Monday, October 27, 2008

Massachusetts Poetry Festival

This past weekend Lowell hosted the 2008 Massachusetts Poetry festival. The three day long event, which took place from Friday, Oct. 10 through Sunday, Oct. 12, was filled with poetry readings, art exhibitions, poetry showcases, and more.
Being that the various events throughout the day took place around Lowell, nice weather was important. Luckily, the organizers could not have chosen a more sunny and comfortable autumn day if they had tried. The day seemed perfect for walking around and seeing all that Lowell and the artists there had to offer. Local sandwich shops and coffee shops such as Olive That And More partnered with the poetry festival as they hosted their own open-mic poetry readings. Small crowds came in throughout the day, enjoyed a nice meal and listened to and shared their own writings.
Throughout Saturday, there was a small press fair at the ALL Arts Gallery at 246 Market Street. The press fair, which was curated by Bootstrap Press from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., gave festival goers the chance to meet editors and publishers from various presses and magazines as well as a chance to purchase any of their writings.
While the press fair was going on at the ALL Arts Gallery, there were many other events going on in Lowell throughout the day. One of those events was the poetry readings of Marjorie Agosin and Ed Sanders at the Lowell High School Freshman Academy. Born in Chile, most of Agosin’s poetry revolves around growing up there and all of her poetry is written in Spanish. At the reading, Agosin shared some of her translated works, including “The Obedient Girl”, “The President”, and a poem about a mother remembering her deceased daughter. Agosin’s soft, almost whimpery voice added to the poems’ romantic and nostalgic themes. Read in both English and Spanish, Agosin’s poems about Anne Frank hit a soft spot in the audience’s hearts. After a couple of other poems, the mood changed as Agosin read a humorous poem entitles “I Don’t Do Lunch” which mocked the uptight and proper lunch that often people meet to have as opposed to the freeing and warm hearty dinner most people enjoy. Most of Agosin’s poetry sounded better in its native language, Spanish. It had a lot more flow and vivacity; it got to the point with more passion. Agosin then closed her part with a quote both in English and in Spanish, “No hay otra luz que la que tu imaginas; recordar es reviver.”
With his completely different style, Ed Sanders took the stage next and read from hi book, Poems for New Orleans. The poem “Secret Poverty” told the truth about what poverty means for the people who were affected when hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. Its repetition of the phrase, “Let’s call it (fill in adjective here) poverty…” drove home the reality and seriousness and how the hurricane situation was handled. In a less serious tone, Sanders’ next poem, entitled “Send George Bush to Jail!” was humorous in a subtle way. Not only did the poem include many historical references, but it also included the audience; Sanders kept asking the audience to join in and say the chorus with him, “Send George Bush to jail!” Showing off his other talents, Sanders also played an instrument and sang a song. He concluded with William Blake’s laughing song which consisted of a few words, and as you might guess, lots of laughter. Sanders asked the audience to join in the laughing chorus, which was difficult to do without breaking out into real hysterical laughter. Once the poetry reading was done, many audience members rushed to talk to and take pictures with both Agosin and Sanders; they also had the chance to purchase and have books signed by both authors.
If the entire poetry festival was anything like the few events mentioned, then it was definitely a successful and a talent-filled event.

No comments: