The Writers’ Corner – Word Up Next

Word Up Next

Word Up Next is a listing of writers’ events in Salem and nearby towns.  All recurring writing meet-ups and Open Mics are listed at the bottom.  Want to add something to the calendar?  Email 


Wednesday, June 26
The Room to Write Meet & Greet
Susie’s Store, 51 Bearskin Neck, Rockport, MA

We are heading north for our next Meet & Greet. 
Be sure to join us on Wednesday, June 26th at Susie’s Stories. More Info

Wednesday, June 26, 7:30-9:00
Patrick Donnelly
Gloucester Writers Center, 126 E. Main St, Gloucester

PATRICK DONNELLY is the author of four books of poetry, Little-Known Operas (Four Way Books, 2019), Jesus Said (a chapbook from Orison Books, 2017), Nocturnes of the Brothel of Ruin (Four Way Books, 2012, a Lambda Literary Award finalist), and The Charge (Ausable Press, 2003, since 2009 part of Copper Canyon Press). Donnelly is director of the Poetry Seminar at The Frost Place, Robert Frost’s old homestead in Franconia, NH, now a center for poetry and the arts. With his spouse Stephen D. Miller, Donnelly translates classical Japanese poetry and drama. The translations in The Wind from Vulture Peak: The Buddhification of Japanese Waka in the Heian Period (Cornell East Asia Series, 2013) were awarded the 2015-2016 Japan-U.S. Friendship Commission Prize for the Translation of Japanese Literature, from the Donald Keene Center of Japanese Culture at Columbia University. Donnelly’s other awards include a U.S./Japan Creative Artists Program Award, an Artist Fellowship from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Margaret Bridgman Fellowship in Poetry from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and a 2018 Amy Clampitt Residency Award. Donnelly was 2015 – 2017 poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. His website is:
Donnelly will read from his newest book, Little-Known Operas. The book includes two sequences alternating with other poems: one about Jesus (yes, that Jesus—though Donnelly’s version of Jesus seems to be a gardener, a Sufi, an esoteric Buddhist, an atheist, a Japanophile, a sufferer of ocular migraines, and a fan of Federico García Lorca), and another about the opera singer Maria Callas. When Jesus introduces the topic of Callas (as one does), the Callas sequence branches off from the Jesus sequence, and then, absurdly, recombines and argues with it. Donnelly and Stephen D. Miller will also read from their translations of Japanese poetry. For More Info


Marblehead Festival July 3rd – 7th See the full literary festival details here.

Saturday, July 6
Abbot Public Library meeting room, 235 Pleasant Street
2:00 – 3:00 Jenna Blum — Jenna Blum’s first novel, Those Who Save Us, explored how non-Jewish Germans dealt with the Holocaust and was a New York Times bestseller, the #1 bestselling novel in the Netherlands in 2001, and the 2005 winner of the Ribalow Prize, awarded by Hadassah Magazine and adjudged by Elie Wiesel. Her second novel, The Stormchasers, was similarly acclaimed.
Blum will speak today about her recently-released book, The Lost Family, and discuss the importance of place in fiction as part of her presentation. An opportunity to purchase her novels and have them signed will follow a question-and-answer session.
In addition to her own writing, Blum leads novelists as part of Grub Street in Boston, the nation’s largest creative writing center.

Sunday, July 7
King Hooper Mansion—Upper Floor, 8 Hooper Street
2 – 3 pm “A Sense of Place”

Panel discussion on place and community in creative nonfiction, play writing, and poetry. This afternoon’s panel will close out this year’s literary festival with a lively discussion among three prize-winning authors on the ways place and community influence and lend authenticity to their nonfiction, plays, and poetry.

Eric Jay Dolin (nonfiction) has published 13 historical books, many of which focus on maritime topics, wildlife, and the environment. His published works have won, among other prestigious awards, the 2007 John Lyman Award for U. S. Maritime History, the L. Byrne Waterman Award for outstanding contributions to whaling research and history, the gold medal for books at the 2001 American Philatelic Society Stamp Show, the 2010 James P. Hanlan Book Award, given by the New England Historical Association, and first place in the Outdoor Writers Association of America excellence in craft contest.

J. D. Scrimgeour (poetry) J.D. Scrimgeour holds a BA and MA in English from Columbia University and an MFA in poetry and a PhD in American literature from Indiana University. He has published three collections of poetry, The Last Miles (2005), Territories (2013), and Lifting the Turtle (2017); and two books of creative nonfiction, Spin Moves (2000) and Themes For English B: A Professor’s Education In and Out of Class (2006). The latter won the Association of Writers & Writing Programs (AWP) Award for Creative Nonfiction.
His poetry has appeared in magazines such as Poetry, Ploughshares, Colorado Review, River Styx, Tar River Poetry, Connecticut Review, and Diner, and has won awards from the National Society of Arts and Letters and the Academy of American Poets. Scrimgeour was named a finalist for a Massachusetts Cultural Council Individual Artist grant in poetry for 2008. With Philip Swanson, he released a CD of blending poetry and music, Ogunquit & Other Works (2010).
Scrimgeour’s nonfiction has appeared in such publications as The Boston Globe magazine, The Chronicle of Higher Education, Creative Nonfiction, Thought & Action, and Organica. His essay, “My Outfield,” won Creative Nonfiction’s Writing about Baseball contest and appeared in the anthology, The Anatomy of Baseball.

