Origins: the mystery of how a pre-literate people managed to navigate and inhabit the remotest islands in the Pacific Ocean. Bathsheba Demuth’s Floating Coast, hailed as brilliant by multiple reviewers, offers a uniquely told history of a unique place, Beringia, the Arctic land and waters that stretch from Russia to Canada. Demuth combines ecology, anthropology, and reportage to forge a fascinating environmental history of a largely overlooked landscape. David Armitage, professor of history at Harvard and editor, most recently, of Civil Wars: A History of Ideas, will moderate.

Moderators
avatar for David Armitage

David Armitage

David Armitage is the Lloyd C. Blankfein Professor of History at Harvard University, where he teaches intellectual and international history. He is the author or editor of seventeen award-winning books including The Ideological Origins of the British Empire, The Declaration of Independence... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Bathsheba Demuth

Bathsheba Demuth

Bathsheba DeMuth is an environmental historian, professor, and author. DeMuth specializes in the northern environments and cultures of the lands and seas of the Russian and North American Arctic, and she is an assistant professor of history and environment and society at Brown University... Read More →
avatar for Christina Thompson

Christina Thompson

Christina Thompson is a memoirist, editor, and professor. Her work, which has appeared in the Paris Review, the Boston Globe, and JSTOR Daily, often explores the effects of Westernization on the islands of the Pacific. She is the author of Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You... Read More →
avatar for Elizabeth Bradfield

Elizabeth Bradfield

Elizabeth Bradfield is a poet, author, photographer, and naturalist. Her work has appeared in the New Yorker, West Branch, Poetry, the Atlantic Monthly, and Orion, and she earned a Stegner Fellowship and the Audre Lorde Prize. She was also a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
Old South Mary Norton 645 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

2:30pm EDT

A Country of Immigrants
For those who succeed in passing through the golden door of the promised land, the dream and the reality of America often clash. Abdi Nor Iftin, author of Call Me American, grew up during the civil war in Somalia. The story of his life and his determination to reach the United States is epic, his joy at succeeding unbounded—until the election of Donald Trump. Poet Richard Blanco, born in Spain of Cuban refugee parents, came to America as a child. His recent travels across the country to discover our shared identity provided material for his latest volume of poems, How to Love a Country. Both authors give voice to the complexity and contradictions of a place whose motto is e pluribus unum. Our discussion will be moderated by Simón Ríos, first-generation American and reporter for WBUR. Sponsored by G. Barrie Landry.

Moderators
avatar for Simón Ríos

Simón Ríos

Simón Rios is an award-winning, bilingual newsroom reporter at WBUR. Prior to WBUR, Rios spent two years working at the Standard-Times in New Bedford, where he covered business and immigration. A graduate of Emerson College, Rios worked as a carpenter, a cab driver, and a musician... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Abdi Nor Iftin

Abdi Nor Iftin

Abdi Nor Iftin is a memorist and former correspondent for NPR. He is the author of Call Me American, a memoir detailing his childhood in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia, until he was granted a visa to live in the United States. In 2015, Iftin was the subject of This American Life... Read More →
avatar for Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco

Richard Blanco is a poet, professor, public speaker, memoirist, and civil engineer. He was the first immigrant, the first Latino, the first openly gay person, and the youngest person to be a US inaugural poet when he read at President Obama’s 2013 inauguration. He is also the first... Read More →


Saturday October 19, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT
Trinity Forum 206 Clarendon St, Boston, MA, 02116

2:30pm EDT

Poems of Bewilderment and Loss
According to an interview in BOMB, Nick Flynn’s latest collection of poetry, I Will Destroy You, was written “in a state of consciously and actively attempting not to write.” The result is a collection of poems, as Flynn admits, that “came out sideways,” depicting struggles with marriage, with fatherhood, with fidelity, and with mortality--in short, with what it means to be alive in the world. Martha Collins’s latest book, Because What Else Could I Do, is a spare yet visceral collection of fifty-five short poems, most addressed to her late husband in the six months following his sudden death. Booklist praises the collection, which “urgently and unflinchingly captures the shock and reverberation of unexpected grief.” Collins and Flynn will each read from their latest collections, followed by a discussion of the work, moderated by award-winning poet Fred Marchant. Sponsored by Mass Poetry.

