Poetry can be a solitary task what with all the writing and revising and talking to your raven. So two weekends ago, I decided to volunteer at the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, MA. The festival was headed by a friend of mine and I was happy to help out. The weekend started with the nearly 5 hour drive up after work on Friday. The drive was actually pretty relaxing and I saw some really great scenery.
On Saturday, I spent the early part of the day directing volunteers and poets to check in and get their shirts, like this one!
I did get to spend some time volunteering outside in the beautiful weather. After my shift was over, I walked around Salem and took some pictures of the scenery.
It’s funny what you’ll see around town. This is probably the most uplifting (and literary based) “graffiti” I’ve ever seen in a bathroom stall.
Afterwards, I attended the panel “Enduring Song,” led by my friend, Monica Hand. She and Katie Rushin spoke of African-American poets and their link to song and singers. I didn’t take pictures there since it was a small venue and it would’ve been distracting.
After the panel, all of the volunteers and poets were invited to a reception with yummy food, live music, and great company.
After dinner came the headline poetry reading, featuring Joy Harjo, Nikky Finney, Sherwin Bitsui, Wesley McNair, and Susan Cattaneo. Here are some shots I took from the night:
I headed home the next day after a full weekend. All in all, it was a fun experience that melded the practice of writing poetry with action!
Want to see more shots of my time in Massachusetts? You can check out the Flickr gallery here!