*Zoom link will be made available upon registration. Register by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 508 210 5569
Proclaimed a “Slam Poet Legend” by Poetry Slam International, Worcester poet Tony Brown has been selected as the 2022 Stanley Kunitz Medal recipient.
Brown is widely known throughout Worcester’s poetry community and beyond. During nearly five decades of shepherding poetry from “the page to the stage,” he has established himself as a poet, essayist, teacher, pacesetter among slam team poets, editor, and venue host. Brown is cofounder of The Duende Project, a spoken word and music quartet that performs locally and along the East Coast, in addition to releasing six collections of their work. Brown’s daily blog, “Dark Matters,” attracts over 3000 readers, and his poems have garnered seven Pushcart Prize nominations.
The Stanley Kunitz Medal originated with a bequest to the Worcester County Poetry Association from former Poet Laureate of the United States and Worcester native Stanley Kunitz (1905-2006). Brown’s award will be the eighth annual medal bestowed on a poet with a strong Worcester County connection who best exemplifies Kunitz’s lifelong commitment to poetry. The award recognizes a poet’s commitment to poetry as Kunitz lived it: teaching poetry, mentoring poets, speaking poetry, publishing poetry, and supporting organizations which nurture poetry.
Also nominated this year were poets Curt Curtin, David Macpherson, and Laura Jehn Menides.
Tony Brown will receive his medal at a ceremony presented by the Worcester County Poetry Association at the Worcester Historical Museum on Thursday, July 28th from 6:30-8:30 p.m. There is limited parking at the museum, with additional parking on street and in the Pearl/Elm Street Garage. Visit the 2022 Kunitz Medal Ceremony event page for details.
Join a gathering of 20+ women on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, for the annual Princeton Women’s Poetry Reading organized by Susan Roney-O’Brien. The event will start at 7:00 pm and will be held using a Zoom online meeting. The Princeton Public Library has agreed to co-sponsor the event along with the Worcester County Poetry Association.
Visit the Zoom registration link to receive information on how to join the reading. Zoom will send you an e-mail with the meeting details and a link to join.
Expected to read are the following women (a * indicates a first-time reader at the event).
You can download the bios for all the readers here >>> Women’s Reading Bios 2022.
Submissions for the WCPA’s Annual Poetry Contest: The Frank O’Hara Prize are now open. For 2022 our contest judge is Usman Hameedi, a Pakistani-American scientist, poet, and educator who serves on Mass Poetry’s Board of Directors.
Contest rules and submission details can be found on the 2022 Annual Contest Submission Guidelines page. The submission deadline is Saturday, April 30, 2022.
On behalf of the Stanley Kunitz bequest to the Worcester County Poetry Association, the Medal committee is pleased to announce the opening of nominations for the 2022 Stanley Kunitz Medal, the eighth to be awarded since 2015.
The medal is presented annually to a person with a strong Worcester County (Massachusetts) connection who best exemplifies Stanley Kunitz’s life-long commitment to poetry and poets. The award recognizes an individual’s total commitment to poetry as Kunitz lived it: teaching poetry, mentoring poets, speaking poetry, publishing poetry, and supporting organizations which nurture poetry.
Letters of nomination should provide support explaining how the nominee nurtured poetry as defined above. Because the yearly award is singular and cannot honor all worthy applicants, past nominations may be reactivated for 2022 once the nominators notify the committee chair to keep the nomination active.
Nominations should be mailed to The Stanley Kunitz Medal, c/o Worcester County Poetry Association, P.O. Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613 between December 1, 2021 and March 31, 2022. The award announcement will be made in the late spring of 2022, with a ceremony at The Worcester Historical Museum coinciding with Kunitz’s birthday the last week of July. Please visit the Kunitz Medal page for more details.
The 2022 Stanley Kunitz Medal committee wishes to recognize and thank the following volunteers who have served to bestow this honor in the past: Rodger Martin, chair (2013-2021), Kent Ljungquist (2017-2021), Karen Sharpe (2019-2021), Robert Steele (2015-2016), E. Robert Cronin (2015-2018).
Judith Ferrara, Committee Chair – Judy@PaletteAndPen.com -508-757-0524
Joe Fusco, Jr.
Heather J. Macpherson
Susan Elizabeth Sweeney
The Worcester County Poetry Association (WCPA) is pleased to announce that Dean Gessie of Midland, Ontario, Canada, has won this year’s WCPA Poetry Contest: The Frank O’Hara Prize. His poem “Diary of a Dead Eel Boy” was selected by contest judge Pam Bernard from the 191 poems submitted by 69 entrants.
