Wednesday, May 21, 2014

West Caldwell Poetry Festival: A Photo Tour

The West Caldwell Poetry Festival was held on Sunday, May 18. This was the 11th year I've run this event, but this year I made significant changes to the format. It seemed like time for a change. In the past the focus was on literary journals and the event was called Poetry Festival: A Celebration of Literary Journals. Each of 12 journal editors invited two representative poets to read, so we had a total of 24 poets reading.

This year I changed the focus from journals to poets with new books. I invited six such poets. I invited journals but only eight this time as I knew I would need table space for the four book publishers I also invited. Then I structured the day into four time slots: two for readings, one for a publishers' panel, and one for a creative process panel with the six poets. I built in twenty minutes between each time slot so that visitors would have time to purchase books and journals.

The day was absolutely exhilarating. I could not have been happier with the entire event. We had a much better turnout than last year with a number of people coming for the first time. We sold more than twice as many books as we sold last year. And everyone seemed to have a good time. I only wish we'd had a bit more time to soak up even more poetry and poetry conversation.

To give you a sense of the day, here are some photos.

I welcome the audience

Priscilla Orr reads from Losing the Horizon

 Gary J. Whitehead reads from A Glossary of Chickens

Michael T. Young reads from The Beautiful Moment of Being Lost

Publishers' Panel: Anna Evans (Barefoot Muse Press), Roxanne Hoffman (Poets Wear Prada Press),
Joan Cusack Handler (CavanKerry Press), Ellen Foos (Ragged Sky Press)

Visitors peruse the journals

Visitor poets Deb Gerrish and Chuck Tripi

Teresa Carson reads from My Crooked House

Maria Mazziotti Gillan reads from The Silence in an Empty House

Visitors browse the journals and talk with editors

Creative Process Panel with Priscilla Orr, Michael T. Young, Gary J. Whitehead, 
Teresa Carson, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, and BJ Ward

Editors Christine Waldeyer, Tom Plante, and Matt Ayres

Joan Cusack Handler and Maria Mazziotti Gillan

Poets Teresa Carson, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, and BJ Ward signing books

Michael T. Young signing his new book

Poets Maria Mazziotti Gillan and BJ Ward in conversation

BJ Ward signing his new book

Cookies for everyone!

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