Mass Poetry Festival Features SouthCoast & Cape Area Poets

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , on April 29, 2013 by whalingcityreview

Image The Massachusetts Poetry Festival, the state’s biggest annual gathering of poets and poetry lovers, takes place this weekend. From Friday, May 3, through Sunday, May 5, in Salem, SouthCoast and Cape Cod poets will be well-represented. Everett Hoagland of New Bedford, and Alice Kociemba and Jarita Davis, both of Falmouth, will lead readings.

The festival includes over 100 events – readings, workshops, panels, performances, concerts, open mics, a small press fair, activities for children and teens, and more.

Sharon Olds, winner of the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her 2012 collection, “Stag’s Leap,” will speak Saturday evening. The Pulitzer Board described “Stag’s Leap” as a “book of unflinching poems on the author’s divorce that examine love, sorrow and the limits of self-knowledge.”

She compares her husband’s departure, after 30 years of marriage, to the image of a leaping stag a wine label: “When anyone escapes, my heart  / leaps up. Even when it’s I who am escaped from.”

Other headliners include Tracey K. Smith and Terrance Hayes. Smith won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for “Life on Mars,” a collection of poems in part an elegiac tribute to her late father, one of the engineers who worked on the Hubble Telescope. For Smith, poetry is a way of “stepping into the mess of experience,” being part of the “ongoing conflict” of life and surviving nonetheless.

Hayes has won numerous awards and honors. His most recent collection, “Lighthead,” explores how we construct experience: “the light-headedness of a mind trying to pull against gravity and time.”

Many other nationally recognized poets and emerging poets from all across Massachusetts will read from their works and share their ideas on writing about everything from love and sexuality to global warming. There are workshops on how to write surrealistic poetry, how to give voice to objects, how to incorporate rhythm and movement into poems, how to run a poetry group, and how to stage a slam poetry event, and much more.

“Imagine your town full of poets—every coffee shop, every restaurant, every arts center, every library—each hosting inspiring poetry readings, excellent writing workshops, poetry slams, and even a place where you can read your worst poetry. That’s what Salem is like during the Mass Poetry Fest,” said Alice Kociemba, who directs Calliope Poetry Readings at the West Falmouth Library.

“Imagine coming in second in the worst poetry contest,” she added. “There are poets on trolleys reading their poems; there are poets on the train from South Station reading their poems. There are poets everywhere.”

Kociemba, who serves on the board of Mass Poetry, will moderate “From Every Corner of the Commonwealth,” a panel discussion and reading on Saturday, May 4, from 1:30 to 2:30 PM at the Hawthorne Hotel.  Kociemba has selected six “poet ambassadors” who have created a sense of community in their own area of the state by directing poetry reading series, holding workshops, sponsoring collaborative projects with artists, musicians, and other writers, and promoting creativity about their craft and performance.

The panel will be of interest to those who direct poetry readings and workshops or are thinking of starting one, as well as to poets who are looking for venue hosts. Among those participating on the panel are two Cape Cod poets: Lorna Blake of Brewster and Alan Feldman of Natick and Wellfleet. Each will describe their reading series, workshops, and collaborative endeavors and read from their own work.

Everett Hoagland of New Bedford has organized a reading for the Ocean Voices Anthology, featuring an array of poets from various cultural traditions and writing influences. Ocean Voices, an intergenerational, multicultural anthology of “ocean poems,” was published this fall by New Bedford’s award-winning small press, Spinner Publications. The reading will take place on Saturday in the Hawthorne Hotel, Essex Room, from 12:15 – 1:15 PM and features Martin Espada, winner of the Poetry Society of Amer’ca’s Shelley Memorial Award, vocalist Candida Rose, and several poets who have work in the Ocean Voices anthology.

Jarita Davis will lead “Poems for the Invention of Glory” on Saturday, May 4, from 11 AM to noon, at the Peabody Essex Museum. Davis and five other panelists will read ekphrastic poems written in response to the museum’s exhibition, “The Invention of Glory: Alfonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries.” All are members of a new collective of over 100 Luso-American (Portuguese-American) poets.

Mass Poetry Fest buttons, which allow admission to all events except workshops, are $15, $7 for seniors and students. For an additional $5, workshops are included. Because workshop attendance is limited, it is advisable to register online in advance at

For more information, visit or contact Alice Kociemba at


Next Big Thing

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2013 by whalingcityreview

Maggie Cleveland’s new blog has launched with a NEXT BIG THING post – check it out here.

