poetry coalition 2020
in this place : Poetry & Protest
“In This Place (An American Lyric)” features a stirring choral recitation of a protest-themed poem of the same name by National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman. This short film, released in conjunction with National Poetry Month, features 16 Massachusetts poets hailing from across the state, including Northampton Poet Laureate Karen Skolfield, Worcester Poet Laureate Juan Matos, Worcester Youth Poet Laureate Amina Mohammad, poet and children’s author Rich Michelson, and Brandeis University Visiting Poet-in-Residence Chen Chen, among many others listed below. This video, created in collaboration with videographer Paula Champagne, also marks Mass Poetry’s contribution to a national collaboration by the Poetry Coalition—an alliance of more than 25 independent poetry organizations across the United States—to explore the theme “I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing: Poetry & Protest.”
Thank you to Amanda Gorman,
author of “In this place (an american lyric)”
Amanda Gorman is a published author and the first ever Youth Poet Laureate of the United States of America. She’s spoken around the country from the UN to the Library of Congress, alongside the likes of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hillary Clinton Her first poetry book, “The One For Whom Food Is Not Enough”, was published in 2015 by Pemanship Books. She is Founder and Executive Director of One Pen One Page, which promotes literacy through free creative writing programming for underserved youth. She is a Harvard junior in the top of her class, and writes for the New York Times student newsletter The Edit.
thank you to our videographer, Paula Champagne
Paula Champagne is a Visual Storyteller specializing in video, documentary photography, illustration, and graphic design. Champagne’s multimedia work communicates authentic human experiences. Inspired by her own experiences in the outdoors—her most recent passion projects explore and honor the connection between her identity and nature. She holds a BFA and BA in Graphic Design and Advertising from Iowa State University and an MS in Leadership & Communications from Boston College. She currently resides in Somerville, Massachusetts with her husband and their dog. You can view more of her work on her website at paulachampagne.com.
& of course, Thank You to Our Readers!
In Order of Appearance:
Enzo Silon Surin
Enzo Silon Surin, Haitian-born poet, artist, publisher and social advocate, is the author of When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence Press, July 2020), and the chapbooks, A Letter of Resignation: An AmericanLibretto (2017) and Higher Ground (2006). He is a PEN New England Celebrated New Voice in Poetry, the recipient of a Brother Thomas Fellowship from The Boston Foundation and a 2020 Denis Diderot [A-i-R] Grant as an Artist-in-Residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux, France. Surin’s work gives voice to experiences that take place in what he calls “broken spaces” and his poems have been featured in numerous publications and exhibits. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Lesley University and is currently Professor of English at Bunker Hill Community College and founding editor and publisher at Central Square Press.
Norah Brady is a 17 year old poet of the mountains, the universe, and the anxiety of a crumbling world. Her poetry and short fiction works can be found in Rookie magazine, the Ekphrastic Review, the Blue Marble Review, and the collection “Writers on Earth: New Visions for Our Planet”. She has received two gold keys, and a silver key from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards. She lives in Boston with two cats and a pile of unread books.
Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017), which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the Thom Gunn Award, among other honors. Bloodaxe Books published the UK edition in 2019. Chen has received a Pushcart Prize and fellowships from Kundiman and the National Endowment for the Arts. He teaches at Brandeis University as the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence.
Lip Manegio is a trans, queer nonbinary poet based in Boston where they are working towards a BFA in creative writing at Emerson College. Their work has been nominated for a Pushcart & has appeared in Glass: A Journal of Poetry, Puerto del Sol, the minnesota review, Tin House, and elsewhere. They are the author of We’ve All Seen Helena (Game Over Books, 2019).
Jennifer Jean was born in Venice, California, and lived in foster-care until she was seven. Her ancestors are from the Cape Verde Islands. Her debut poetry collection is The Fool (Big Table); and, her chapbooks include: The Archivist and In the War. Jennifer’s awards include: a 2020 Kenyon Writers Review Workshop Fellowship, a 2018 Disquiet FLAD Fellowship; a 2017 “Her Story Is” Residency—where she worked with Iraqi women artists in Dubai; and, a 2013 Ambassador for Peace Award for her activism in the arts. Her poems and co-translations have appeared in: Poetry Magazine, Rattle Magazine, Waxwing Journal, Crab Creek Review, DMQ Review, Green Mountains Review, The Common, and more. She’s an editor at Talking Writing Magazine and a teacher of art-writing at Mass College of Art and Design. Jennifer lives in Peabody, MA with her husband and children. For more info, visit: www.jenniferjeanwriter.weebly.com
Karen Skolfield’s book Battle Dress (W. W. Norton, 2019) won the Barnard Women Poets Prize and is a Massachusetts “Must Read” selection. Her book Frost in the Low Areas (Zone 3 Press) won the 2014 PEN New England Award in poetry, and she is the winner of the 2016 Jeffrey E. Smith Editors’ Prize in poetry from The Missouri Review. Skolfield is a U.S. Army veteran and teaches writing to engineers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst; she’s the poet laureate for Northampton, MA for 2019-2021. www.karenskolfield.com