Moderators
avatar for Fred Marchant

Fred Marchant

Fred Marchant is the author of five books of poetry, the most recent of which, Said Not Said, was recently recognized as an Honors Book for 2017 by the Massachusetts Book Awards. Earlier books include Full Moon Boat, House on Water, House in Air, and The Looking House. His first book... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Martha Collins

Martha Collins

Martha Collins has just published her tenth book of poetry, Because What Else Can I Do. Her previous volumes include Admit One: An American Scrapbook, White Papers, and the book-length poem Blue Front, as well as the paired volumes Night Unto Night and Day Unto Day. Collins has also... Read More →
avatar for Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn

Nick Flynn is the author of three memoirs: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which won the PEN/Martha Albrand Award for the Art of the Memoir and has been translated into fifteen languages; The Ticking is the Bomb: A Memoir of Bewilderment; and The Reenactments. Flynn is also the... Read More →

Sponsors

Saturday October 19, 2019 2:30pm - 3:30pm EDT
Emmanuel Parish Hall 15 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02116

3:15pm EDT

Don't Read Poetry
When a respected Harvard English professor, literary critic, and poet with several published collections of her own tells us “Don’t Read Poetry,” should we take her at her word? In Don’t Read Poetry, Stephanie Burt brings her trademark wit and enthusiasm to bear on the essential—but sometimes intimidating—prospect of reading poems. “Don’t assume poetry ever means only one thing,” writes Burt, “other than maybe a set of tools for making things with words.” In this lively, entertaining, and educational session, Burt will encourage us to let go of our assumptions about poetry and invite us to seek out poems and poets, both classic and contemporary, whose styles speak to us—and to share the poems we love with others. Joining Burt to discuss what Publishers Weekly calls an “eloquent literary primer” is poet Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, whose most recent collection is How Narrow My Escapes. Sponsored by Mass Poetry.

Moderators
avatar for Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an assistant professor in the creative writing program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She was recently named the new director of the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival. Bertram has published poetry, prose, and essays in numerous journals... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Stephanie Burt

Stephanie Burt

Stephanie Burt is an expert in American poetry, both in its composition and its critique. She has been called “one of the most influential poetry critics of a generation” by the New York Times. Burt also teaches at Harvard University, sharing with students not only her expertise... Read More →

Sponsors

Saturday October 19, 2019 3:15pm - 4:15pm EDT
BPL McKim Exhibition Hall 700 Boylston St, Boston, MA, 02116

5:30pm EDT

Poems and Pints
We’re thrilled to return to the Room & Board furniture store for our annual toast to the art of poetry. Join fellow poetry fans to sample seasonal beers and pretzels and hear new work by four terrific poets: Kevin Coval (Everything Must Go), Brandon Melendez (Gold That Frames the Mirror), Morgan Parker (Magical Negro), and Claudia Wilson (Grown). Incredible poetry, cozy surroundings, a refreshing beverage, and the company of good friends—what better way to cap off the first day of BBF weekend? This laid-back evening of poetry for ages 21+ is sponsored by Mass Poetry and hosted by Mass Poetry’s education director, Erica Charis-Molling

Moderators
avatar for Erica Charis-Molling

Erica Charis-Molling

Erica Charis-Molling is a poet, educator, and librarian. Her writing has been published in Crosswinds, Presence, Glass, Anchor, Vinyl, Entropy, and Mezzo Cammin and is forthcoming in Redivider. She’s an alum of the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and received her MFA in creative... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Morgan Parker

Morgan Parker

Morgan Parker is a Pushcart Prize–winning poet, novelist, and nonfiction writer. Her publications include There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé, and most recently, the poetry collection Magical Negro and the YA novel Who Put This Song On?
avatar for Brandon Melendez

Brandon Melendez

Brandon Melendez is a Mexican American poet from California. He won the 2018 Academy of American Poets Award and is a National Poetry Slam finalist and two-time Berkeley Grand Slam champion as well as a member of the 2017 Boston Poetry Slam team. His work has been published in the... Read More →
avatar for Claudia Wilson

Claudia Wilson

Claudia M. Wilson is a poet, instructor, and social worker who lives and plays in Amherst. They have featured at various venues in Ohio and Boston such as Writer's Block, Fazenda Queer Reading, and The Oberon. Wilson's present work in progress centers embodiment, familial relationships... Read More →
avatar for Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval is an award-winning poet and activist from Chicago known for his unique blend of personal experience and calls to action. He is the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and the cofounder of Louder than a Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival, now one of the nation’s... Read More →

Sponsors

Saturday October 19, 2019 5:30pm - 7:00pm EDT
Room & Board 375 Newbury St, Boston, MA, 02115
 
