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Salem Poetry Seminar Returns June 4-8

Includes public readings each day

Salem State University and the Salem Athenaeum announce the eighth Salem Poetry Seminar, a week-long event for students at public colleges and universities in Massachusetts. The seminar gives 13 students, selected from throughout the Commonwealth, the opportunity to study poetry writing intensively with noted teachers and authors Charlotte Gordon, J.D. Scrimgeour, and January Gill O’Neil. Scrimgeour, chair of the English department at Salem State, founded the seminar and serves as the Director.

First held in 2000, the seminar has been a profound experience for those who have participated, building long-term friendships and long-term commitments to the art of poetry.  It has also resulted in many successes. 

  • Twenty five books of poetry by seminar participants.
  • Thirteen participants have gone on to edit national magazines or found presses.
  • Over 20 students accepted into graduate programs in creative writing, including NYU, University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, University of Alaska, George Mason University, Indiana University, Lesley University, Southern Connecticut State University, and University of Massachusetts-Boston.

The seminar is free to student participants and is supported by Salem State’s Center for Creative and Performing Arts.

In addition to the classes on poetry writing, the Seminar has a public component: free readings that feature an established poet and include brief readings by seminar participants.

Tuesday, June 4, 7:30 pm
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex Street, Salem
Kevin Carey and M.P. Carver

Kevin Carey is the coordinator of creative writing at Salem State University. He has published three books – a chapbook of fiction, "The Beach People" (Red Bird Chapbooks) and two books of poetry from CavanKerry Press, "The One Fifteen to Penn Station" and "Jesus Was a Homeboˆ" which was selected as an Honor Book for the 2017 Paterson Poetry Prize. A new collection of poems, "Set in Stone" is due out in May of 2020.

MP Carver lives in Salem, Massachusetts, where she teaches creative writing as an adjunct at Salem State. She is an editor at YesNo Press and former Poetry Editor of Soundings East. Her poetry has been published in 50Haikus, Meat for Tea, and The Fox Chase Review, among others. Her chapbook, "Selachimorpha", was published by Incessant Pipe Print Works in 2015.

Wednesday, June 5, 7:30 pm
The Pickering House, 18 Broad Street, Salem
Charlotte Gordon and Jennifer Martelli

Charlotte Gordon. Charlotte Gordon’s book, "Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft and Her Daughter Mary Shelley." Earlier works include "Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Life of America’s First Poet" — a Massachusetts Honor book for nonfiction. She has also published two collections of poetry "Two Girls on a Raft" and "When the Grateful Dead Came to St. Louis." She is professor of English at Endicott College.

Jennifer Martelli. Marblehead resident Jennifer Martelli is the author of the two full-length collections, "My Tarentella" and "The Uncanny Valley," as well as two poetry chapbooks, "Apostrophe and After Bird," which won the Grey Book Press Chapbook Competition. She was the recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant for her poetry.

Thursday, June 6, 7:30 pm
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St., Salem
Salem Poetry Seminar Alumni Reading

The seminar has a devoted group of alumni who return to share their talents. Alumni have gone on to publish 25 books of poetry and to edit several national magazines. This year’s reading features writers such as Brian Brodeur, Gregory Glenn, Joey Gould, Lisa Mangin, and Enzo Surin.

Friday, June 7, 7:30 pm
Salem Athenaeum, 337 Essex St., Salem
January Gill O’Neil

January Gill O’Neil is the author of three collections of poetry, "Underlife," "Misery Islands," and "Rewilding." "Misery Islands" won the Massachusetts Book Award for Poetry in 2015. Her work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Harvard Review, Ploughshares and The New York Times Magazine. She was executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival from 2012-18, and she will be the John and Renee Grisham Writer-In-Residence at the University of Mississippi in 2019-20.


Karen A Gahagan
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