August 20, 2013

The jubilat / Jones poetry reading series

When the Friends of the Jones contacted local poet Dara Wier about starting up a poetry reading series at the Jones several years ago, Dara knew who to turn to: Rob Casper. Founding publisher of the prominent literary journal jubilat, Rob was looking for a place to re-locate jubilat's stellar reading series from Somerville, MA.  Rob was delighted to join with the Jones to establish a local, state, & regionally attuned series that would bring to Amherst a good variety of new and established poets to read in tandem with poets who live closer to home, here in Amherst and through-out the Valley, Western Massachusetts and 5 College area.

In 2012 jubilat / Jones was honored by being named one of the 10 best reading series in New England by LitBridge, a comprehensive guidebook resource for poets and writers. In the 2012-2013 season, the series welcomed a dynamic range of new poets: Blueberry Morningsnow, Mike Young, Zach Savich, John Colletti, Noelle Kocot, Emily Toder, Lily Ladewig, Lesle Lewis, Ben Kopel, Laurie Saurborn Young, and Amanda Nadelberg.

Every jubilat / Jones poet travels to Amherst with the help of a modest $200 honorarium, which the series is able to offer through the generosity of the Friends and the Amherst Cultural Council. This amount sometimes meets (but rarely exceeds) their expenses; it is a gesture acknowledging jubilat / Jones's firm belief in the tangible value of art to our community. These readers visit us and spread their ideas, enthusiasm, and love for art, and they enrich the creative space in which we all live. Their willingness to travel from far and wide (many poets typical honoraria often runs $1000 to $5000) is a remarkable gesture of kindness and goodwill back toward the series. The beauty of the venue and the history of jubilat / Jones continues to allow us to host stellar up-and-coming poets alongside nationally established ones.

By now the series has a track-record of amazing variety and literary energies. In 2012-2013 we continued to see a steady stream of today's most exciting poets walking up the Jones stairs for Sunday afternoon sessions of poetry and conversation. Our audiences filled the beautiful Jones library room with upwards of 50 or so participants, bringing together students, community members, teachers, and people of all ages and affiliations. We look forward to continuing to be inspired by these poets and the warmth of their reception in many more upcoming years of jubilat / Jones.

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jubilat / Jones reading series, a community poetry reading series, has been sponsored by the Friends of the Jones Library and the literary journal jubilat since 2000.