2019 ANNUAL REPORT
Letter from our leadership
Dear poets, friends, bibliophiles, partners & wordsmiths all,
Joining Mass Poetry in 2018 as its executive director felt like a homecoming to me. I mean this in the deepest sense. Poetry, for many years, has given me shelter. Poetry has offered me a space to dream. And now, I’m delighted to serve at the helm of such an exciting enterprise as Mass Poetry.
As we look back together at 2019, I’d like to share how much I’ve enjoyed working alongside all of you. Mass Poetry, at its core, is a giant experiment in collaboration, and it’s you–our poets, students, teachers, community partners, and donors–that help us bring poetry, day in and day out, to thousands of people, young and old, across Massachusetts.
This past year, we grew our Poet-in-Residence program fivefold, launched a strategic planning process, hosted poetry residencies with the Museum of Fine Arts and the Institute of Contemporary Art, laid plans to become an arts-partner-in-residence at GrubStreet’s Center for Creative Writing, and so much more.
We look forward to working with you all for years to come. And thank you for your unflagging support!
Co-Founder & Chair
MEET OUR TEAM
Daniel Johnson, Executive Director
Erica Charis-Molling, Education Director
Isaiah Frisbie, AmeriCorps VISTA Events and Communications Coordinator Sara Siegel, Outgoing Program Director
Board of Directors
Michael Ansara, Co-Founder
Nicco Mele, Co-Founder, Chair
2019 BY THE NUMBERS
Mass Poetry believes that words matter. We support poets and poetry in Massachusetts, help to broaden the audience of poetry readers, bring poetry to readers of all ages, and transform people’s lives through inspiring verse.
# of students we reached with our in-school poetry programs & residencies
# of blackout poetry posters that we displayed across Greater Boston garnering thousands of views
# of museum visitors who dropped in on our poetry residencies at the MFA & ICA
# of teachers who attended Mass Poetry professional development seminars
# of total audience members we reached across all of our programs
key initatives in 2019
Student Day of Poetry
Our Student Day of Poetry delivers dozens of talented, trained poets into Massachusetts schools to lead generative writing workshops with middle and high school students. Following a recent Student Day of Poetry, 70% of students reported an increased interest in reading and writing poetry.
Our Poet-in-Residence program places a veteran poet educator directly into a school for a long–term residency, whether a semester or an entire school year. In 2019, we expanded this transformative program fivefold and partnered with these area schools: New Mission High School, Edward M. Kennedy School for Health Careers, Burlington High School, Brookline High School, and Berwick Academy.
Re-vision: A Collection of Blackout Poetry
In Spring 2019, Mass Poetry exhibited “Re-Vision: A Collection of Blackout Poetry” on Soofa’s digital kiosks across Greater Boston, garnering thousands of views. The project, a collaboration with the Poetry Coalition, asked community members to send us their protest-themed artwork in the form of erasures of the US Constitution and other political documents.
Museum Residencies at the MFA & ICA
Following a series of writing workshops at the MFA in Fall 2018, Mass Poetry hosted three workshops in collaboration with the Institute of Contemporary Art, in Fall 2019. Poet-educators Jamele Adams, Martha Collins, Enzo Silon Surin, and Oliver de la Paz led workshops that focused on the 2019 exhibition When Home Won’t Let You Stay: Migration through Contemporary Art. These workshops included group discussion, one-on-ones with pieces from the exhibition, and time to write their own poetry in response to art on display.
Special Thanks and Finances
2019 Fiscal year: January 1, 2019–December 31, 2019
Writing Mass Poetry’s Future
For the past 12 months, we’ve been working hard to complete a new strategic plan to help us chart our course over the next several years.
We’re excited to share that we’re now laying plans to re-launch the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in 2021, kick off our new role as arts-partner-in-residence at GrubStreet’s Center for Creative Writing in coming months, expand our Poet-in-Residence program to more schools across Massachusetts, and more. Thank you for your steadfast support and partnership.
If you’re interested in lending support, partnering, or participating in our events and programs, please reach out to [email protected].
15 Channel Center St.
Boston, MA 02210
Thank you to our institutional funders, partners, and WBUR, our official media partner!