Mass MoCA Poetry Residency: Wednesday

I started the day early with a shower and bonus blog post before heading out into the frosty morning with my wet hair, camera, and paraphernalia. I took some shots of steeples and St. Francis church on my way to breakfast at Dunkin’ Donuts. As I ate and warmed my hands with a cup of mint cocoa, I called B to check in and fill him in on the happenings here in North Adams. After thawing my hands, I went out to take more photos, heading over to Sperry Ave. where my grandparents had lived and taking some photos of the Hoosic. Next, I crossed back over to St. Francis and what was Drury High School before becoming Silvio O. Conte Middle School and is now becoming Colgrove Elementary School. Then, I went to my studio at Mass MoCA and drafted two new poems, one on the Hoosic River and one on mocha sundaes. Before any one else arrived I also had time to call my mom who helped me recall some details about Apothecary Hall on Main St.

We assembled at the studios later in the morning to welcome Tupelo Press managing editor Jim Schley. First, we did a round of workshopping with a view to what we noticed about each poem. I had particular fun with the poem I offered today, which I added to recently after letting the poem rest for a year. A new version will be forthcoming after I return home – or tomorrow if I am up at an obscure hour.

We adjourned to Lickety Split, which is the cafe at Mass MoCA, for lunch and great conversation, and then prepared for a special project conceived by Ann, one of our intrepid nine resident poets. We each chose a poem to read in the Boiler House, which is a soundscape art installation of the old boiler house for the mill. We then recorded them as we stood or sat in various locations in the Boiler House, with the sounds of the installation and other ambient noise providing a new layer to the experience. At the risk of sounding like a native New Englander, it was wicked cool! We were happy to have Jim with us to join in the fun by reading one of his poems. Jim also took our photo together. The video will be available online once our video-savvy members get it ready. Watch for the photo and link as they become available!

It was a bit chilly in the Studios, so we decided to convene in a cozy living room at The Porches where one of our poets is staying. Jim gave an interesting talk on various routes to book publication and outlined the roles of the various people and entities involved. He also showed us some of the nuts and bolts of the editing process.

By this time, it was dark and we had to think about dinner. The eight women poets set out to Gramercy Bistro, also on the Mass MoCA campus. We had a great opportunity to talk and eat and talk and talk. We had some extra excitement when Kyle checked her phone and found out she has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize! We continued visiting back at our residence in various constellations before finally heading to bed. I need to do that now, too. It’s so hard to believe that we will be wrapping up nearly all our activities tomorrow!

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Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

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