Worcester has long been a hotbed of poetry, and Mapping Worcester in Poetry (MWiP) is literally putting the city’s poems on the map!
Below you’ll find events and do-it-yourself tours to follow in the footsteps of some of Worcester’s best-known poets, including Stanley Kunitz, Elizabeth Bishop, Charles Olson, Mary Fell, Etheridge Knight, and Christopher Gilbert. MWiP identifies, documents, and marks sites within the city related to these poets while also nurturing brand-new poetry about Worcester and Central Massachusetts.
Poems in and out of Places
We are seeking brand-new poems about Worcester’s public spaces by June 1, 2023. Selected poems will be displayed, recorded, published, and awarded an honorarium of $75. During the year before the deadline, we’re hosting free workshops on writing about place. To learn more about the workshops and the context, visit the Poems in and Out of Places page on the WCPA website.
Poems in and out of Places: The City in Motion
Thursday, April 21, 7-8:30 pm at TidePool Bookshop, 372 Chandler Street
Join us for a reading of poems set all over Worcester – Plantation Street, Coes Pond, Vernon Hill, Main South, Tatnuck Square, downtown—and the launching of the Poems in and out of Places workshops and contest. Share a poem about Wootown at the open mic, and then listen to featured poetry about our city by poets past and present. For more information, check out the Events Calendar announcement.
Elizabeth Bishop Graveside Reading
Tuesday, February 8, 2022, at 12 noon in Hope Cemetery
Featured readers: John Hodgen, Susan Roney-O’Brien, Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, John Gaumond, Katie Knippler, Judith Ferrara, Claire Golding, Katherine Gregoire . . . and Elizabeth Bishop herself! We made the front page of the Worcester Telegram with a lovely photographic essay about the event.
Download one of our free driving or walking tours!
MWiP Bishop Tour 2022, revised March 2022
(a 20-minute drive or 85-minute walk along Main Street, from City Hall Plaza to Hope Cemetery)
- Mary Fell (from Kelley Square to Main South and beyond)
- Chris Gilbert (from Pleasant Street to Park Avenue and beyond)
- Etheridge Knight (Free People’s Poetry Workshop venues and beyond)
- Stanley Kunitz 1 (from Polar Park to 4 Woodford Street)
- Stanley Kunitz 2 (from Elm Park to Hope Cemetery)
- Frank O’Hara 1 (Grafton)
- Frank O’Hara 2 (Downtown Worcester)
- Charles Olson (from Norman Avenue and Newton Square to the Blackstone River)
Mapping Worcester in Poetry is a project supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, developed in collaboration with the Worcester County Poetry Association (WCPA), and directed by Susan Elizabeth Sweeney under the auspices of Scholarship in Action at the College of the Holy Cross. Kate Gregoire coordinates related programming with WCPA. Other stakeholders include Main IDEA, Pow! Wow! Worcester, Preservation Worcester, Stanley Kunitz Boyhood Home, Worcester Historical Museum, and The Worcester Review. For more information, read a profile of student research associate Katie Knippler, an announcement of the Mellon grant, or a news story about the project. To get involved or ask a question, contact us here.