Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Limited Take on Massachusetts Poetry Festival, 2011--(occasionally I post as if this is a real blog)

My son was my travel buddy for the Massachusetts Poetry Festival in Salem, Ma., and the first thing we did was sign-in at their headquarters, drink the free coffee and eat the free pizza provided by The Upper Crust. A boy's got to eat, right? Then we went to the Sequential Poetry Reading by those who had books published in 2010. I didn't exactly lie about it but I was asked to read and my 2009 book held out nicely. We heard the amazing  Amy M. Clark  read and convinced (begged)  Leslie Williams to stay for my reading.

MPF is a great poetry event so I wanted to dress accordingly but I'm also superstitious (note the play-off beard) and I had to feed my OCD so that the Bruins would win. It was completely under my control and since compromise is everything--here's the look, poetry wins while the Bruins, did THIS.

One of the highlights of the reading was meeting and exchanging books with Kate Hanson Foster who told me I looked taller than I did on Facebook. (note, I'm only two inches tall to the right).  I told her that she didn't look at all like the Hanson brothers because below is how they look. I must say that her book Mid Drift is recommended reading.
 Arthur Boyas was another great poet to hear, as was Gwendolyn Jenson and Allen West, published by Bert Stern's Off the Grid Press who publishes poets a certain age or over. I'm glad I'm young, but when I get to be that age, I'm sending Bert a manuscript. 

Following that, we walked to the Main Stage and saw some incredible acts. First we saw Phil and Sarah Kay(e) who gave a fantastic performance of poetry in tandem. They finished each others lines, recited some others perfectly in sync and  harmony and were relevant, talented, young, beautiful and entertaining.  I noted that they were the Donnie and Marie of poetry. Check out their picture on the above link vs. the one on the left.

Next up was the always entertaining Steve Almond.  You must have heard of him, but if you have not you have a lot of reading to do. Let's go to the video tape (which was not made in Salem).

My son and I then saw the Boston Typewriter Orchestra which were a lot of fun. This clip WAS from Salem.

Later in the day I was asked to be one of the readers on the trolleys. This  was set up by Shari Caplan who specializes in improbable places to read poetry such as laundromats and, well, trolleys.  Besides reading poetry to the riders, the trolleys had speaker placement on the outside of the cars. This allowed me to say things to random folks who were on the street, such as, "HEY BABY, BE BACK TO PICK YOU UP LATER", "THIS IS MR. MICROPHONE", 'MOVE YOUR VEHICLE" and "HEY, I WANT A LICK," to this guy:

It gave me ample time to chat and joke with the crowd and read some poems. Here's the only one my cinematographer son took.

 No visit to Salem is complete without a burger and a coke from Major Magleashes,  my favorite burger place in Massachusetts. Their burgers are so juicy that they soak the buns. I'd show you a picture but I don't like to take photos of food because I'm not one of those, "I always want to remember that hamburger" type of guys. (For you haters and blog lawyers, the Upper Crust pizza picture was pulled off the internet) Comparatively, I also don't enjoy other people's pictures of food because I can't eat or order what they just took, unless I'm there with them at the time of the infraction. In that case I'd say, "Why are you taking a picture of food?'. I did photograph my son, sporting a day-glo festival t-shirt, who has the same love of The Major as I do. Poetry and hamburgers must be in the genes! It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.


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