Ocean Voices – Book Release: Poetry Reading and Book Signing To Be Held at New Bedford Whaling Museum Sunday, February 24, 2013

Posted in Poetry Readings on February 21, 2013 by whalingcityreview


New Bedford, MA— Local poets whose work appears in Ocean Voices: An Anthology of Ocean Poems will read their poems at a book release event held in New Bedford Whaling Museum’s auditorium, Sunday, February 24, 2013 from 2-4 p.m. Readers include: Everett Hoagland, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Susan Grace, Claudia Grace, Askia Toure, Ken Hartnett, Maggie Cleveland & Catherine McLaughlin. The poetry reading will start at 2 p.m. with a book signing following the reading. Ocean Voices will be available for purchase on that day. The event is free and open to the public. Ocean Voices: An Anthology of Ocean Poems is edited by Everett Hoagland and published by Spinner Publications.

Ocean Voices is a collection of poems inspired by the sea. Walt Whitman is one of these voices, as are masters such as Melville, Dickinson and D.H. Lawrence. Celebrated twentieth-century and modern-day poets appear in the book, such as Pablo Neruda, Askia Toure, Amiri Baraka, Mary Oliver, Robert Francis, Derek Walcott, Lucille Clifton, Catherine McLaughlin and authentic fisherman poet, David Densmore. New England poets Claudia Grace, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, Susan Grace and former New Bedford poet laureates John Landry and Everett Hoagland also lend their voices.

EV dropEditor Everett Hoagland chose poems that speak directly about the ocean, using it as an evocative backdrop, poems written with a mix of autobiography, literary skill, and artful personification. “Since many of us in the New Bedford area live in or near a seaside community” explains Hoagland, “I put together this collection by poets from cultural backgrounds who variously give voice to the ocean’s impact on our thoughts and lives. The hope is that the anthology will help foster appreciation for the ocean and raise consciousness about the immediate need to care for it. As the ocean goes, so go we.”

In his Foreword, Hoagland advises us to hold this book to our mind’s ear, “just as we held sea shells to our outer ear during childhood visits to the seashore, and we shall hear the sea’s measured music…as well as moans from slave and convict ships.” In the book’s Introduction, Laurie Robertson-Lorant, noted author and Melville biographer, reminds us that although the ocean has been a source of creative inspiration and spiritual insight to human beings for millennia, human ignorance, greed and heartless disrespect for it have produced a continent-sized island of plastic known as “the Pacific gyre.”

Everett Hoagland is Emeritus Professor at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth and former Poet Laureate of New Bedford, Massachusetts (1994-1998). He is the author of several books including This City and Other Poems, and Here: New and Selected Poems. Professor Hoagland is published in anthologies such as The Best American Poetry 2002, The Oxford Anthology of African American Poetry, The Body Electric, African American Literature (eds Wardi & Gilyard), Liberation Poetry, Bum Rush The Page, and many others. His periodical publications include The Massachusetts Review, The American Poetry Review, The UUA WORLD. He has read his work to audiences in Asia, Africa, Latin America and all over the USA.

Spinner Publications is a New Bedford-based, award-winning publisher of books, videos, and calendars focusing on the history and culture of southeastern New England. Among its most popular titles are Lincoln Park Remembered, A Picture History of Fairhaven, Drifting Toward the Southeast, Portuguese Spinner, Cranberry Cooking for All Seasons, Brick by Brick, Branded on My Arm and in My Soul and the Spinner anthology series, People and Culture in Southeastern Massachusetts. Perennial favorites are the two calendars, The New England Fisherman and Historic Southeastern New England.  For more information, contact Spinner Publications at (508) 994-4564, visit or look up Spinner Publications on Facebook.

Maggie Cleveland’s ATOM FISH Chapbook Release Reading

Posted in Poetry Readings, Uncategorized on November 8, 2012 by whalingcityreview

ImageGallery X and One Time Press are proud to present the release of Maggie Cleveland’s poetry chapbook, ATOM FISH. A book release reading and party will be held at Gallery X (169 William St. New Bedford, MA) on Saturday, November 17th from 1:00 – 4:00 PM. Maggie will be our featured reader, with guest readers from all corners of New England. There will be an open mic, and attendees will be encouraged to present their poetry.

Hailing from the seacoast town of Fairhaven, Massachusetts, Maggie Cleveland lives with cats, children, and a science fiction writer, and works developing courses for the National Elevator Industry. She’s coordinated poetry readings and events in southeastern Massachusetts for more than 15 years. Her poems have been published in journals including The Offending Adam, Imageqarrtsiluni, the Newport Review, Elephant, Flying Fish, BURP, Out of Our, Amerarcana: A Bird & Beckett Review, and many others. Her work was recently translated into Albanian for publication in the anthology Tingujt e erës:Lirikë e re Amerikane (Sounds of Wind: New American Lyrics). She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College in 2011.

