Powow River Poets

Before entering the Newbury Arts Association (NAA) Contest, please first acquire the guidelines first from the NAA website at www.newburyportart.org.

The Powow River Poets (PRP) is a group of poets from the area surrounding Newburyport, MA, as far north as NH and south to the Boston area. All are published, whether in magazines or anthologies, or in collections of their own; all have participated in readings; several have won awards. The thrust of the group is toward formal prosody, but several write free verse, and a few write both, as well as prose. One purpose of the group acting as a workshop is to encourage members to learn formal prosody and read the work of poets who exemplify the craft at its best. Another is to read and comment on the work of each member in order to improve the process of revision. A third is to help spread the appreciation of poetry in the community by presenting readings at various local sites, including schools, galleries, environmental centers and historic homes. And finally, the group shares information of practical value to poets, related to such matters as contest guidelines and new publications.

The PRP meets as a workshop on the second Saturday of each month, from 10:00 a.m. to about 1:00 p.m., at the Newburyport Public Library, 94 State Street. Meetings are free and open to those interested in visiting, but since the group is large--eighteen members to date--the workshop is not actively seeking new members at present. The group has no dues, no funding, no bylaws, no officers, no teacher and no application form or procedures; meetings are informal and run by Len Krisak, one of the founding members. In addition to its functions as a workshop, the PRP presents a monthly reading series, highly successful and now in its seventh year, that takes place one Wednesday evening each month at 7:30, at the Newbury-port Art Association, 65 Water Street, Newburyport. The NAA, the multiple arts center that sponsors the reading series, serves as the parent organization to the PRP, which is its literary component. The series invites noted poets to present readings and offer their books for sale at the gallery; a loyal audience of from twenty to forty generally attends each reading. Typically one or two guest poets will read, followed by an Open reading as time allows. Light non-alcoholic refreshment is served. There is no admission fee, but donations are gratefully accepted. Several events have included music, and others have been collaborations with foreign-language poets to present work both in translation and in the original language. One reading involved an imaginative recreation, in costume, of the life and work of Celia Thaxter, a local poet famous in the nineteenth century. Readings are hosted and guest poets introduced by Alfred Nicol, a PRP member. Those interested in attending PRP events are urged to consult the arts calendar listings of their local papers, or at the NAA site,  www.newburyportart.org.

The NAA also sponsors a yearly poetry contest now in its eighth year. Guidelines are available on the above website, under "NAA Annual Spring Poetry Contest." For more specific information, contact Rhina P. Espaillat, a founding member of the PRP who serves as director, at espmosk@juno.com.