Meet our April Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight: Janae Johnson

Massachusetts Poet in the Spotlight is a monthly installment from Mass Poetry.

Highlighted by The Lizard Lounge Poetry Jam

Janae JohnsonJanae Johnson is a queer, black, Stevie Wonder-loving, Jamba Juice-sipping, slam poet, educator, and activist in the Boston area. With a jock’s mentality and a poet’s heart, Janae brings all sports and no games to poetry slam. Inspired by uncomfortable silences and midnight bus rides, Janae uses her poetry to shed light on issues of racial inequality, homophobia, and the nuances of love. Truly believing that language is power, she wishes to inspire others to find and embrace the strength in their voices. Janae ranked 5th at the Women of the World Poetry Slam (2014), was the grand slam champion of the 2014 Boston Poetry Slam Team and the 2013 Lizard Lounge Poetry Slam Team. She is currently working on a CD entitled “Black in the Sun,” as well as a chapbook, and she is the coach and adviser for the nationally ranked Simmons College (Speaks) Poetry Slam team. [Read more...]

Some Festival Events by Category

small festival logoNeed some help in negotiating the schedule of events at this year’s Festival? Here are some of our programs by these categories:

  • Where we are: Place & Travel
  • The Body: Discussing the Physical
  • Sexual Identity
  • Who We Are and How We Get There
  • Beyond the Realm of Reality

[Read more...]

A Look at Rafael Campo: A Massachusetts Poetry Festival Feature Poet

rafael campoMany poets are Jacks—and Jills—of-all-trades, but the argument can be made that Rafael Campo has some of the absolute best time management skills of any poet alive. Campo is the “Physician Poet,” a prolific poet and essayist who is also a practicing physician. He currently teaches at Harvard Medical School, practices internal medicine at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and instructs in the Lesley University Creative Writing MFA program. What drives Campo to pursue each of his drastically different loves? [Read more...]

January O’Neil Gives Us an Inside Scoop on the Mass Poetry Festival

January O'Neil

January O’Neil

In the last month or so there have been few people busier than our own January O’Neil, Executive Director of Massachusetts Poetry Festival, as she has been involved making and solidifying plans for the event. But she took time to answer some questions that give us her unique point-of-view on the May 2 through  4 event in Salem.  As you’ll see from her answers,  she is one of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival’s most ardent fans! [Read more...]

State Proposes Drastic Cut to Arts Funding — What You Can Do

What you can do? — Call or email your state representative immediately and say “No!”

MCC logoHere’s the extent of the issue according to a bulletin from the website of the Massachusetts Cultural Council:

(4/9/14) – Earlier today the House Committee on Ways and Means released a state budget proposal for the coming fiscal year that recommends just over $5 million for the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC). That would represent a 54 percent reduction in state support for the arts, humanities, and sciences. (Read their full report.)
[Read more...]

Why We Chose a New Platform for the Festival Scheduling

DSCN0701This year we changed to a new platform for exploring offerings at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival on May 2-4. It took us a lot of work – at least it took January O’Neil and our interns a lot of work! And it will take you one more step than it took you last year if you signed up for the Festival. You will have to request an invitation to the site. No problem! You’ll be granted that invitation right away, and if you created a profile last year, you’ll see it in the new system.

Why did we go to this trouble and put you through one more step? The first reason is that this platform is not an open public site; it does not make you more susceptible to spam or invasion of your privacy by the world at large. You can safely include your biography to a community of poets and talk behind the closed doors of this software system to your friends. Another reason is that Pathable, the new system, provides a robust service system in case we run into technical problems. [Read more...]

Mary Ruefle Wins the Robert Creeley Award

Mary Ruefle photoMary Ruefle will be presented with the 14th Annual Robert Creeley Award on Wednesday, April 16, and on that evening she will read for an audience that, if it lives up to its earlier Creeley award winner readings, may include close to one thousand people — a fantastic audience for a poetry reading. The audience size is only one of the reasons this yearly event is called the premier event of National Poetry Month. [Read more...]

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