“The Massachusetts Poetry Festival will bring a blizzard of verbal beauty to Salem, a city with a rich literary history and vibrant writing community. It will connect generations, and it will give the city and university a leadership role in building culture in the Commonwealth,” said J.D. Scrimgeour, poet and Professor of English at Salem State University. ‘The Poetry Festival is evidence of the vitality of the fundamental, central art of poetry,” said Robert Pinsky, the former Poet Laureate of the U.S. and the Honorary Chair of the Poetry Festival.
Mayor Driscoll enthused, "Salem is proud of its own unique literary tradition and offers many exciting venues for such an event. We look forward, with great enthusiasm, to hosting a successful Festival in May, 2011." Provost Kristin Esterberg from Salem State University also commented, “Salem State has been engaged with the Massachusetts Poetry Festival since its beginning. We're delighted to continue the tradition which began in Lowell, and we welcome the festival to Salem, another proud literary city in Massachusetts.” Friday, the first day of the festival, is devoted to high school students and teachers with workshops at Salem State University. Among the featured readers will be Salem State Alumni, poet Tom Sexton, who has published more than 10 books of poetry and has won numerous regional and national awards for his writing. He is the former poet laureate of Alaska, where he spent much of his life since his childhood in Massachusetts. Day two of the festival will be open to the public and will include readings, workshops, performances, poetry and dance, Shakespearean sonnets, and slam poetry. These events will be held across downtown Salem’s cafes, restaurants, historic buildings, churches, museums, and Old Town Hall.
"Given its long literary traditions, Salem, the home of Hawthorne, is an appropriate site for the 2011 Poetry Festival," Congressman John Tierney said. "Salem State University's involvement and the Festival's educational focus for young students will continue to foster creativity and energy across our community." The festival brought over 1000 poetry lovers to Lowell in 2009, and the May, 2011 festival is expected to be even larger.
Massachusetts Poetry Festival
May 13, 14, 2011