Interviewer vs. Interviewer

Interviewer vs. Interviewer
( Click on picture to view) Elizabeth Lund--Host of Poetic Lines interviews Host of Poet to Poet-- Doug Holder

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mike Ansara and January O'Neil of the Mass. Poetry Festival

My guest Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011 will be Mike Ansara founder of the Mass. Poetry Festival, and January O'Neil award-winning poet and board member of MPF. is a new program to connect poets and poetry with larger audiences. The project grew out of roundtables with poets in every part of the state to explore that condition of poetry in Massachusetts. Those roundtables were a collaborative effort between, the Mass Cultural Council and MassHumanities.

The purpose of is to create resources to aid and support the Massachusetts poetry community, to reconnect poetry to more mainstream culture, to create new audiences for poetry and to organize the poetry community throughout the state. works to support poets and poetry in a number of ways:

•The Massachusetts Poetry Festival – a unique 2 day gathering of poets and poetry lovers from across the Commonwealth for readings, workshops, panels, concerts, a small press fair and more
•Taking poetry to people: we sponsor poets to work in schools, senior centers, prisons and communities.
•Assisting more readers to read and reconnect with poetry
•Working with teachers to assist them to work with poetry in the classroom
•Creating a central information center for poets and poetry readers and lovers to find reading series, workshops, MFA programs, and other resources
•Building a robust website to support all of these activities
•Linking together all the dispirit strands of the Massachusetts poetry community to promote more collaboration, respect and communication also has a few core principles that inform and guide our work. First, we insist on supporting and giving voice to the full range of poetry across the Commonwealth. This means we work with and support poets of all different styles, schools and approaches, from academic poets at major universities to performance poets in clubs. We work with the full range of ethnic, cultural and linguistic diversity, from poets writing exclusively in English to those writing in Creole, Portuguese, and Cambodian. It means we are committed to working with poets from the Berkshires to Cape Cod, from Newburyport to Fall River, in Worcester and the Merrimack Valley, in Chelsea as well as Cambridge. We are committed to expanding the audience for poetry in all those communities and not just in the universities and private prep schools.

Finally we are committed whenever and wherever possible to actually pay our poets for their creative time. Far, far too often poets are asked to donate their time and the results of hours and hours of hard creative work. We value poetry and we value poets. And so whenever possible we pay them for their work. is proud of the start we have made. The Festival has been created and two successful Festivals have been held. We have started pilot programs in schools, in the community and with teachers. We have 59 partner organizations, schools, and institutions across the state. We have a broad, diverse and talented Advisory Board. But as much as we have been able to do, far more remains to be done.