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. ❤️🤍🖤

Word Witch

Blazing in Gold and Quenching in Purple

Emily Dickinson’s Poem Illustrated by Bridget Eileen

An Illustrated Version of Emily Dickinson’s Poem ‘Blazing in Gold,’ as Part of a Close Reading Project

Before I polished and primped my critical thesis for my MFA in Creative Writing, I blogged the content of the project. In fact, those posts were the origin of my arts and culture blog. Below is one part of my third semester critical thesis project on the concept of “a close reading of poetry” and what it entails.

In honor of the author India Holton’s latest novel, “The Secret Service of Tea and Treason” I posted some of my illustrations of this poem by Emily Dickinson’s to my Instagram, and I said I posted the whole thing to Notebooke Witch. The poem is quoted during an EXCELLENT scene in the newly released book 🤭 (IYKYK)

Blazing in Gold and quenching in Purple
Leaping like Leopards to the Sky
Then at the feet of the old Horizon
Laying her spotted Face to die
Stooping as low as the Otter’s Window
Touching the Roof and tinting the Barn
Kissing her Bonnet to the Meadow
And the Juggler of Day is gone

~Emily Dickinson

blazing in gold an quneching in purple
Blazing in gold and quenching in Purple
Leaping like leopards across the sky
Leaping like Leopards across the Sky

Then at the feet of the oldhorizon, laying her spotted face to die
Then at the feet of the old Horizon
Laying her Spotted Face to die
Stooping as low as the Otter's Window
Stooping as low as the Otter’s Window

Touching the roof and tinting the Barn
Touching the Roof and tinting the Barn

Kissing her Bonnet to the MeadowKissing her Bonnet to the Meadow

And the Juggler of Day is gone
And the Juggler of Day is gone

View the Close Reading of “Blazing in Gold” that Goes with These Illustrations

These illustrations were created in part to help with an exercise in close reading, that I did as part of my third semester critical thesis project in graduate school. The accompanying close reading can be viewed at: