The last day of the festival is always the saddest. Even now, more than two weeks after the festival, I have a poetry hangover from all the great headliners, workshops, and activities. It didn’t help that Sunday went differently than the Sundays of past Poetry Festivals.
In previous years, there would be workshops and readings starting in the morning, and then one major headline event in the East India Marine Hall of the PEM in the afternoon to wrap up the festival. The event would end with an announcement basically ending the festival and asking one last time for donations in order to continue having the festival run each year.
This year was different, making it even harder for me to realize the festival was, in fact, over. The morning started with the major headline event, where Editor Sara and I enjoyed Edward Hirsch discussing the art of poetry. He commented on how poetry isn’t just the relationship between the poet and the poem but also to the reader. Poetry is a way of having someone else articulate your feelings, enabling you to connect to a poet through a poem, without having to even meet the poet (although meeting poets is amazing, especially if they’re as talented as Ed Hirsch). This was the first headline event I’d attended without the poet reading from his work, but he was so captivating that I was tempted to buy his books anyway. My light wallet and the long line made that decision for me.
From there, we both headed to the Morse Auditorium downstairs to listen to the Boston Typewriter Orchestra. Yeah, that’s right. They play typewriters as musical instruments, adding singing and some acting. Many of the songs were relatable, such as “Break Time”.
As it happened, Sara and I had both signed up for the same event, “A Language of the Unknown: the Interplay of Poetry and Science,” during the last time block of events (unfortunately, Sunday is always much shorter than the other two days with only three possible events to attend, excluding the interactive activities that go on longer). But as we were passing the PEM’s Atrium, where there are usually interactive poetry activities, we noticed some art supplies consisting of scissors, glue, and words cut out from magazines. We grabbed a couple of seats at the table and started making some poems (not ransom notes), and chatted with artist Sandra Adams who was in charge of the activity. We were so invested in making poems that we ended up missing the last event! There’s something cathartic about searching for the right words and seeing where they take you, much like writing poetry except the words are already provided, you just need to put them in some sort of order.