Dean Gessie is a widely acclaimed author and poet who has won or placed in more than 80 international competitions. Gessie won the Enizagam International Poetry Contest in California and he was selected for inclusion by Black Mountain Press in both The Sixty-Four Best Poets of 2018 and 2019. In England, Gessie was shortlisted for the Anthology Poetry Award and the Latin Program Poetry Prize, and in Ireland, for the Fish International Poetry Contest. He was a finalist for the Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Prize. He also won Third Prize in the Hungry Hill Writing Poets Meet Politics Competition. His short stories and poetry have appeared in numerous anthologies around the world. He has also published three novellas with Anaphora Literary Press: Guantanamo Redux; A Brief History of Summer Employment; and TrumpeterVille.
Second Place – Rhett Watts of Auburn, MA for “Blues for Betty”
Third Place – Tom Driscoll of Framingham, MA for “This isn’t the first time”
Honorable Mention – Therese Gleason Carr of Worcester, MA for “Pee Wee Valley Kentucky: 1965”
Honorable Mention – Jennifer Freed of Holden, MA for “The Others”
Honorable Mention – Joyce Schmid of Palo Alto, CA for “Returning to Where I Grew Up”
The winning poems will be published in the next edition of The Worcester Review, the nationally recognized journal of the WCPA. The winners also receive a cash award. The WCPA will invite all the winners to read their work at the Winners’ Ceremony and Reading on Sunday, September 26, 2021, at 3:00 p.m. The Winners’ Reading will be held at the First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street, Worcester. We hope that contest judge Pam Bernard will also be able to join us.
Contest judge Pam Bernard is a poet, painter, editor, and adjunct professor who received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Graduate Program for Writers at Warren Wilson College and BA from Harvard University. Her awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, two Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowships, and the Grolier and the Pablo Neruda Prizes in Poetry. She has published four books: three full-length collections of poetry, and most recently a verse novel entitled Esther, published by CavanKerry Press. Ms. Bernard lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.
The contest, which was established in 1973, was renamed the Frank O’Hara Prize in 2009 and continues to be generously supported as a tribute to the late poet Frank O’Hara by the O’Hara family.
Congratulations to the winners of the WCPA’s 2021 College Poetry Contest: the Elizabeth Bishop Manuscript Prize and the Etheridge Knight Performance Prize.
Christopher McClure of Anna Maria College and North Grosvenordale, CT won the Elizabeth Bishop Manuscript Prize for “All I Do is Wait” Christopher’s poem will be published in an upcoming volume of The Worcester Review, the WCPA’s print journal.
The winner of the Etheridge Knight Performance Prize is Isabella Sampino of the College of the Holy Cross and Bay Shore, NY.
Kat Gatto of Assumption University and Webster, MA received an Honorable Mention in the Manuscript Prize for “Where I Am” and an additional Honorable Mention in the Performance Prize.
McClure, Sampino, and Gatto were joined by finalist Marina Petrillo of WPI and Worcester, MA.
Many thanks to our contest judges, Nicole DiCello and Susan Roney-O’Brien. The 2021 College Contest was organized by Craig Blaise of Anna Maria College.
Join organizer and host Eve Rifkah for a virtual poetry reading on Tuesday, April 13, 2021, at 7:00 pm. In this time of pandemic, poets lack a regular forum for performing, and we lack the ability on our parts to see/hear what poets are writing.
In the virtual reading, each poet will read one poem of his/her own and one of another Worcester area or Worcester connected poet. The reading will be aired live and recorded and available through the WCPA archive to preserve our voices and a link that will have the poems read in print.
Registration is needed to join the event. Visit the Zoom registration link and fill in the form. A meeting link will be e-mailed to you.
This program is supported in part by a grant from the Worcester Arts Council, a local agency, which is supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.
The next Zoom into Poetry virtual reading will take place on Sunday, April 11, 2021, at 7:00 pm. Host Christopher Reilley welcomes Charles Coe to our virtual stage. Register via Zoom to join the virtual audience or view the reading on Facebook Live.
Charles Coe is the author of three books of poetry: All Sins Forgiven: Poems for my Parents, Picnic on the Moon, and Memento Mori, all published by Leapfrog Press. He is also the author of Spin Cycles, a novella published by Gemma Media. Charles was selected as a Boston Literary Light by the Associates of the Boston Public Library and is a former artist fellow at the St. Botolph Club in Boston and a current artist-in-residence at the Manship House in Gloucester.
Join us on Saturday, April 10, 2021, at noon for the WCPA College Poetry Contest where we will award the Elizabeth Manuscript Prize and the Etheridge Knight Performance Prize. In its thirteenth year, area colleges send representatives to compete for bragging rights, complimentary membership in the WCPA, and the publication of a poem by the manuscript winner in The Worcester Review.
We are excited to hear the poetry of Kat Gatto (Assumption College) and Marina Petrillo (Worcester Polytechnic Institute) with additional readings by this year’s judges (Susan Roney-O’Brien and Nicole DiCello) and the contest chair (Craig Blais).
Registration is needed to join the event. Visit the Zoom registration link and fill in the form. A meeting link will be e-mailed to you.