Sunday, October 20
 

1:30pm EDT

Poetry Keynote: Reginald Dwayne Betts
Dwayne Betts’s personal story is one of reinvention and redemption. Convicted of felony carjacking in his teens, Betts was sentenced to nine years in prison. He was released after eight, determined to use education to change his path in life and to advocate for others. With inspiring speed, he earned a bachelor’s degree, an MFA, and a law degree—becoming one of the first felons to do so—from Yale Law School. As well, he’s currently a PhD candidate in law at Yale. Poet, memoirist, lawyer, husband, father, and, yes, felon Reginald Dwayne Betts brings all these identities to bear on his new poetry collection, Felon, which indicts the profoundly destabilizing effects prison and the post-incarceration period have on ex-convicts, making the case that prison is not merely a place but also a force that exerts itself powerfully on individuals and communities. Betts’s poems also push the boundaries of poetry itself, incorporating traditional forms but also creating new ones that help illuminate the language and themes of each piece, while underscoring their vital importance. Boston Pulse performer, and student, Sumeya Aden will open the session; then, Betts will give a brief talk and reading, followed by an interview and Q&A led by journalist and Mass Poetry board chair Nicco Mele. Sponsored by G. Barrie Landry.

Moderators
avatar for Nicco Mele

Nicco Mele

Nicco Mele is an academic, writer, and businessman. He lectures on public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and is a renowned forecaster of business, politics, and culture. His firm, EchoDitto, is a leading internet strategy company working with nonprofits and Fortune... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts is the author of a memoir and three books of poetry. His memoir, A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival, and Coming of Age in Prison, was awarded the 2010 NAACP Image Award for nonfiction. His books of poetry are Shahid Reads His Own Palm, Bastards... Read More →
avatar for Sumeya Aden

Sumeya Aden

Sumeya is a Muslim youth activist, spoken word poet navigating racism. She is a Boston Pulse Poet, student at John D O’Bryant High School.


Sunday October 20, 2019 1:30pm - 2:30pm EDT
Dewitt Center Gym 122 Dewitt Dr, Boston, MA, 02120

2:00pm EDT

BBF Unbound: A Home Is a Poem
In this generative workshop, participants craft collaborative poems in the shape of Dorchester’s most iconic architecture. Like its namesake, a Triple Decker Poem builds community through collaboration. All participants will have the chance to write and reflect together on what it means to share space—in a neighborhood and in a creative work. This session is facilitated by U-Meleni Mhlaba Adebo, Lynn Drew, Anna Ross, Candelaria Silva-Collins, Aaron Devine, and Alexa Koch, members of Write on the DOT, a reading series and literary platform that supports and promotes local writing in Dorchester.

Moderators
avatar for Aaron Devine

Aaron Devine

Aaron Devine is an author, educator, translator, and community advocate. His writing has appeared in publications including McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, The Good Men Project, Origins Journal, Window Cat Press, and Write on the DOT. He received his MFA in Fiction from the University... Read More →
avatar for Alexa Koch

Alexa Koch

Alexa Koch is a freelance writer and young adult novelist who has had work appear in Washington Square News, the Miami Hurricane, and Euphoria. With her bachelor's degree from the University of Miami, Koch is an MFA candidate at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has contributed... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Anna Ross

Anna Ross

Anna Ross is a 2018 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow in Poetry and the author of the award-winning poetry collections If a Storm, Figuring, and Hawk Weather. Her poems have appeared in Harvard Review Online, New Republic, and Paris Review, among other publications. Ross... Read More →
avatar for Candelaria Silva-Collins

Candelaria Silva-Collins

Candelaria Silva-Collins is the coordinator of the Community Membership Program at the Huntington Theater Company, as well as the program manager for the Fellowes Athenaeum Trust Fund of the Boston Public Library. She is also an active part of the Arts and Business Council of Greater... Read More →
avatar for Lynn Drew

Lynn Drew

Lynn Drew is a Boston-based writer and editor with an MFA in fiction from the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She is the co-organizer of the reading series Write on the Dot, where she has hosted numerous original literary game shows such as the Insta-Poet Challenge. Other events... Read More →
avatar for U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo

U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo

U-Meleni Mhlaba-Adebo is a multi-award-winning international bestselling author and Top 10 charted soul singer. She is a native of Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa, and is based in Boston. She has delivered several hundred high-impact workshops taught through the mediums of poetry... Read More →


Sunday October 20, 2019 2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT
Frugal Bookstore 57 Warren St, Boston, MA, 02119

