The 9th Massachusetts Poetry Festival brings American’s most admired poets from across the country to a celebration of Massachusetts’ lively contemporary poetry scene—Friday, May 5 – Sunday, May 7, 2017 in historic downtown Salem, MA.

Throughout the weekend, we spotlight the following highly acclaimed poets: Pulitzer-prize winner and former U.S. Poet Laureate Louise Glück, Guggenheim fellow Eileen Myles, Kazim Ali, Andrea Cohen, Cornelius Eady and Rough Magic, Ross Gay, Rigoberto González, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Emily Pettit, Tom Sleigh, and Dara Wier. The first weekend of May, Salem becomes the epicenter of contemporary American poetry, offering rare opportunities to hear the nation’s best poets read and discuss their work in intimate and engaging forums. Highlights include:

Friday evening, two of the finest poets writing today: the award-winning Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil, 7:30–9 the Atrium of the Peabody Essex Museum.

Saturday afternoon, we feature a musical performance by Cornelius Eady and his band Rough Magic, blending poetry and music at the Peabody Essex Museum. Headline poets Andrea Cohen, Tom Sleigh, Kazim Ali, and Rigoberto González will read throughout the day celebrating the diversity and common threads among us all at the Peabody Essex Museum.  

Saturday evening we are delighted to feature award-winning poet and novelist Eileen Myles. After her reading, she will be interviewed by WBUR’s celebrated host Christopher Lydon. Eileen Myles demonstrates the extraordinary possibilities of poetry to reveal the personal and political experiences of American life. 7:30–9 p.m. at The Bridge at 211.

The Mass Poetry Festival offers nearly 100 poetry readings and workshops, a small press and literary fair, panels, poetry slams, and open-air readings. Panel topics range broadly from The State of Poetry, poetry and gender, poetry and aging, book publishing, and children’s poetry. On Friday, May 5, we will host a Student Day of Poetry, in which 300 high school students from across the Commonwealth study with acclaimed poets and instructors to discover their own unique voice. More than 150 poets will engage with thousands of New Englanders throughout the weekend. Admission is $20, and $7 for students and seniors; an additional $10 service fee for all workshops.

Visit for more information, or contact January O’Neil at 978-542-2376.

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