Shari Frost (screenwriting) Shari D. Frost is a screenwriter, playwright, consultant and teacher on Boston’s North Shore.  Her screenplays include LOW AND OUTSIDE (2015 quarterfinalist: Academy Nicholl, Final Draft Big Break, and Austin Film Festival screenwriting competitions) and GAP YEAR (2014 Austin Film Festival screenwriting competition). Both were previously optioned. Shari is currently a reader for the Austin Film Festival and teaches screenwriting at Grub Street in Boston.  Shari’s plays have been produced at the Boston Theater Marathon, the Warner International Playwrights Festival, the New Works Festival, and Our Voices.

See the full literary festival details here.

Monday, July 24 7:30-9:00 pm
Cathy Curtis on Nell Blaine
Gloucester Writers Center, 126 E. Main St, Gloucester

For More Info

Monday, July 31, 7:30-9:00 pm
Ann Charters
Gloucester Writers Center, 126 E. Main St, Gloucester

For More Info

Fridays in July & August, 5:30 -6:30 PM
Salon Storytelling
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St, Salem, MA

The Summer Salon series kicks off with a live storytelling by local writers hosted by J.D. Scrimgeour.
Please join us on Fridays in July and August for one or more of these special evenings!
July 12: Storytelling hosted by J.D. Scrimgeour
July 19: Dave Williams — Polling
July 26: Margie Lavender — Harmony Grove Cemetery
August 9: Boston Saxophone Quartet
August 16: James R. Scrimgeour and Carl Carlsen — Dogtown
August 23: Vicky Sirianni — Palladio

For More Info


August 10-11th
Hettie Jones Memoir Workshop
Gloucester Writers Center, 126 E. Main St, Gloucester

Students in this workshop will begin to create a personal memoir in the context of its own time and place. Guided by exercises and examples from published work, each three-hour session will offer time for both writing and oral critique. For writers who want to repeat the class Hettie will bringsome new writing prompts so they won’t be stuck or bored. 

Best known for How I Became Hettie Jones, her memoir of the “beat scene” of the fifties and sixties, Hettie Jones is the author of 23 books for children and adults, including the award-winning Big Star Fallin’ Mama (Five Women in Black Music) and Drive, the first of her three poetry collections, which won the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber Award. In addition to her own work, Jones has also written No Woman No Cry for Rita MarleyGrace the Table for the chef Alexander Smalls, and co-authored From Midnight to Dawn, the Last Tracks of the Underground Railroad. Her short fiction has appeared in various literary journals such as Ploughshares and Fence, and she has published reviews, articles, and stories in The Washington Post and The Village Voice among others.

Since 1979 Jones has taught writing at various universities, and is now on the faculties of the New School’s Graduate Writing Program and the 92nd St. Y Poetry Center. During the Spring semester of 2014 she lectured as the Durst Distinguished Professor at the State University in Purchase, New York. Jones is the former Chair of the PEN Prison Writing Committee, and from 1989-2002 ran a writing workshop at the New York State Correctional Facility for Women at Bedford Hills, from which she published a nationally distributed collection, Aliens At The Border. From 1994-1996 she was a member of the Literature Panel of the New York State Council on the Arts, subsequently served two terms on the Board of Directors of Cave Canem, and currently serves on PEN’s Advisory Council. Jones was a NYFA Fellow in Nonfiction Literature in 2009, and a 2013-14 recipient of a Civic Engagement Grant from the New School for her work with Manhattan’s Lower East Side Girls Club, which she is currently continuing at the Howl Arts Gallery. Hettie Jones has lived in Manhattan’s East Village for fifty years. Love H, a selection from her 40-year correspondence with the sculptor Helene Dorn which was published by Duke University Press in 2016. She is presently completing Full Tilt, new and selected poems, and In Care of Worth Auto Parts, a collection of linked short fiction. Saturday, Aug 10th  1-4  Sunday, Aug 11th  Noon-3:30 For More Info

Upcoming Festivals

July 3rd – 7th
Marblehead Literary Festival
Marblehead, MA

Click Here for Full Details

September 20-22
Salem Lit Fest
Various Locations, Salem, MA

Click Here for Full Details

September 27-28
Dogtown Writers Festival: Finding Words in Place
Gloucester Writers Center, Gloucester, MA

Click Here For Full Details.