3:00pm EDT

Poetry: Shifting the Canon
If you love poetry, it’s not news to you that the art form has bloomed in recent years, embraced by talented young writers as a bold and powerful means to convey a broad range of emotions, experiences, and identities. In this session, we’ll hear readings by three of the most exciting young poets at work today. Porsha Olayiwola, City of Boston Poet Laureate and curator of this session, is the author of the new collection i shimmer sometimes, too. Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an award-winning poet who teaches at UMass–Boston; her new collection is How Narrow My Escapes. And Camonghne Felix, a communications strategist for Elizabeth Warren’s presidential campaign, is the author of Build Yourself a Boat, recently longlisted for the National Book Award in Poetry. Their readings will be followed by an insightful conversation about the possibilities and limitations of poetry to articulate issues of gender, race, migration, sexuality, injustice, and more, led by Tatiana M. R. Johnson, author of the collection for the love of black girls. Bring a friend and grab a seat and a snack at the Dudley Cafe for this perceptive exploration of the state of poetry today.

Moderators
avatar for Tatiana M.R. Johnson

Tatiana M.R. Johnson

Tatiana M.R. Johnson is a writer, artist, and teacher in the Boston area. She is also a poetry MFA candidate at Emerson College and a poetry editor for Redivider. Johnson was the 2018 Gish Jen fellow for the Writer’s Room of Boston and is a 2017 Pushcart Prize XI nominee. Her work... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Camonghne Felix

Camonghne Felix

Camonghne Felix is a poet, writer, speaker, and political strategist living in New York City. She received an MA in arts politics from NYU, an MFA from Bard College, and has received fellowships from Cave Canem, Callaloo, and Poets House. Her first full-length collection of poems... Read More →
avatar for Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is an assistant professor in the creative writing program at the University of Massachusetts-Boston. She was recently named the new director of the Chautauqua Institution Writers’ Festival. Bertram has published poetry, prose, and essays in numerous journals... Read More →
avatar for Porsha Olayiwola

Porsha Olayiwola

Porsha Olayiwola is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston. She is a writer, performer, educator, and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, women, and queer diasporas. She is an individual World Poetry Slam champion... Read More →


Sunday October 20, 2019 3:00pm - 4:15pm EDT
Dudley Cafe 15 Warren St, Boston, MA, 02119

4:30pm EDT

Cities: Change Is the Only Constant
This session offers a fresh look at the issues around changing urban landscapes, gentrification, and community. Boston College professor Carlo Rotella’s The World Is Always Coming to an End uses a combination of journalism, memoir, and archival research to paint a portrait of a city in flux that challenges our assumptions about the meaning of neighborhoods and communities. Poet Kevin Coval teamed up with an artist for Everything Must Go, an illustrated collection of poems that celebrates his Chicago neighborhood before the process of displacement and reinvention took hold—a process being repeated in urban areas all across the country. In People Before Highways, Karilyn Crockett, Lecturer in Public Policy and Urban Planning at MIT, offers a case study for how an unlikely multiracial coalition of urban and suburban residents and activists stopped an interstate highway from being built in the heart of Boston. This thought-provoking session will be moderated by Lily Song, Lecturer in Urban Planning and Design at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. Sponsored by the Wagner Foundation.

Moderators
avatar for Lily Song

Lily Song

Lily Song is a lecturer in urban planning and design and senior research associate with the Transforming Urban Transport–Role of Political Leadership (TUT-POL) project at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design (GSD). Her research focuses on the relations between urban... Read More →

Presenters
avatar for Carlo Rotella

Carlo Rotella

Carlo Rotella is a nonfiction writer, academic, and journalist who writes for the New York Times Magazine and the Washington Post Magazine. Recipient of the 2007 Whiting Award and the L. L. Winship/PEN New England Award, Rotella has had his work appear in the New Yorker, Critical... Read More →
avatar for Karilyn Crockett

Karilyn Crockett

Karilyn Crockett is an independent scholar and the director of Economic Policy & Research for the City of Boston. She holds a PhD in American studies from Yale University. Crockett’s book, People Before Highways: Boston Activists, Urban Planners and a New Movement for City Making... Read More →
avatar for Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval

Kevin Coval is an award-winning poet and activist from Chicago known for his unique blend of personal experience and calls to action. He is the artistic director of Young Chicago Authors and the cofounder of Louder than a Bomb: The Chicago Teen Poetry Festival, now one of the nation’s... Read More →

Sponsors

Sunday October 20, 2019 4:30pm - 5:30pm EDT
Bolling School Committee Room 2300 Washington St, Roxbury, MA, 02119