ATOM FISH is one long, odd poem that attempts to realize / redefine one’s place in life through relationships to personal, familial, and place history. Characters on the periphery of a dream state (“Adam Fish” and “Atom Fish”) observe and guide the narrator through a storied past, a jumbled, imperfect present, and a future imbued with love and weirdness.

Light refreshments will be served.

Albanian Writer’s Day at the Worcester Public Library

Posted in Uncategorized on October 11, 2012 by whalingcityreview

Albanian’s Writer Day will be celebrated at the Worcester Public Library on Saturday, October 13, 11:00 a.m. -2:30   p.m. in the framework of the celebrations of 100thAnniversary of Independence of Albania. This activity is organized by Dardha Bleta Association, a village that gave famous personalities such as Sotir Peci, Spriridon Ilo, William Gregory, Spiro Konda, Zengo iconographs, Thimi Raci   etc.

The purpose of this activity is to bring together the creative minds of Albanian origin and recognize their contribution in the field of letters, whether they write in Albanian or English. Event organizers intend to make sure that American audiences know and understand that the country of Eagles  always has produced famous authors, and has its notable representatives here in the USA. From the famous authors to the ones who are trying to find their place in the literature, local writers with an Albanian connection will have a chance to come together, network with each other and consolidate this connections for future projects.

Tentative Schedule

11:00-11:45                Welcome, Coffee Time

11:45-12:00                Opening Remarks

12:00-12:15                Guest Greetings

12:15-1:30                Writer’s Introduction & Acknowledgment   

1:30-2:30                Networking, book signing & book selling

This event will be held at the Worcester Public Library, located at 3 Salem Street, Worcester, MA 01608. For any questions, or for more information, please email or .

Poets and Writers signing on for 100 Thousand Poets for Change in New Bedford

Posted in Poetry Readings on August 31, 2011 by whalingcityreview

Poets and writers from across Greater New Bedford, along with poets and writers from New London, CT (our sister city in whaling and poetry) are getting ready for the upcoming 100 Thousand Poets for Change reading at Gallery X on September 24th, 2011 from 2-5 PM. Each person who joins us will speak about the kind of change they are hoping for, and read from a poem they’ve written (or a poem written by someone else) that speaks to them of change. We’re still looking for readers and volunteers – contact if you’d like to sign up.

Poets Worldwide Unite for the Truly Historic “100 Thousand Poets for Change” Event

Posted in Poetry Readings on August 6, 2011 by whalingcityreview

Local reading scheduled at Gallery X in New Bedford, MA, 2-5 PM

Poets in 350 cities representing 70 countries are currently organizing the largest poetry reading in history with over 400 individual events scheduled to take place simultaneously on September 24th to promote environmental, social, and political change.

Poets, writers, artists, and humanitarians will create, perform, educate and demonstrate, in their individual communities, and decide their own specific area of focus for change within the overall framework of peace and sustainability, which founder Michael Rothenberg stated, “…is a major concern worldwide and the guiding principle for this global event.”

Bob Holman and Margery Snyder, in a recent article on said, “the beauty of the concept of 100 Thousand Poets for Change is that it is completely decentralized and completely inclusive.”

The events range from a poetry and peace gathering in strife-torn Jalalabad, Afghanistan, to poets in Nogales, Mexico and Nogales, Arizona reading poems to each other across the border fence. There are 13 events in Mexico City alone, 24 events planned in India and 7 in Nigeria. Poetry demonstrations are also being organized in political hotspots such as Cairo, Egypt and Madison, Wisconsin. Along the Platte River near Omaha, Nebraska poets will be demonstrating against TransCanada’s planned Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

More examples of events can be easily accessed on the home page of the 100 Thousand Poets for Change website at
All those involved are hoping, through their actions and events, to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization towards peace and sustainability.

Each city organizer and their community has an individual Event Location blog page on the main website for posting written material, poetry, artwork, photos, and video to document this global mega-event across national borders.

Immediately following September 24th all documentation on the website will be preserved by Stanford University in California, which has recognized 100 Thousand Poets for Change as an historical event, the largest poetry reading in history. They will archive the complete contents of the website,, as part of their digital archiving program LOCKSS.

Founder Michael Rothenberg is a widely known poet, songwriter, editor of the online literary maonline literary magazine and an environmental activist based in Northern California.

Local event coordinator Maggie Cleveland is a poet living in Fairhaven, MA. She is the director of the New Bedford-based poetry series Whaling City Review LIVE. Contact her at​m.

For more information, visit