Monday, April 23, 2012

4/25: Poetry reading with Sassan Tabatabai

Tabatabai in Iraqi Kurdistan in 1992 for the Christian Science Monitor
The public is invited to this free poetry reading, to begin at 6:30 on Wednesday, April 25, 2012, in Room 102 of Gasson Hall at Boston College.

Born in Tehran, Iran, Sassan Tabatabai has lived in the United States since 1980. As a poet and scholar of medieval Persian poetry, he is the author of Father of Persian Verse: Rudaki and His Poetry (Leiden University Press, 2010). He teaches humanities and Persian literature at Boston University and Boston College, is Poetry Editor of the literary journal News from the Republic of Letters, and is at present completing a doctorate in editorial studies.

Most recently, Tabatabai is the author of Uzunburun, a collection of poetry and translations published in 2011 by Pen & Anvil Press -- the publishing imprint affiliated with the Boston Poetry Meetup and its parent organization, the Boston Poetry Union.

This event is sponsored by the BC Department of Slavic & Eastern Languages & Literature. RSVP if you wish at

Saturday, April 21, 2012

2012 Cambridge Poetry Jam Marathon

A Poetry Jam hosted by Cambridge Poet Populist Toni Bee, featuring Charles Coe, Sheri J. Fife, Danielle Georges, Regie Gibson, Irene Koronas, Jason Wright, and others. Poetry across various poetic genres will be represented: traditional poetry (11am-noon), multilingual poetry (noon-1pm), slam/spoken word (1-2pm), poetry-music mash-up (2-3pm), and free verse (3-4pm).

FREE and open to the public. For information, please visit or call 617-349-4380.

Toni Bee was elected to her position by Cambridge residents in 2011. Her goal as Poet Populist is to celebrate Cambridge’s richly diverse poetry scene by working to fuse the community of poets together through events like the Cambridge Poetry Jam.  Toni Bee was born in Boston from middle-class parents, but ended up single mom and homeless. Now, she works and lives in Cambridge (Area 4). She is a writer, photographer, student at Simmons College, and mother to her ten-year-old daughter.  Toni Bee is a neighbor media journalist at Cambridge Community Television (CCTV). In 2001, she was honored by the YWCA with an “Outstanding Woman” award for her advocacy and commitment to the arts.

Call for Submissions: MOJO

We honor the history of the struggle of Black people in America, but we still want to construct our own notion of Blackness that is separate from that of our parents and grandparents.
--Derek Conrad
Editor Mignon Ariel King has written to ask that we share the news that MoJo! -- an online journal of Black and African-American women's poetry, flash memoir, and social commentary -- is now reading  submissions for the Spring/Summer Issue. Deadline: June 15, 2012. Guidelines and past issues can be found online at

NB: If you're active in the Boston literary scene, you may have recognized King's name. In addition to her work with MoJo!, she is also the host of "A Century of Black Voices",  an annual poetry reading celebrating Black History Month; the director of Hidden Charm Press (publisher of small books of poetry and memoir by Black women), and author of the Making Poetry blog.

For updates on MoJo! Writers and other Black poets of New England, follow MoJo! on Facebook.

Call for Submissions: The Poet's Quest for God

The Poet's Quest for God: 21st Century Poems of Spirituality
(cross-posted from The Wonder Reflex)

Edited by Dr. Oliver V. Brennan and Dr. Todd Swift
For Publication by Eyewear Publishing 2013-14
Deadline for submission: August 1, 2012

A trimmed version of the call for submissions:
Eyewear Publishing is planning to publish an anthology of new, mostly previously-unpublished poems, written in English, concerned with spiritual issues in this secular age, by persons of any faith, or none. Submissions will be welcomed via email as word documents, containing no more than three poems, and including contact details and a brief 100 word biographical note about the author.

One of the characteristics of our contemporary culture which is generally described as post-modern is the human search for the spiritual. The advent of post-modernity has been accompanied by the dawn of a new spiritual awakening. Many spiritual writers say that desire is our fundamental dis-ease and is always stronger than satisfaction. This desire lies at the centre of our lives, in the deep recesses of the soul. This unquenchable fire residing in all of us manifests itself at key points in the human life cycle. Spirituality is ultimately what we do about that desire. When Plato said that we are on fire because our souls come from beyond and that beyond is trying to draw it back to itself, he is laying out the broad outlines for a spirituality.

This new emphasis on and openness to the spiritual dimension of human existence which is characteristic of contemporary lived culture is accompanied by a new emergence of atheism as well as a sometimes-aggressive secularism. Perhaps the best response to this rage against belief in a Divine Power at work in the universe is a poetic one. 
The purpose of this collection is to awaken debate, create an imaginative discourse and generally open a space for religious poetic practices in the contemporary world, while at the same time refusing to delimit the horizon of the possible.
For more information, or to submit, contact Dr Swift at I certainly intend to submit, though not in an attitude of resisting secularism. My involvement in secular activism, and my impulses to write and study poetry, are for me two sides of the same coin. I recognize the stone of the world doesn't reveal any message on its surface left by its Maker: not any commandment or token of assurance, no instructions, no threat; and I take that blankness as an invitation to write my own message upon it, and to see what others have written there.

Related reading: Norman Finkelstein's On Mount Vision: Forms of the Sacred in Contemporary American Poetry.