“I do a lot of internal listening: I don’t sit down to write at a certain hour every day, the way novelists do,” she said. “When I can hear inside that something this coming through, that something wants to be written, then I listen very closely.”
Since its inception in Newburyport in 2010, The Tannery Series has sought to bring local writers, readers and lovers of literature together to celebrate the city’s cultural richness. According to Kirun Kapur, who founded the series with Dawne Shand, that goal came in response to the lack of attendance at similar readings. Kapur recalls one event attended by only 10 people, all of whom turned out to be poets who wanted to read their own work.
“It got us thinking about reading series and about who comes to them and why,” she said. “We set out to bring writers that you might find in an academic setting who might have that quality and importance in the literary world, but present them in a way that makes them fun and fresh and accessible to anybody.”
She and Shand have brought in a greater crowd of non-writers by staging theme nights with local published authors, allowing a more centered conversation on the overall theme. The greatest thanks, Kapur said, is seeing the writing picked up.
“What we love to hear after an event is, people come up to us often after an event, a few days later ... and say, ‘I’ve never been to a reading before, and look, I’ve bought Major Jackson,’ or ‘Look, I’ve bought January O’Neil,’” Kapur said. “Those are people they probably never would have come across otherwise.”
The third program in the fifth season, “Rich, Royal and Powerful” marks The Tannery Series’ first return to Newburyport since 2012. Last year, the series started hosting a number of collaborative events with the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem. It returns to PEM this Saturday with “Parts Unknown: The Challenges of Writing Across Worlds,” part of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Espaillat and Rich are also featured poets in the festival.
If you go
What: The Tannery Series presents “Rich, Royal and Powerful”
When: Today, 7 p.m.
Where: Jabberwocky Bookshop, The Tannery Marketplace, 50 Water St., Newburyport
How much: Free
More information: www.tanneryseries.com