Word Witch

Boston Poetry Marathon 2023

My Reading at My Final Year as an Organizer for the Boston Poetry Marathon



I read in the 12 o’clock hour yesterday in the 2023 Boston Poetry Marathon. My intro and reading starts at 35:35 in the Facebook video.

This year was special for a few reasons. First, my mom and my brother were there for my reading. (They were heading to Fenway for the 13-1 slaughter by Blue Jay).

And the other reason was that it was my final year as an organizer of the Boston Poetry Marathon. It is very fun to organize such a large-scale event as a poetry reading marathon featuring over 100 poets, but it is A LOT of work. I’ve called it my unpaid part-time summer job. And I am absolutely brain dead today. I probably shouldn’t even be making this post. Am I at all comprehendible? (comprehensible? see, this is what I mean.)

But it is a MAGICAL event. All ages, all geographies, all languages, all spiritualities, all heritages, all gender identities, all sexualities, all races, all ethnicities, all aesthetics, all experience levels, all poetic credentials, all poetics, all practices, all forms of poetry, all types of poets perform their work at the Boston Poetry Marathon, and everyone gets 7 minutes a-piece. It’s fortifying and nourishing on an artistic level. Once I take a couple weeks to recover all the energy it takes to put this event on, I’m left with deep appreciation and inspiration.

As the rare breed of Extroverted Poet, being an organizer of literary events the perfect type of thing for me to do–meet, welcome, engage, introduce, converse with lots of people in the purpose of connecting poets to each other, to each other’s work, and to the literary arts in general. I also have a knack for organizing chaos, and chaos it is to wrangle poets, as my friend and poet Andy Peterson called it. Meeting so many people and connecting with them in such a way is my favorite part of the whole process.

But the process does take its toll. As a Cancer-Scorpio-Scorpio, I’m an Ocean Girl. (Perhaps that’s why I’ve always felt right at home in the Ocean State, when I moved here the same summer I started organizing the BPM!) But my beach days, and a lot of other summer enjoyments, like my garden, get neglected in favor of writing email campaigns, calendaring important dates, holding planning meetings, creating the mammoth schedule, and so many other small and big things that go into making the magic happen each year.

It’s been an honor to be a part of the BPM and have this small but meaningful place in Boston poetic history. And now, I get to enjoy it as a participant in future years. And do my herb garden. And make 4x as many summer beach trips (I hope). And write more posts on Notebook Witch (finally). And help my downstairs neighbor as she gets older (that would be my mom 🙂 …). And not have a big old mental load of To Do’s on my mind from April-August. And devote more of that mental load to the 3 boards and 2 committees I belong to in Rhode Island for politics and my UU church. Ha! What can I say? I’m an extrovert and like to get involved!

If anyone in the BPM community is reading this: thank you! I felt a lot of love this weekend and for the past 7 years as an organizer and 14 years as a participant. Looking forward to the future as this marvelous entity continues on in its various iterations. ❤️🤍🖤