Join us on Saturday, April 20 for a stroll through Downtown Northampton as we celebrate all things literary! Forbes Library and the Massachusetts Center for the Book are partnering with several downtown businesses and organizations to provide a day of author readings, poetry, local history, giveaways, and more, in celebration of Northampton’s enduring literary spirit and National Poetry Month.

Pick up an event map at any participating venue on April 20. All events are free to attend (though donations/purchases are welcome). Get at least three stickers on your map from participating venues throughout the day, then bring your completed map to Forbes Library by April 30 to be entered into a raffle to win some bookish goodies!

Event Schedule:

11:45 am – 12:45pm: Historic NorthamptonNorthampton’s Bridge Street Cemetery: Rediscovering Literary Legacies

Join Historic Northampton historian Emma John on a tour of the Bridge Street Cemetery and discover some of the authors buried there and their literary contributions. Parking is available at Historic Northampton & Bridge Street School.

Location: Bridge Street Cemetery, main gates (on Parsons Street).

1 -2 pm: Northampton Center for the Arts“What is Poetry?” Poetry Reading and Film Screening

Emceed by poet/translator Michael Favala Goldman, this event celebrates the power and glory of poetry, a form both beloved and misunderstood. After short readings of poems by a few excellent local poets, Chris Gentes will show his 2024 short film “What Is Poetry?” The film presents a conversation by four local poets about the purpose of creating poetry, the process of creating poetry, and the execution of public presentation. Donations will be gratefully accepted towards the Eli Daniel Nemetz Todd Memorial Fund, which supports writing programs at the Northampton Center for the Arts.

Location: 33 Hawley Street

1:30 – 2:30 pm: R. Michelson GalleriesStorytime at R. Michelson

Readings by children’s book authors and illustrators, Micha Archer, Jane Dyer, Grace Lin, and Rich Michelson.

Location: 132 Main Street

2:45 – 3:45 pm: Iconica Social ClubLocal Poets Read Their Favorite Poems

Join Pioneer Valley-area poets as they each read two poems: a favorite poem by a Massachusetts poet, past or present, and a poem of their own that speaks to their favorite poem in some way.

Location: 1 Amber Lane

4 – 5 pm: The RoostInto the Void, with Pioneer Valley Writers’ Workshop: A Literary Reading Featuring Writers of the Strange, Magical, and Surreal

Do you like your stories served with a dose of magic and otherworldliness, or featuring a portal, alternate universe, or other element of the Strange? Join us for a reading featuring writers who weave weird and wild tales! Hosted by PVWW Founder/Director Joy Baglio.

Location: 1 Market Street

5:15 – 6:15 pm: Progression Brewing Company Literary Trivia with Forbes Library and Mass Center for the Book

Test your literary knowledge in this casual trivia hour. Bring your own team (or we can help you team up with neighbors) and answer three rounds of questions on local authors, classics, characters, and more. There will prizes for the top scoring teams, as well as the team with the best literary name.

Stick around after trivia for live music by the Graham Peck Trio! No cover or drink minimum required (but do consider supporting the host).

Location: 9 Pearl Street

6:30 – 8 pm: SanctuaryWriting & Yoga Workshop: Yoga for Creativity with Award-Winning Poet & Yoga Instructor Sebastian Merrill

This writing and yoga workshop will include an asana practice designed to spark our creativity, followed by generative writing. We’ll cultivate a sense of wonder, intuition, and magic with various tools including meditation, bibliomancy, and tarot. This workshop is for anyone who wants tools and structure for supporting their own creative practice.

Walk-ins are welcome, but pre-registration is recommended.

Location: 150 Main Street (Thornes Marketplace, 3rd floor)

12 – 6 pm: Broadside Books Scavenger Hunt

Pick a topic from the prompt jar at checkout, then hunt through the store to find a matching book. Show your pick to a staff member to get a sticker for your event map!

Location: 247 Main Street

To save this event to iCal or Google Calendar, see our online event calendar.

Map image courtesy of Historic Northampton: Plate 3 from the Atlas of City of Northampton, Massachusetts / Main Street, Northampton, Massachusetts. Published in the Atlas of the City of Northampton, Massachusetts and Town of Easthampton, Hampshire County, Massachusetts, D.L. Miller, C.E., Philadelphia, PA: D.L. Miller & Co., 1895.