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Kickoff of HOME Poetry Series led by Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola

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Arts and Culture

This series was made possible in part by the Academy of American Poets, with funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It will culminate in the 2021 Roxbury Poetry Festival.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh and the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture, together with City of Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola, the Academy of American Poets, and Haley House Bakery Cafe, today announced the start of the HOME poetry series. The series will consist of monthly poetry readings, open mics and workshops curated by Porsha Olayiwola and hosted by poet and teaching artist Anthony Febo.

“Porsha has dedicated years to working with Boston youth, and has done an incredible job serving the City of Boston as Poet Laureate the past several years,” said Mayor Walsh. “Her commitment to bringing our communities together is so valuable during this time, and we greatly appreciate her ongoing efforts to make Boston a place where everyone can express themselves creatively.”

HOME consists of a featured reader and brief open mic every first Friday followed by a writing workshop the following Saturday morning, starting November 6. This series was supported by a grant through the Academy of American Poets Fellowship, and will culminate in a Roxbury poetry festival in June 2021.

“The theme, HOME, is born out of our current space, time, crisis, and future-shaping,” said Porsha Olayiwola. “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?”

“Porsha has had a huge impact on Boston’s arts community, and we were thrilled to see her work recognized by the Academy of American Poets through this fellowship,” said Kara Elliott-Ortega, Chief of Arts and Culture. “This is an important theme as we think through ways Boston can be more welcoming and reflective of the many communities that make up the city.”

The first poetry reading and open mic will be on November 6, 2020 at 7:30 p.m and the workshop will be on November 7, 2020 from 11:30 a.m. - 1 p.m. November’s facilitator is former Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros Georges, and the theme is "The Language of Home". Interested individuals can register for one or both events at boston.gov/poetry. 


About Porsha Olayiwola

Black, futurist, poet, hip-hop feminist, womanist: Porsha is a native of Chicago who now resides in Boston. 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 artistic director at MassLEAP, a literary youth organization. Olayiwola is an MFA Candidate at Emerson College. Porsha Olayiwola is the author of "i shimmer sometimes, too", and is the current poet laureate for the City of Boston. Olayiwola is a 2020 Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellow.