2021 Virtual Summer Poetry Festival

2021 Virtual Summer Poetry Festival, Poetry as a voice for activism,

The New England Poetry Club, Friends of Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters, and Longfellow House-Washington's Headquarters National Historic Site are pleased to announce the 2021 Virtual Summer Poetry Festival: Poetry as a Voice for Activism. This year’s festival, which begins Sunday, June 27, will take place live online and connect poetry lovers across the country with remarkable poet-activists who will read and discuss their work.

June 27 Longfellow Student Poetry Award Ceremony

The Longfellow Student Poetry Contest is an annual competition of original poetry, with categories for high school, middle school, and elementary school students.

Portrait of Alondra Bobadilla (left) wearing a coral colored shirt and a black and white portrait of Porsha Olayiwola (right) in a black shirt and light colored jacket

Photo credit: (right) Carlie Febo

July 11 Porsha Olayiwola & Alondra Bobadilla

Porsha Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the author of i shimmer sometimes, too forthcoming with Button Poetry. She is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston.

Alondra Bobadilla's poetry demonstrates how creative expression can be a powerful tool for youth to examine feelings around issues, find their voice, and speak up about the changes they want to see for their future. She was named Boston's first-ever Youth Poet Laureate in January 2020.
Portrait of Donika Kelly wearing a white shirt and glasses on a green background

Photo credit: Ladan Osman

July 18 Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly is the author of The Renunciations and Bestiary, winner of the Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award, and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She is a Cave Canem graduate fellow and a founding member of the collective Poets at the End of the World. Her poems have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and Foglifter. She is an assistant professor at the University of Iowa, where she teaches creative writing.
Black and white portrait of Tyehimba Jess wearing a cap, turtleneck, and blazer

July 25 Tyehimba Jess

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and Olio. Olio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Jess' fiction and poetry have appeared in many journals and anthologies. Jess is a Professor of English at College of Staten Island.
Portraits of Jean Dany Joachim in a white shirt and black jacket, and Danielle Legros Georges in a black jacket with flowers and paintings in the background
Jean Dany Joachim and Danielle Legros Georges

Photo credit: (Right) Jennifer Waddell

August 8 Danielle Legros Georges & Jean Dany Joachim

Danielle Legros Georges is a writer, translator, academic, and author of several books of poetry including The Dear Remote Nearness of You, winner of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Margaret Motten book prize. She was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the city of Boston, serving in the role from 2015 to 2019. Her most recent work is a book of translations from the French, Island Heart: The Poems of Ida Faubert, published by Subpress Collective in 2021.

Jean Dany Joachim is a poet, fiction-writer, and playwright. He has four published collections of poetry, Chen Plenn (2007), Crossroads / Chimenkwaze (2013), Avec des Mots (2014), and Quartier (2016). He created the Many Voices Project, inspiring conversations about race and equality. He is an adjunct professor at Bunker Hill Community College, and he serves on the Board of the New Egland Poetry Club.

Portrait of Rhina Espaillat

August 29 Golden Rose Award: Rhina P. Espaillat

This year's annual Golden Rose Award will be presented to Rhina P. Espaillat. Espaillat has published twelve full-length books, four chapbooks and a monograph on translation. Espaillat is noted for her English translations of Saint John of the Cross, as well as her book of Spanish translations of Robert Frost, Algo hay que no es amigo de los muros/Something There Is that Doesn’t Love a Wall, and her bilingual collection of Richard Wilbur translations, Oscura fruta/Dark Berries.

Her work, which comprises poetry, essays and short stories in both English and her native Spanish, and translations from and into both languages, appears in numerous journals, anthologies and websites. She has received many national and international awards. A founding member of the Melopoeia trio, Espaillat performs with poet Alfred Nicol and guitarist John Tavano, as well as with the quintet known as The Diminished Prophets.

Last updated: June 4, 2021