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Summer poetry festivals will fulfill all your needs, if your needs include popsicles, BBQ, paper-making, poets theater, music, small presses, beer, and ferry rides

By Harriet Staff

The bespectacled are gearing up for a summer of poetry! That’s right, it’s festival season. If you’re in New York, Boston, or Chicago, you’re in for a treat…or five. In order of appearance:

1. POPSICKLE: A Festival of Literary Arts

Now in its second year, POPSICKLE is a Brooklyn-based curatorial ferris wheel (yeah!), representing many of the borough’s reading series. Those include CROWD, Multifarious Array, Body Actualized, The Blue Letter, Diamond Mouth Surprise, Metro Rhythm, and Dangit I’m Thirsty. POPSICKLE is extending its reach, too–this year’s event has also got small presses and magazines in the hop. Supermachine; Ugly Duckling; Berl’s Poetry Bookshop; No, Dear; Lumberyard; Birds LLC; and Belladonna, plus plus. Featuring performances from the likes of Dorothea Lasky, Ariana Reines, Lonely Christopher, Paul Legault, Will Edmiston, and other brilliants. Oh and popsicles, drinks, and raffle! On Saturday, July 23, from 1-8PM, with music to follow. All at the Gowanus Ballroom in Brooklyn. More info here.

2. The First Annual New York Poetry Festival on Governor’s Island

This one is two days long, and purports to “unite New York City’s various poetry scenes for the first time ever.” Whoa! But it does seem that they’ve invited some of the city’s best reading series, slams, and open mics to bring their personalities to the festival’s stages. Also welcoming local artists and merchants, booksellers, home-cooked food, wine with poems on the labels, and beer! Some of POPSICKLE’s folks can be found o’er here, too, and other participants include The Poetry Project, The Bowery Poetry Club, The Stain of Poetry, EARSHOT, louderARTS, Cornelia Street Cafe Reading Series, Coldfront, The Poetry Brothel, KGB Poetry, and more. From 12PM-5PM on both Saturday, July 30, and Sunday, July 31. Free ferries to Governors Island depart from the Battery Maritime Building in lower Manhattan. More info here.

3. Boston Poetry Marathon & BBQ

Boston has got one, too, for certain. And many people seem to be traveling out for it! They tell us that the merry weekend in late July will feature 88 local and visiting poets, reading for eight minutes apiece. From Friday, July 28-Sunday, July 30. With the likes of Matvei Yankelevich, John Coletti, Dana Ward, Sarah Dowling, Filip Marinovich, Macgregor Card, Peter Gizzi, Ish Klein, Jacqueline Waters, and other luminaries. At the Outpost 186 Gallery in Cambridge. More info and schedule here.

4. The Printers’ Ball

It’s alive! Chicago’s dynamo Printers’ Ball never disappoints. A free celebration of print culture featuring thousands of magazines, books, and broadsides free of charge; live music, performances, and readings; letterpress, offset, and paper-making demonstrations; and more! At the The Ludington Building; 1104 S. Wabash Ave, Chicago, on July 29. More info here.

5. Welcome to Boog City’s 20th Anniversary!

Boog City, the infamous downtown publication and supporter of the arts, is celebrating its 20th anniversary! The festival, now in its fifth year, will feature 67 poets, 10 musical acts, and eight plays at Unnameable Books in Brooklyn, ACA Galleries, Sidewalk Café, and The Zinc Bar. Featuring readings, performances, conversations, a small press fair, a poets-theater night, and much music! Highlights include Rebecca Wolff reading and in conversation with Alan Gilbert; a night devoted to Black Radish Books; and a panel called “The Death of Irony; The Triviality of Poetry in the Face of Such Tragedy; and Other Myths of 9/11,” curated by Douglas Rothschild. From August 5 to August 9. More info and full schedule at their Facebook page here.


Posted in Poetry News on Monday, July 11th, 2011 by Harriet Staff.