The Boston National Poetry Month Festival, 2017

On April 5, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times


(a.k.a. the Somerville Poetry Festival?)

By Kirk Etherton, B.N.P.M.F. board of directors

Somerville has lots of fine writers–including songwriters. This Friday – Sunday (April 7 -9) you’ll find a number of them in Copley Square. Most events take place at the B.P.L.

Lucy Holstedt

For starters, Bert Stern and Lloyd Schwartz are two of the 13 “Keynote Poets” you can hear Friday afternoon. Friday evening, across the street, fellow ‘Villen (and Berklee professor) Lucy Holstedt is producing a “Poetry, Music & Dance” concert, which features 10 original, diverse acts.

FYI, a majority of the Festival’s board of directors live in Somerville, too.

Saturday, you can hear dozens of fine poets–among them Somerville’s Tamlin Neville, and publisher / poet Gloria Mindock. I, too, am a resident of this fair city; I’ll be the host all day. Granted, this entails introducing some truly great writers who live “elsewhere.” Richard Hoffman and Fred Marchant are two such individuals. They both reside within a five-mile radius of my home – an area I sometimes call “Greater Somerville.”

I’m very pleased that Boyah J. Farah will be a Special Guest. Mr. Farah is a teacher, poet, and nationally/internationally recognized essayist who has accomplished much since arriving here in the 1990’s as a refugee from Somalia.

Sunday, Doug Holder – my neighbor here on School Street – is a featured poet, as well as the day’s host. He’ll introduce Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges, acclaimed singer-songwriter Thea Hopkins, singer and ukulele player Madelyn Holley (age 5), and plenty of other fine talents.

NOTE: there are Open Mics on Saturday AND Sunday, a panel discussion on “Craft & Publishing,” a conversation with former Cambridge Poet Populist Toni Bee, and more. See our website below for details.

This is a FREE festival, and I need to thank some of the fine local businesses who support us in so many ways: the UPS store on Somerville Ave.; Market Basket in Union Square; Davis Square Family Practice; International Optical; Master Printing & Signs; The Middle East and ZuZu in Cambridge; Pann Home Services; boloco; Dudley Cafe; great bookstores; Boston Area Small Press and Poetry Scene (a first-rate arts blog), and Coastal Windows & Exteriors I’ve had great experiences with all of them.

Many have ads in our printed program. They’re also listed in the “Directory” section of our website:

A special “thank you” this year to WBUR, for being an official media sponsor of this extremely diverse poetry (& music) festival.

Thanks this year, as every year, to The Somerville Times.

Recently, I was talking with the owner of Coastal Windows & Exteriors, (a sponsor of the festival) telling her how much my wife and I enjoyed all the replacement windows her company had installed in our house. She said, “I wish you’d write a poem about that!” So I did.

Thinking About Windows

I love, how I love not thinking
about them: now, finally, we are
simply warmer (or cooler) as

we wish. We can watch the
wind-blown trees without
feeling or hearing the wind.

Opening any window, I adore
not needing to think about it,
using one finger—not two hands.

I love looking out windows to
notice only clouds, un-obscured
by glass that’s difficult to clean.

Look into our windows and
see our eyes, the windows to
our now undistracted souls.

— Kirk Etherton


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