Massachusetts Poetry Festival

Title: Massachusetts Poetry Festival

Location: Salem, Massachusetts, US
Description: Celebrating its fourth festival in 2012, Massachusetts Poetry Festival showcases a variety of extraordinary local and regional poets, and engages the public through poetry readings, interactive workshops, panel discussions, music, film and visual arts, and performances geared toward a diverse statewide audience.

Learn more about the Massachusetts Poetry Festival and other related initiatives here.

Start Date: April 20, 2012
End Date: April 22, 2012

Wenlock Poetry Festival

Title: Wenlock Poetry Festival

Location: Much Wenlock & Shropshire, UK
Description: Wenlock Poetry Festival is fast becoming one of the top poetry festivals in the UK. Though only in its third year, it is already attracting some of the very best poets and performers writing and working today. At the same time, the festival encourage performances by up-and-coming poets and showcases local poets too. The festival also offers a wide range of workshops for adults, children and young people encouraging creativity for all participants.

Learn more here.

Start Date: April 13, 2012
End Date: April 15, 2012

2012 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist announced

Title: 2012 Griffin Poetry Prize shortlist announced

Description: Scott Griffin, founder of The Griffin Trust For Excellence In Poetry and David Young, trustee, announced the International and Canadian shortlist for this year’s prize. Judges Heather McHugh (USA), David O’Meara (Canada) and Fiona Sampson (England) each read 481 books of poetry, from 37 countries, including 19 translations.

Read all the details here.

Date: April 10, 2012


Title: Versefest

Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Description: VERSe Ottawa is a collective of Ottawa organizations who curate and produce reading and performance series. One of the principal strengths of VERSe is the inclusion of both traditional written- and spoken word poetry groups.

Learn more here.

Start Date: February 28, 2012
End Date: March 4, 2012

National Poetry Month (US and Canada)

Title: National Poetry Month (US and Canada)

Description: National Poetry Month is a month-long celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets in 1996 and observed since 1999 in Canada. As the Academy of American Poets states, National Poetry Month is meant to widen the attention of individuals and the media to the art of poetry, to living poets, to the nation’s complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern. National Poetry Month events and initiatives increase the visibility and availability of poetry in popular culture while acknowledging and celebrating poetry’s ability to sustain itself in the many places where it is practiced and appreciated.

Learn more about National Poetry Month via the Academy of American Poets and the League of Canadian Poets.

Start Date: April 1, 2012
End Date: April 30, 2012

Galle Literary Festival, Sri Lanka

Title: Galle Literary Festival, Sri Lanka

Location: Galle, Sri Lanka
Description: The Galle Literary Festival was inaugurated in 2006. Since then it has been held annually and hosted writers such as the late Arthur C. Clarke, Gore Vidal, Vikram Seth, Germaine Greer, Tom Stoppard, Sir Richard Dawkins, Joanna Trollope, Romesh Gunasekera and many more.

Learn more about the festival here.

Start Date: January 18, 2012
End Date: January 22, 2012

The Poetry Route submission deadline

For a few years now, The Edmonton Poetry Festival has teamed with Edmonton Transit to bring Edmontonians literary beauty on their daily transit commute. The placards on buses and trains have proven to be a great way to get the work of Edmonton poets out to a wider audience.
Get the submission details here.


John Glenday

copyright ©John Glenday 2009

Did we really believe
our love could have survived
on that boat something or other
had us build of spavined cedar
pitched and thatched against the flood,
with two of nothing but ourselves on board –
no raven to hoist behind the rain,
no dove returning with a sprig of green?

Notes on the Poem

In "Ark", John Glenday subverts an age-old narrative. With a matter of a few incisive edits and reversals from the expected, he uses the upended story to frame a relationship in an almost startling and certainly unflinching light. Whether viewed as symbolic, mythological or even historically possible, the narrative of Noah's ark culminates in what is universally viewed as messages of salvation, hope and peace. Glenday takes a few pointedly placed negatives - most strikingly, "two of nothing but ourselves" - and drains all optimism from the future of the "love" depicted in this brief, prickly poem. "No raven" and "no dove" will bring back useful or promising signs. That the vessel in question is built of ruined ("spavined") material seems to seal that love's fate. Here's a challenge to this poem's construct, and to any poem that assumes knowledge of a story or metaphor underlying it: how does this poem work if a reader somehow doesn't know what Noah's ark is? Glenday has crafted this poem's crisp musings such that it could stand as two people embarking on an ill-fated voyage unto itself, with no antecedents. But what if either the reference is obscure or the poem relies on the reference too much to get its meaning across?

New Rule

Anne Carson

copyright ©2000 Anne Carson

A New Year’s white morning of hard new ice.
High on the frozen branches I saw a squirrel jump and skid.
Is this scary? he seemed to say and glanced

down at me, clutching his branch as it bobbed
in stiff recoil – or is it just that everything sounds wrong today?
The branches

He wiped his small cold lips with one hand.
Do you fear the same things as

I fear? I countered, looking up.
His empire of branches slid against the air.
The night of hooks?

The man blade left open on the stair?
Not enough spin on it, said my true love
when he left in our fifth year.

The squirrel bounced down a branch
and caught a peg of tears.
The way to hold on is


Notes on the Poem

In this simple but surprisingly layered poem, Anne Carson weaves together many subtle devices to illustrate the narrator's nervous excitement at venturing forth and making a fresh start. The day is cold and harsh as the narrator faces a new year without her true love, departed after five years. However, she has the whimsical presence of mind to find parallels in her situation with that of a squirrel making its perilous way through frozen branches. The Poetry Archive, a generous UK poetry resource and repository, notes that "an alertness to the frequency of the line-endings is part of reading poetry." Carson brings points in the poem to the alert reader's particular attention through the use of some crisply placed line-endings. "The branches clinked." That stark sound - made more striking set alone on its own line - marks an abrupt pause in the squirrel's progress. Is it a point at which the narrator, too, needs to ponder before leaping? "The way to hold on is afterwords so clear." And how about those final three lines? Are they terse, desperate, slipping, clutching? Then again, does the word "clear" have so much more impact, emphasis and resonance set all on its own?