Jennifer Martelli is the author of My Tarantella (Bordighera Press), awarded an Honorable Mention from the Italian-American Studies Association, selected as a 2019 “MustRead” by the Massachusetts Center for the Book, and named as a finalist for the Housatonic Book Award. Her chapbook, After Bird, was the winner of the Grey Book Press open reading, 2016. Her work has appeared or will appear in Verse Daily, Iron Horse Review (winner, Photo Finish contest), The Sycamore Review, and POETRY. Jennifer Martelli has twice received grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for her poetry. She is co-poetry editor for Mom Egg Review and co-curates the Italian-American Writers Series. www.jennmartelli.com
Richard Michelson’s books have been listed among the Ten Best of the Year by The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and The New Yorker; and among the Best Dozen of the Decade by Amazon.com. He received the 2017 National Jewish Book Award, and the 2018 Sydney Taylor Gold Medal from the Association of Jewish Libraries. A three-time Massachusetts Book Award Finalist, Michelson’s work was chosen to represent the Commonwealth at the 2018 Library of Congress National Book Festival. Michelson received a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship for the poems in his most recent collection, More Money than God (Pitt Poetry Series), which was also a finalist for the Paterson Prize. He served two terms as Poet Laureate of Northampton MA where he hosts Northampton Poetry Radio, and owns R. Michelson Galleries. www.RichardMichelson.com
Chelvanaya Gabriel (they/them) is a queer, non-binary womxn of color. Also, they are cis-presenting and college-educated. They use their own lived experiences with their artistic practice to raise awareness about intersectional issues of chronic pain, invisible disabilities, and neurodivergence demonstrating the Audre Lorde-inspired notion that self-care is a radical political & communal act and creative expression can, in itself, be a form of self-care. They explore ideas of universal consciousness, overdetermination, the complexities of individual/collective identity, collective accountability and liberation. Chelvanaya is a self-taught artist working in multiple modalities (painting+, poetry, screenwriting, performance…) and is taking advantage of this moment of retreat and physical distancing to explore new avenues of afro/queer-futurist expression, collaboration and connection. Learn more about their art at http://naya.myportfolio.com.
Amina Mohammed (2001); Senior at Holy Name Central Catholic Jr/Sr High school (class of 2019-2020), residing in Worcester, MA, USA. Mohammed is the last of four children from immigrant parents Amuda Issifu and the late Johnette B. Dennis. Her parents sacrificed their all to make sure that she and her siblings had a better future, with endless efforts for their children to break the cycle that the had become products of. Amina Mohammed is the first Youth Poet Laureate in the city of Worcester, and the first recipient to be awarded this title in the state of Massachusetts. Mohammed will serve from January 2020 through December 2021.
Ruben Palacio was born in Envigado, Colombia. He began writing during his adolescence; his poems speak about life, death, love, pain, addiction, fantasy and hope. He has written over 400 poems and is currently working on editing and publishing his first book. Additionally, Ruben is a theater actor and playwright. At this time, he is still looking for his tribe of radical writers and actors to contribute to the awakening and union of consciousness, towards a more just and fraternal world.
Former poetry slammer and open mic host, Kathryn Petruccelli holds an M.A. in teaching English language learners. Her professional life has included translating “Hotel California” for Hungarian high school students, anthologizing poetry written by rival gang members, and creating engaging leads for articles about produce festivals. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in New Ohio Review, Rattle, River Teeth, SWWIM, Literary Mama, Linea, Ruminate’s blog, and others. She is a past winner of San Francisco’s Litquake essay contest and was a finalist for the 2019 Omnidawn Broadside Poetry Prize. She is at work on a poetry series based on the history of the alphabet. More at poetroar.com.
Juan Matos (1956); Dominican educator residing in Lunenburg, MA, USA. Author of numerous books of poems; The Man Who Left/El hombre que se fue (2017) y Sugar, Cape and Port/Azúcar, cayo y puerto (2018); are the most recent. Founding member of various literary groups and workshops. His works have been featured in numerous anthologies and literary review. Recently has been selected Poet Laureate of the City of Worcester 2020-2022. Matos is a graduate of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo, with a degree in Chemistry. He earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary School Education at Lehmann College, Bronx, NY; and a Master’s Degree in Bilingual Education at Worcester University, MA.
Nathalie Vicencio is a performing artist, consciousness awakener and human rights activist. Following in the footsteps of her father, Mauricio Vicencio (international award winning musician, shamanic poly-instrumentalist and luthier) Nathalie has embraced the connection with her ancestral Andean, African and European roots, through music and theater, plant medicine and earth wisdom.
Amy Dryansky’s second book, Grass Whistle (Salmon Poetry) received the Massachusetts Book Award for poetry. Her first, How I Got Lost So Close to Home, won the New England/New York Award from Alice James. Her work is included in several anthologies and individual poems appear in a variety of journals, including Barrow Street, Harvard Review, New England Review, Memorious, Orion, The Sun, and Tin House. She’s received honors/awards from the Massachusetts Cultural Council and Poetry Society of America and is a former Poet Laureate of Northampton, MA. She was also an Associate at the Five College Women’s Studies Research Center, where she looked at the impact of motherhood on women poets. Dryansky lives in Conway, teaches creative writing and directs the Culture, Brain & Development Program at Hampshire College.