Recurring Meet-Ups & Open Mics

Below is a listing of writing groups and writing meet-ups happening in the area.  We do our best to keep this up-to-date but please click the link to confirm weekly meeting times with the group’s web page.   Want to add your group?  Email

Salem State Veteran Writers Workshop 
First Tuesday of the month
Location alternates monthly between Salem State and Salem VFW Post 1524

A monthly writing workshop that provides military veterans and civilians an open forum in which to explore writing among peers. Writing prompts will be given, followed by workshopping and conversation. Our location alternates monthly between Salem State and Salem VFW Post 1524.    For More Info

Ipswich Poetry Group
Dates/Times: 2nd and 4th Wednesday at 6:30 PM

Location: Ipswich Library, Collins Room, 25 N Main St, Ipswich

The Ipswich Poetry Group meets to share poems in progress and give and receive feedback. All are welcome! Email with questions or call Sarah at 617-584-7025.   For more info

North Shore Poets’ Forum Meetings
Dates/Times: 3rd Saturday of the month at 11 am – 1:30 pm
Location: Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex St, Beverly

Members are asked to bring a little bit of food or a beverage to share (cookies, little sandwiches, cheese, whatever). Each meeting will feature a presentation on a poet, movement or form that should be of general interest to members. After the program, members are encouraged to bring an original poem and six to 10 copies for members to offer gentle critique.   For More Info

Open Mic
Dates/Times: 1st Monday of the month, 7:30 – 9:30 PM
Gloucester Writer’s Center, 126 East Main St, Gloucester  

Read for five minutes. Bring your words. Get heard.   For More Info

Amesbury Library Writers’ Group
 Monthly on the 1st Wednesday at 6:30 pm
Location: Amesbury Public Library, 149 Main St, Amesbury

The Amesbury Library Writers’ Group is an open group of writers who are currently working on writing projects. The purpose of the group is to meet to read and critique the writings of each group member. Each member is to be actively and regularly engaged in submitting their own work in progress for review, regularly reading the submissions of other members of the group, and regularly meeting in person to discuss their writings and the writings of the other group members. Writers in all genres are welcome to attend.

The group will meet the first Wednesday of every month. This group is open to anyone who would like to participate and an individual must attend two consecutive meetings of the group to have their work critiqued. This group will be run and facilitated by volunteeers

The library hosts a monthly poetry series with an open mic. Each month there will be a featured poet followed by a discussion, an open mic and light refreshments. Stephen Wagner, Amesbury Poet Laureate, hosts this event. 
For More Info 

Powow River Poets Reading Series
Bimonthly, 2nd Saturday at 3 pm; next up Nov. 10
Newburyport Public Library, 94 State St, Newburyport

The bimonthly series, is free and open to the public, and includes an Open Mic. Poetry enthusiasts are urged to attend. The Open Mic is limited to ten poets, so come early to the library to sign up. The time limit is one poem or two minutes, whichever is shorter, so please time your reading when you rehearse.   For More Info

Readers & Writers Guild
Dates/Times: 3rd Friday of select months at 7:30 pm
Christ Church, 149 Asbury Street, South Hamilton

Our Readers & Writers Guild meets to hear a featured reader as well as share open mic time, peruse attendee’s books for sale, and enjoy pot luck refreshments.  Check website for upcoming dates. All are welcome!  For More Info

River Bards Fall Poetry Series & Open Mic
Dates/Times: First Friday of the month at 7 pm
Location: Battle Grounds Coffee Company, Haverhill

Creative Haverhill’s River Bards present Fall Poetry Series and Open Mic nights at Battle Grounds Coffee Company! Each event will begin with a featured poet, followed by the open mic portion of the evening. Participants should limit their readings to 3-5 minutes. Sign ups are first come, first served on the night of the event. Food and drink are available for purchase!  For More Info

Witch City Writers’ Workshop
Dates/Times: 3rd Monday of the month at 6:30 pm
Location: Varies between Beverly Library and the Cummings Center

Join our workshop! Please review submissions before you attend and be ready to offer feedback (written feedback is always welcome). Please also review the workshop guidelines in the drop-off folder. You are welcome to bring food/drink (no alcohol).  Please bring a $2 cash contribution to workshop meetings to participate. If you prefer, you can bring $30 cash for a full year of no-fee workshops.      For More Info

Writer’s Open Studio
Dates/Times:  Every Tuesday at 8:40 am – 11:30 am
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St, Salem

Weekly Writing Studios at the Salem Athenaeum.  The building will be open from 9:45-12:00 every Tuesday (unless announced otherwise). Feel free to come by and write in a quiet peaceful setting. Come for as long as you’d like–for 20 minutes or all three hours.         For More Info 

Salem Writer’s Group
Date/Time:  1st & 3rd Tuesday of the month at 7:30 pm
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St, Salem

All are welcome to bring work-in-progress to share with the group for feedback. The group is facilitated by J.D. Scrimgeour, Professor of English, Salem State University.     For more info 

Winter Street Writer’s
Date/Time: Last Tuesday of the Month 9:30 – 11 am
Location: Beverly Public Library, 32 Essex St, Beverly

We are a Beverly-based writing group.
For inquiries, please contact

Poetry Open Mic
Date/Time: Last Tuesday of the Month 6-7 pm
Location: Amesbury Public Library, 149 Main St, Amesbury

The library hosts a monthly poetry series with an open mic. Each month there will be a featured poet followed by a discussion, an open mic and light refreshments. Stephen Wagner, Amesbury Poet Laureate, hosts this event.  Learn More