The poets are coming! The poets are coming!
Mark your calendar for the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, which will come to Salem on May 13 - 14, 2011. There will be more than thirty programs, workshops, readings, concerts, slams, and a small press fair throughout downtown Salem as part of the festival.
Friday evening will feature a program of music and poetry headlined by soldier poet Brian Turner, acclaimed author of a collection of poems entitled Here, Bullet, written after serving for seven years in the U.S. Army. He was an infantry team leader for a year in Iraq with the 3rd Styker Brigade Combat Team, and Infantry Division. Prior to that, Turner deployed to Bosnia-Herzegovnia with the 10th Mountain Division (1999-2000). Here, Bullet, won the 2005 Beatrice Hawley Award, the New York Times “Editor's Choice” selection, the 2006 Pen Center USA "Best in the West" award, and the 2007 Poets Prize, among others and Turner was selected as one of 50 United States Artists Fellows for 2009.
Turner will be joined on Friday evening by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, an Asian American poet, best known for her jovial and accessible reading style and lush descriptions of exotic foods and landscapes. Nezhukumatathil draws upon her Filipina and Malayali Indian background to give a unique perspective on love and loss, and the land. She is the author of At the Drive-In Volcano (Tupelo, 2007), winner of the Balcones Prize, and Miracle Fruit (Tupelo, 2003), winner of the ForeWord Magazine Poetry Book of the Year and the Global Filipino Literary Award.
On Saturday, there will literally dozens of performances by poets and musicians throughout downtown Salem. There will be a Small Press Fair, featuring more than 30 Presses that publish poetry in Old Town Hall. The main performance stage will provide a continuous program of music and poetry, and the Massachusetts finalists for Poetry Out Loud will recite their poetry. In addition, there will be musical perfromances by singer/songwriter Kim Richey, New England Conservatory students, and others.
Downtown Salem will be infused with poetry from Haiku to Hip Hop, Shakespearean sonnets and spoken work, Elizabeth Bishop at 100 and an intercollegiate Poetry Slam, and much, much more.
For complete information on the festival, visit MassPoetry.org.