We are thrilled to announce our incoming Easthampton Poets Laureate: Jason Montgomery and Alex Woolner! They were nominated–and are being honored–for their powerful and prolific efforts as individual poets and also with regard to their meaningful and impactful work as collaborators through Attack Bear Press. Congratulations, Alex and Jason!
Alex and Jason founded Attack Bear Press in 2016 and are based here in Easthampton, MA. Throughout this time, Alex and Jason have consistently activated our shared, public spaces with poetry, performance, music, visual art, and larger-than-life installations. By bringing their vision and efforts to public platforms, they repeatedly create and facilitate opportunities for members of the public to access poetry in deeply meaningful and powerful ways. Through projects and initiatives like typewriter workshops at an Eastworks cafe during Easthampton Book Fest, Poetry on Demand at Old Town Hall during Art Walk, the presence of their beloved Poetry Vending Machine at Book Moon Books in the Cottage Street Cultural District, their traveling installation Calaveras de Coronavirus (which has been on view at Readywipe Gallery in Holyoke, A.P.E. Gallery in Northampton,and is currently on view at Installation Space in North Adams), and countless others, Alex and Jason have truly helped to shape and create what poetry means and can mean–here in Easthampton and throughout our region. Furthermore, Alex and Jason repeatedly create and facilitate spaces where the visions and voices of other poets, artists, and community members can shine.
City Councilor Homar Gomez will have the distinct honor of formally presenting the City proclamation to our incoming Poets Laureate on Saturday April 24, Easthampton Poetry Day, during ECA’s Spot Lot Spring Series. We encourage you all to join us and we look forward to the poetry that Alex and Jason will each be presenting, for the first time in their new roles as Easthampton Poets Laureate.
We also encourage you all to become more familiar with the projects and community initiatives of Alex, Jason, and Attack Bear Press. You can learn more about Alex, Jason, and their Collaborators here, their past and ongoing projects here and here–and you can stay up to date about current and upcoming events through their Attack Bear Press Instagram page as well.
Many thanks to the Massachusetts Cultural Council for their ongoing generous support of this program and several literary arts initiatives at Easthampton City Arts!
Many thanks, too, to the members of the Easthampton Poet Laureate Review Committee for their incredibly thoughtful navigation of this process–and, for their efforts and contributions to growing ECA’s Easthampton Poet Laureate Laureate program. The Poet Laureate Review Committee was facilitated by City Arts Coordinator, Pasqualina Azzarello and was comprised of:
Alison Murchie is the founder and organizer of Unbuttoned and Unbuttoned Presents–two Easthampton-based monthly platforms featuring poets, writers, and storytellers. Alison is also the Chair of the Easthampton City Arts Literary Committee;
María José Giménez is a poet, editor, and translator and currently serves as Easthampton’s Poet Laureate (2019-2021);
Franchesca Viaud is a bookseller at Book Moon Books and studies Creative Writing at UMASS MFA for Poets and Writers.
And finally, thank you ALL for your support of poetry and literary arts at Easthampton City Arts!
With art, heart, and a profound appreciation for poetry and our incoming Easthampton Poets Laureate,
City Arts Coordinator
Easthampton City Arts