Purposefully taking poets' works out of the classroom and into the open, the Wave Books Poetry Bus Tour features an ensemble of "new energy … playful, hip, [and] intelligent" writers who will cater to the types of audiences you might find at film festivals and indie rock shows. Traveling to an unprecedented 50 cities in 50 days, September 4 through October 27, the poetry bus aims to bring 100 innovative poets, along with musicians, filmmakers and journalists, on a journey across North America. The bus itself is cutting edge--a 40-foot converted enviro-friendly biodiesel tour bus able to carry up to 38 poets at a time, and power their portable PA system, from urban landmarks like the Seattle Space Needle through Iowa small towns, a camping layover at the Wisconsin Poetry Farm--into Chicago arts centers and Canadian cities, and onto New England college campuses.
The tour will make a stop at the Mount Holyoke College campus Wednesday, September 27, from 11 am to 1 pm, at Skinner Circle. Mount Holyoke's Office of Student Programs, Center for the Environment, Revelations Poetry Organization, and the English department are sponsoring the event, which is free and open to the public.
Travis Nichols, an organizer for the Poetry Tour who will visit all 50 cities, said that the reason for the tour was simple: "There are so many amazing poets in this country that are all under the radar. I think that that's a shame. Something happens when you read a poem. There is something in a poem that is not in other things--in other art forms. It feels like people want more poetry in their lives.'' Poets Joshua Beckman, Polina Barskova, Noelle Kocot, Mary Jo Bang, Monica Youn, Lori Shine, plus a surprise guest, will bring their poetry to the Mount Holyoke community.
Headliner and veteran of the craft Joshua Beckman, has been hailed by Bookslutas "a 'hip' poet, a small-press superstar," while up-and-coming poet Noelle Kocot is described by the Village Voice as "Rilke with a sense of humor." Beckman has described "the bus tour [as] attempting to create an environment in which poets from over a huge geographical area have meaningful engagement--not only through reading and listening, but collaborating." The goal of the tour, he elaborates, is to bring the "genuine presence" of poetry to large cities, like New York, as well as to smaller venues where poetry culture is not as prevalent.