Massachusetts Poetry Festival is Back!

The Massachusetts Poetry Festival—a lively biennial celebration that showcases an all-star roster of poets—returns May 5–7, 2023. Following a virtual Festival in 2021, this year’s literary fete marks the first in-person Festival since 2018. “The Festival brings together poets from Massachusetts and beyond, showcasing the diversity, vibrancy and power of contemporary poetry. We are especially grateful to come together in Salem, once again,” stated M.P. Carver, Mass Poetry’s Festival Director.

Image by Mass Poetry

Hosted by Mass Poetry, this year’s Festival will feature headline poets Cameron Awkward-Rich, Mahogany L. Browne, Franny Choi, Katie Farris, Kimiko Hahn, Ilya Kaminsky, Matthew Olzmann, January Gill O’Neil, Mosab Abu Toha, and more. The Festival will offer poetry readings, workshops, panels, multi-genre performances, and a special performance by the Boston Typewriter Orchestra. Featuring more than 75 events and 150 poets, this year’s Festival will take place at the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) and a host of other Salem venues in partnership with Salem State University, the City of Salem, and other key partners.

On display at the PEM, festival attendees will discover a poetry quilt created by artist, activist and poet L’Merchie Frazier. Mass Poetry tapped Frazier to create this collaborative art piece featuring lines of poetry from nearly 200 poets, work collected during the pandemic and published in Mass Poetry’s “Hard Work of Hope” series. This collective piece will give attendees the chance to come together as a community, to collectively grieve and move forward with new hope.

Image by Mass Poetry

On May 6th and 7th, the Festival will host a first-ever Teen Poetry Track curated, in part, by Mass Poetry’s Teen Council. This will include several interactive and multi-genre events, such as the creation of a mural, a poetry showcase, and a teen poetry slam featuring several Massachusetts teams. All teens are welcome, free of charge. This year’s Festival is open and accessible to everyone with tickets available by suggested donation, pay-what-you-can, and free for various groups.

Registration is open now at festival.masspoetry.org. Tickets can also be purchased in-person at the Festival headquarters at PEM.

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