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HOME: Poetry workshop series

This project is made possible in part by the Academy of American Poets, with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

HOME is a poetry reading, open mic, and workshop series led by Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola. It consists of a featured reader and brief open mic every first Friday of the month, followed by a writing workshop the following Saturday morning. Workshop topics are listed below.

The theme, HOME, is born out of our current space, time, crisis, and future-shaping. What does home mean? What isn’t home? Who is lacking home? Now that we are all home so much, how do we like our homes? Ourselves? Our families? What is home, in the literal and figurative sense? Is the body a type of home? How so? Is a poem a type of home? How do we integrate this into content and craft?

HOME is curated by our current Poet Laureate, Porsha Olayiwola.  A Boston transplant and Roxbury resident, Olayiwola seeks to create a shared digital space  for Bostonians to write and share at the intersection of poetry and storytelling. 

Workshops will be held on the first Saturday of the month, from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Register for a workshop

11:30am - 1:00pm
Repeats monthly on Saturday, but only the first instance of this set, starting from February 6, 2021, until June 5, 2021
Happening Virtually
Mayor's Office of Arts and Culture
Event Type:
Poetry Reading and Open Mic Series

The poetry readings and open mics will be held on the first Friday of every month through June 2021:

Open mic information

2021-02-06T11:30:00 - 2021-02-06T13:00:00

Upcoming workshops

Upcoming workshops
About the Facilitator

Poet, activist, playwright and essayist Rachel McKibbens is a New York Foundation for the Arts poetry fellow and author of the critically acclaimed volume of poetry, "Pink Elephant" (Cypher Books, 2009.) Regarded as one of the most dynamic speakers in the country, McKibbens is a legend within the poetry slam community, noted for her accomplishments both on and off the stage. She is a nine-time National Poetry Slam team member, has appeared on eight NPS final stages, coached the New York louderARTS poetry slam team to three consecutive final stage appearances, and is the 2009 Women of the World Poetry Slam champion and the 2011 National Underground Poetry Slam individual champion. For four years, McKibbens taught poetry through the Healing Arts Program at Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan and continues to teach poetry and creative writing and give lectures across the country as an advocate for mental health awareness, gender-equality and victims of violence and domestic abuse.

About the workshop

When the world all around is calling for clear distinctions, loyalties to Self and hatred of others—smooth narratives—what greater threat exists than that voice which rejects such easy orthodoxies with their readily understood rhetoric and urges, instead, the most difficult readings, those that embrace the painfully impossible in the human heart?”

-Maria Rosa Menocal


The magic and uncertainty of memory often gives way to the fantastic, allowing our stories to inherit the dreamlike qualities of the subconscious. In this discussion, we will explore how fragments and masks (in both language and persona) allow us to push art beyond the boundaries of truth, permitting the core depths of ourselves to be revealed in their darkest, most feral forms. By examining the work of contemporary poets and visual artists, we will learn the importance of allowing the many versions of truth to push back against oppressive realities. 

Headshot of Rachel McKibbens
Headshot of Rachel McKibbens

About the Facilitator

Monica Sok is a Cambodian-American poet and the daughter of refugees. She is the author of "A Nail the Evening Hangs On" (Copper Canyon Press, 2020). Her work has been recognized with a "Discovery" Prize from 92Y. She is the recipient of fellowships from Poetry Society of America, Hedgebrook, Elizabeth George Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Kundiman, and others. Currently, Sok is a Jones Lecturer at Stanford University and teaches poetry to Southeast Asian youths at the Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants in Oakland, California. She is originally from Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

A description of the workshop will be posted here soon.

Headshot of Monica Sok
Headshot of Monica Sok

About the Facilitator

Krysten Hill is the author of "How Her Spirit Got Out" (Aforementioned Productions, 2016), which received the 2017 Jean Pedrick Chapbook Prize. Her work has been featured in The Academy of American Poets, apt, B O D Y, Boiler Magazine, Up the Staircase Quarterly, Muzzle, PANK,Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Winter Tangerine Review, and elsewhere. The recipient of the 2016 St. Botolph Club Foundation Emerging Artist Award and 2020 Mass Cultural Council Poetry Fellowship, she received her MFA in poetry from University of Massachusetts Boston, where she currently teaches. You can find out more about her work on her website.

A description of the workshop will be posted here soon.

Headshot of Krysten Hill
Photo of Krysten Hill, courtesy of Jon Beckley

About the Facilitator

Martín Espada was born in Brooklyn, New York . He has published more than twenty books as a poet, editor, essayist and translator. His forthcoming book of poems from Norton is called Floaters. Other books of poems include "Vivas to Those Who Have Failed" (2016), "The Trouble Ball" (2011), "The Republic of Poetry" (2006), "Alabanza" (2003), "A Mayan Astronomer in Hell’s Kitchen" (2000), "Imagine the Angels of Bread" (1996), and "City of Coughing and Dead Radiators" (1993). He is the editor of "What Saves Us: Poems of Empathy and Outrage in the Age of Trump" (2019). He has received the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the Robert Creeley Award, the National Hispanic Cultural Center Literary Award, an American Book Award, an Academy of American Poets Fellowship, the PEN/Revson Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship. The Republic of Poetry was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. His book of essays and poems, "Zapata’s Disciple" (1998), was banned in Tucson as part of the Mexican-American Studies Program outlawed by the state of Arizona, and reissued by Northwestern. A former tenant lawyer, Espada is a professor of English at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst..

A description of this workshop will be posted here soon.

Headshot of Martin Espada, photo courtesy of David González
Headshot of Martin Espada, photo courtesy of David González

About the Facilitator

Rajiv Mohabir is the author of "The Cowherd’s Son" (Tupelo Press 2017, winner of the 2015 Kundiman Prize; Eric Hoffer Honorable Mention 2018) and "The Taxidermist’s Cut (Four Way Books 2016, winner of the Four Way Books Intro to Poetry Prize, Finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry in 2017), and translator of "I Even Regret Night: Holi Songs of Demerara" (1916) (Kaya Press 2019, winner of the 2020 Harold Morton Landon Translation Award from the Academy of American Poets) which received a PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant Award. His memoir, ANTIMAN, won the 2019 Reckless Books’ New Immigrant Writing Prize and is forthcoming 2021. Currently he is an Assistant Professor of poetry in the MFA program at Emerson College, translations editor at Waxwing Journal.

A description of the workshop will be posted here soon.

Rajiv Mohabir headshot
Headshot of Rajiv Mohabir