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Friday, October 22, 2010

Poetry Friday--Boston Book Festival Poetry

Copley Square booths

This past Saturday I attended the Boston Book Festival. I was a little hesitant about traveling down to Boston after hearing that President Obama would be attending a rally at the Hynes Auditorium, which is just a few doors down from where most of the BBF venues were located. I decided that since BBF planners had estimated that 25,000 would be attending, that someone would be working to make sure that the festival wasn't going to be impacted! So, I traveled down on the T, and much to my relief, there were no problems at all with crowds.

I attended 5 sessions during the day. I started off with "Fancy Nancy" creators Jane O'Connor and Robin Preiss Glasser reading for little kids (and adults who haven't quite grown up). They read from their latest, Fancy Nancy and the Fabulous Fashion Boutique. (The new book was only released on October 12, so we don't have it yet, but we expect it to arrive soon.)

"Baseball: Writing About America’s Favorite Pastime" panel discussion

Other sessions I attended dealt with sports writing, specifically baseball, fiction, architecture, and, poetry. Surprisingly, the BBF was not prepared for the overwhelming response to a poetry reading by Edward Hirsch, Elizabeth Alexander, and Ellen Dore Watson. The venue was less than ideal, and people were turned away due to lack of space! Imagine that, turning people away from a poetry reading!

I, however, got to the event a little early and snagged a seat in the second row, right behind the poets! Each of the poets did a great job, but, I especially liked Ed Hirsch's reading. He seemed quite comfortable and natural in front of the group. He read from his latest collection, which I'm happy to say we own, The Living Fire: New and Selected Poems 1975-2010 [811.54 HIR]. I've already featured one of the poems from this book, "Branch Library," on a past Poetry Friday. It was nice to hear Hirsch read it aloud on Saturday.

Hirsch also talked about how he recently saw an animated version of one of his poems--it sounded pretty wild. Alas, I checked YouTube looking for it, but no luck.

Here's a poem from The Living Fire that Hirsch did not read aloud, but is one that I wished he had!
The Widening Sky

I am so small walking on the beach
at night under the widening sky.
The wet sand quickens beneath my feet
and the waves thunder against the shore.

I am moving away from the boardwalk
with its colorful streamers of people
and the hotels with their blinking lights.
The wind sighs for hundreds of miles.

I am disappearing so far into the dark
I have vanished from sight.
I am a tiny seashell
that has secretly drifted ashore

and carries the sound of the ocean
surging through its body.
I am so small now no one can see me.
How can I be filled with such a vast love?

We also own Elizabeth Alexander's newest book, Crave Radiance [811.54 ALE], and I'll be looking at that title next week, so come back again.

The Poetry Friday Round-Up can be found this week at A Wrung Sponge.


  1. Wonderful beach poem by Hirsch! Thank you for sharing it today.

  2. I was actually in Providence, Rhode Island--only about an hour from Boston--on the 16th. My husband was at a meeting, and I was just hanging around. I wish I had known about the festival, but I am so glad you blogged about it. Robin Preiss Glasser is going to be at a small book festival in the Washington, DC, area in November, and my two girls and I have tickets to see her. It's going to be reading/tea party/fashion show for the kids. We're looking forward to it!

  3. I love that poem! Thanks.

  4. Oh, beautiful poem. I just put this poetry book by Hirsch and the How to Read a Poem by him on my to-read list. Thanks for the recommendations!