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Meg Smith's Blog
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Writing the next wave
Topic: The Lit Life

Poetry is always struggling for a new audience. Or sometimes, any audience.

Our technology nowadays offers lots of opportunities, but also some dilemmas.

Time was, the Internet flourished with many online zines. I like many poets were supported by these publications, but many have finished into the ether of space. I suspect this is for much the same reason as the cycle of print publications with the advent of desktop publication -- the new tools made it easy, so many people did it. But for some DIY publishing mavens, life circumstances took over, or the medium could not keep up with the technology.

Or, as so often happens, there were more submissions than support from contrinbutors.

At a recent poetry conference, it was suggested that many writers have come to regard editors and publishers -- whether in online or print venues -- as noisome middlemen who see submissions through a stunted filter, or who can't escape the bias of favoring friends and colleagues. Now that blogs are so easy to create, many are simply self publishing and letting their work be juried via Google.

There is, arguably, value to both. Writers can and should use the tools available to them to make their work and their names known.

But, doing this alone doesn't offer to a writer what submitting work for consideration always has -- including a chance for peer review, as well as the opportunity to be published alongside others whose work the writer respects.

Of course, the risk of rejection is always there. That, too, is part of the process and the maturation of any writer. A writer may not agree with the editor's decision or critique, if offered. But both give pause for consideration -- was my work strong enough, clear enough, as good as I could make it?

We write for ourselves, but want our work to be appreciated by others. I for one hope that those who make the time and dedication to institute and maintain publications will always be there, to see my work, to judge it on its own merits, so that writing may begin in a place of solitude but find its voice in a place of community.


Posted by margaret-smith at 1:35 AM EDT
Thursday, 9 October 2008
Loreli at Athenian Corner
Topic: Dance Events
Tonight I'm going to see my friend Loreli dance at the Athenian Corner, in Lowell, Mass. She is an incredible Oriental dancer --- beautiful and creative, and inspiring.
If you would like to join us, why not click on the Athenian Corner
Web site to make a reservation.

Hope to see you there!

Posted by margaret-smith at 8:59 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 9 October 2008 9:03 AM EDT
Wednesday, 8 October 2008
Poetry and jazz, due north
Topic: Literary Events

Poetry and jazz seem to go together naturally. Just ask Larry Simon.

Larry Simon is the faithful host of An Evening of Poetry & Spoken Word accompanied by Live Music, a tradition north of the border in New Hampshire.

It's all happening Thursday, Oct. 16, at 8 The Press Room 77 Daniel St., Portsmouth, N.H.  There are several readers, plus an open mic, with music by The Larry Simon Trio.

For more information, call (603)-431-5186.

Posted by margaret-smith at 5:28 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, 8 October 2008 5:34 PM EDT
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
Authors have first and last word at festival
Topic: Literary Events

The town of Concord, Mass. and the city of Lowell, Mass. -- perhaps it was inevitable that they would come together in an author's festival,

Why not. They have famous authors in Concord, lots. But we have famous authors, too. Plus, Lowell is the birthplace of The literary journal, The Lowell Offering, a true labor of love of young female mill workers and a catalyst in the workers' rights movement.

Edgar Allan Poe delivered a series of papers here. Not too shabby.

 The Concord Festival of Authors celebrates the literary legacy of both communities, with events beginning Wednesday, Oct. 15 and running through Nov. 2. Most are free; a few have a nominal cost.

Jane Austen, Ralph Waldo Emerson, even Dracula will make their presence known. To learn more, visit



Posted by margaret-smith at 6:55 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 October 2008 7:02 PM EDT
Monday, 6 October 2008
Lawrence gets ready for Robert Frost Festival
Mood:  happy
Topic: Literary Events

Robert Frost can't catch a break. Even now, as he looms like a giant over American literature, he still has miles to go before he sleeps. Perhaps he never will.

Too often his poetry is either regarded as nothing but barns and birch bark and maple leaves, or so profoundly cosmic as to drag the reader by the hair down one of Stephen Hawking's galactic worm holes.

Speaking of which....cut back to circa 1950,  a time when would be poets were casting off all time honored conventions of poetry. Frost further horrified what was quickly becoming the new literary bougeoise by embracing these strictures. As he told one put-off cocktail party guest: "I revel in 'em!"

Frost left us to wrestle with his great work, among the greatest in the great Imagist school, in which places and things of certitude could be portals into things that were not: doubt, pain, regret, death, epiphany. He left us to consider what might be to some unthinkable: The disciplined poet could also be unbound, and in being so, free anyone who comes into contact with his or her work.

In the city of Lawrence, Mass., where Frost grew up, each new generation is discovering its own voice. The annual Robert Frost festival celebrates these voices as well as that of its literary patron.

See and hear for yourself at the annual Robert Frost Festival, being held this year Saturday, Oct. 25, 1 to 4 p.m. at the Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence. For more information, visit


Posted by margaret-smith at 11:51 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 October 2008 6:54 PM EDT
Sunday, 5 October 2008
Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! festival ends on a high note
Mood:  happy
Topic: Literary Events

Today marked the end of the 21st annual Lowell Celebrates Kerouac! festival, which this year honored the 50th anniversary of Kerouac's novel, 'The Dharma Bums.'

The festival is always a family reunion here in Kerouac's native city, Lowell, Mass., with friends from near and far who have come to be a part of my life over the years since I first became involved with the festival in 1992. So the end can be bittersweet as everyone goes their separate ways, to live their journeys 'on the road.'

Part of the 'bittersweet' aspect this year was David Amram's earlier-than-usual departure In recent years he has stayed for the duration of the festival, playing numerous shows and sharing his joy and graciousness with everyone. This year he had to leave early however, to play a gig at another Beat festival.

In this photo, he is cookin' up one of his special grooves with poet Lawrence Carradini at the Amram Jam at Caffe Paradiso.

Some of the many friends who came were Lee Kidd and Jessa Piaia of Squawk Coffeehouse fame; poet George Wallace, who gave a reading at this year's commemorative event at Kerouac Park; performance poet Jason Eisenberg, and many more.

This year we enjoyed good weather, another blessing since one can never predict. This year was all the magical beauty of early October in Lowell, with clear skies and a cool breeze.

When the last event was done, Larry and I went for a walk along the Merrimack River, as we often do when the festival ends, to think about Lowell in all its beauty and mystery, as Kerouac might have seen it, and the wonderment that still beats in the heart of this special city.

And now, at 11:59 p.m., Old Angel Midnight Calls!


Posted by margaret-smith at 11:59 PM EDT
Updated: Tuesday, 7 October 2008 7:03 PM EDT

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