Salem State Hosts Poetry Seminar: Public Readings June 4-8

SALEM, MA –   Salem State University and the Salem Athenaeum announce the eighth Salem Poetry Seminar, a week-long event for students at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts. The Seminar gives thirteen students, selected from throughout the commonwealth, the opportunity to study poetry writing intensively with noted teachers and authors Charlotte Gordon, J.D. Scrimgeour, and January Gill O’Neil. Scrimgeour, Chair of English at Salem State, founded the Seminar and serves as the Director.

First held in 2000, the Seminar has been a profound experience for those who have participated, building long-term friendships and long-term commitments to the art of poetry.  It has also resulted in many successes.  

  • Twenty-five books of poetry by seminar participants.
  • Thirteen participants have gone on to edit national magazines or found presses. 
  • Over twenty students accepted into graduate programs in creative writing, including NYU, University of Michigan, the Ohio State University, University of Alaska, George Mason University, Indiana University, Lesley University, Southern Connecticut State University, and University of Massachusetts-Boston.

The Seminar is free to student participants and is supported by Salem State’s Center for Creative and Performing Arts. 

In addition to the classes on poetry writing, the Seminar has a public component: free readings that feature an established poet and include brief readings by seminar participants. 

Kevin Carey and MP Carver – Tuesday, June 4 – 7:30 pm – Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex Street, Salem

Kevin Carey is the Coordinator of Creative Writing at Salem State University. He has published three books – a chapbook of fiction, The Beach People (Red Bird Chapbooks) and two books of poetry from CavanKerry Press, The One Fifteen to Penn Station  and Jesus Was a Homeboy which was selected as an Honor Book for the 2017 Paterson Poetry Prize. A new collection of poems, Set in Stone isdue outin May of 2020. Kevincareywriter.com

MP Carver lives in Salem, MA where she teaches creative writing as an adjunct at Salem State. She is an editor at YesNo Press and former Poetry Editor of Soundings East. Her poetry has been published in 50Haikus, Meat for Tea, and The Fox Chase Review, among others. Her chapbook, Selachimorpha, was published by Incessant Pipe Print Works in 2015.


Charlotte Gordon and Jennifer MartelliWednesday, June 5 – 7:30 pm – The Pickering House, 18 Broad Street, Salem

Charlotte Gordon. Charlotte Gordon’s book, Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley. Earlier works include Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet — a Massachusetts Honor book for nonfiction. She has also published two collections of poetry Two Girls on a Raft and When the Grateful Dead Came to St. Louis.  She is Professor of English at Endicott College.

Jennifer Martelli. Marblehead resident Jennifer Martelli is the author of the two full-length collections, My Tarentella and The Uncanny Valley, as well as two poetry chapbooks, Apostrophe and After Bird, which won the Grey Book Press Chapbook Competition. She was the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for her poetry.


Salem Poetry Seminar Alumni ReadingThursday, June 6 – 7:30 pmSalem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St., Salem

Joey Gould

The Seminar has a devoted group of alumni who return to share their talents. Alumni have gone on to publish 25 books of poetry and to edit several national magazines. This year’s reading features writers such as Brian Brodeur, Gregory Glenn, Joey Gould, Lisa Mangin and Enzo Surin.


January Gill O’NeilFriday, June 7 – 7:30 pmSalem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St., Salem

January Gill O’Neil

January Gill O’Neil is the author of three collections of poetry, Underlife, Misery Islands, and Rewilding. Misery Islands won the Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry in 2015. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Ploughshares and The New York Times Magazine. She was Executive Director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival from 2012-18, and shewill be the John and Renee Grisham Writer-In-Residence at the University of Mississippi in 2019-20.


About Salem State 

Salem State University, established in 1854, is a comprehensive, public institution of higher learning located approximately 15 miles north of Boston, Massachusetts. One of the largest state universities in the Commonwealth, Salem State enrolls over 9,000 undergraduate and graduate students. It offers 32 undergraduate programs and graduate programs that offer degrees in 24 fields. The university also has a continuing education division that offers both credit and non-credit programs. Known for the academic strength of its faculty, Salem State was named a Top Producer of U.S. Fulbright Scholars in 2011 and for the 2016-2017 academic year. The university is designated a Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs, a Top College and University by Military Advanced Education, and a Best for Vets College by Military Times. 

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