Gail Thomas to Read from Odd Mercy at the 2023 Massachusetts Poetry Festival

Gail is an incredible poet and teacher. Here’s her profile: Gail Thomas has published six books, most recently Trail of Roots and Leaving Paradise. Her poems have been widely published in journals and anthologies. Among her awards are the Charlotte Mew Prize from Headmistress Press for Odd Mercy, the Narrative Poetry Prize from Naugatuck River Review, the Massachusetts Center for the Book’s “Must Read” for Waving Back, the Quartet Journal’s Editor’s Choice Prize, and Seven Kitchen Press’s chapbook award. She has been a fellow at the MacDowell Colony and Ucross, and several poems have been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. She teaches poetry with Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshops, visits schools and libraries with her therapy dog, and works with immigrant and refugee communities in Western Massachusetts. 

I will have the pleasure of reading with Gail Thomas, as well as Christine Jones, and Eric Hyett at this workshop called “Now As Mother: In the Presence of Loved Ones With Alzheimer’s” at 11:30 am at the 2023 Massachusetts Poetry Festival.

According to the National Institute on Aging, Alzheimer’s is a brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills, and it’s estimated that over six million Americans struggle with dementia as a result. To be in the presence of someone with Alzheimer’s is a lesson in appreciating the very present moment because both the past and future are unattainable to those individuals inflicted. As caregivers, we try to hold this space. As poets, we turn to language to help undertand and accept. In this group reading, followed by a Q&A, we’ll read our poetry and discuss our own experiences caring for a loved with Alzheimer’s disease.

Photo by Helena Lopes on

Come and join us in Salem, Massachusetts at 11:30 am on Saturday, May 6.

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