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“STAY TUNED, NEXT WORLD”: Announcing Our Fall 2023 Season & Some New Initiatives

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The Poetry Room is proud to present its Fall 2023 season, featuring readings and festivities with Rosa Alcalá, Kim Hyesoon, Don Mee Choi, Tongo Eisen-Martin, Brenda Hillman, Robin Coste Lewis, Forrest Gander, and Jorie Graham. All events are free and open to the public. Most events will also be live-streamed via our YouTube channel. For more information, please visit our website and click through for detailed in-person/online coordinates.

In addition, it gives us great pleasure to announce that this academic year we will be piloting a new initiative called The Community Megaphone. In Spring-Summer 2024, through funds generously provided by the Tom Healy, Harvard Class of 1983, we will be offering stipends to several individuals and/or non-profit organizations in the Boston area to support their work and to further their creative contributions to our community.

Please join us in congratulating our first Community Megaphone grant recipients:

  • David Sherman and Karen Elizabeth Bishop (of the Elegy Project): Established in 2022, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Elegy Project is a creative, compassionate and catalyzing initiative that solicits, designs, and distributes a series of vibrant broadsides for strangers far and wide. The “disbursed, interactive, mobile anthology” presents contemporary elegies (most recently by such artists as Natasha Trethewey, Kevin Young, Kaveh Akbar, and Aria Aber) in a felicitous range of public spaces. “People who find these poems are free to leave them for others, take them home, or circulate them elsewhere.” At the Poetry Room, the Elegy Project founders intend to immerse themselves in researching the history of broadsides (including experimental designs and radical distribution techniques) and to create a new series (drawing upon poems in the WPR archives) to be launched in Summer-Fall 2024.

  • James Fraser (of the Grolier Poetry Book Shop): The visionary and galvanizing manager of the Grolier Poetry Book Shop (which is owned by the equally amazing and magnanimous Menkiti family) will receive a stipend to support his curation of 1-3 events at the Poetry Room in Spring-Fall 2024–in what we are calling “The Grolier Sessions.” Of his upcoming Megaphone grant, Fraser writes: “The Grolier is excited and honored about its partnership with the Woodberry Poetry Room. As two local institutions dedicated to the art and craft of poetry, we are excited to deepen and strengthen our mutual Cambridge roots through books and poets, curation and community.”  

The readings, workshops, and broadsides that they create as a result of their grants will in turn be added to the archive–thus expanding the dimensions of our collection.

And, finally, we are thrilled to announce our first-ever Woodberry Poetry Room Guest Curator. (Drum roll, please…). Thanks to the generosity of the Haidar Family, and with additional support for future guest curatorships by Tom Healy, we are able to provide a stipend and programming budget for award-winning poet, educator, movement worker, and laureate of San Francisco Tongo Eisen-Martin to curate and introduce 1-2 events as a part of our 2024 season.

Eisen-Martin will be taking some time away from his “regularly scheduled [West Coast] personality” to do us the honor. And, in so doing he will contribute to the future of our archive–all events that he hosts will be recorded and preserved as a part of the WPR audio-visual collection. We look forward to communing with him this Fall and learning more about his visions for the coming year. “Stay tuned, next world!” (thus spake Bob Kaufman).

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