Join the WCPA tonight for the (sorta) rare 5th Tuesday Thirsty Lab. You can register via Zoom or join us on the WCPA’s Facebook page and view the program on Facebook Live.
Register for Zoom at https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwscO2vrj4qHty22fKA-grIzouMUgMLohX5.
A native of northern Minnesota, Francine Sterle has an MFA in poetry from Warren Wilson College and has furthered her studies in a variety of settings, including Oxford University, Oxford, England, the Spoleto Writers’ Workshop in Spoleto, Italy, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, and the Atlantic Center for the Arts. Her awards include multiple Pushcart Prize nominations, a Loft-McKnight Foundation Award, a Jerome Foundation Travel, and Study Grant, a Lake Superior Contemporary Writers Award, residencies at the Anderson Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, the Leighton Studios at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Blacklock Nature Sanctuary, a Career Initiative Grant from the Arrowhead Regional Arts Council as well as both a Fellowship Grant and a Career Opportunity Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board. Her poems have been published widely in such literary journals as The North American Review, Ploughshares, Poetry International, Nimrod and have been anthologized in To Sing Along the Way: Minnesota Women Poets from Pre-territorial Days to the Present, 33 Minnesota Poets, The Cancer Poetry Project, and Broad Wings, Long Legs: A Rookery of Heron Poems, forthcoming in 2022. Her poetry collections include The White Bridge (Poetry Harbor, 1999), Every Bird is One Bird (Editor’s Prize, Tupelo Press, 2001), Nude in Winter (Tupelo Press, 2006), and What Thread? (David Martinson-Meadowhawk Prize, Red Dragonfly Press, 2015).
The WCPA is thrilled to present Charles Coe in our ongoing Zoom into Poetry series, Sunday, April 11 at 7 PM. Registration is required, visit https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEufuqspjMvGdXC_8ssB2ZDpHM3lwy_ID0z, fill out the form and Zoom will e-mail you the link to join the event.
The annual Princeton Women’s Reading moves online this year and is taking place tomorrow night (3/24/2021) at 7:00 pm via Zoom. We know it can be difficult for folks to find the link to register so here it is – https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZYtce2srzMuH9FJ8Rr25HNJ9ILSglhlt8B4.
The following poets are scheduled to read – Pam Bernard, Polly Brown, Therese Carr, Devon Evans, Kathleen Fagley, Rushelle Frazier, Jennifer Freed, Joyce Heon, Emily Judkins, Maura MacNeil, Cheryl Perreault, Catherine Reed, Eve Rifkah, Susan Roney-O’Brien, Francis Sterle, Nancy Strong, Beth Sweeney, Rhett Watts, and Kate Zebrowski.
It’s a busy week in the world of virtual poetry readings with three events for you to join if you so desire.
Registration via Zoom is needed to join the actual events; you’ll find a link in each calendar event.
Reminder – join the Worcester Black History Project, Worcester Historical Museum, and the WCPA tonight at 7:00 pm for Sisters Outsider: Black Women Creating Poetry. Moderators Tina Gaffney and Lydia Fortune will host Worcester poets Rush Frazier, the Reverend Dr. Catherine Reed, Xaulanda Thorpe, Zoe Vilicic, and Ashley Wonder.
Register via Zoom to join us live; details are in the calendar event.
Our featured reader from our last Zoom into Poetry session, Jeff Walt, shared a fascinating website with us – Broadsided Press @ https://broadsidedpress.org.
Broadsided Press connects poets and visual artists in the creation of the beloved broadside. The WCPA has a long history of creating broadsides and you can find digital versions of some of them in our Broadside Archive.
What’s interesting about Broadsided Press is that they create a collaboration between art forms and then make the result available via their website for anyone to distribute.
Take a look at the broadside created for Jeff Walt’s poem, “After the Fight” at https://broadsidedpress.org/broadsides/after-a-fight/. And let us know if you have a favorite broadside.
Our video editing volunteer has delivered another recording to our YouTube channel for your enjoyment. Today we are pleased to share the wonderful reading by Jamie Samdahl. The recording was made on October 27, 2020, at the virtual Thirsty Lab Poetry Reading. Susan Roney-O’Brien hosts.
You can find the video at https://youtu.be/P8W8ayjO3Jk.
The Worcester Public Library is sponsoring a new poetry writing workshop with WCPA board member Susan Roney-O’Brien. The virtual workshop will take place on Saturday, December 5 between 11 am and noon. Here’s the workshop description:
Metaphors Be with You – And they are. You say, S/he’s a bear in the morning, not a literal statement, but figurative, a comparison that brings the image to life. Metaphors, similes, personification, apostrophe, irony…all these handy tools build fresh images through the use of our senses. Beginning with definitions and readings of poems, we’ll create our own tapestries of words, combine figurative language and literal experiences to forge “the best words in the best order.”
Two other poetry writing workshops will be held on January 2 and February 6, 2021. More information, along with registration links, once they are available.