Peter Payack: Cambridge's first Poet Populist!
Peter Payack, a longtime Cambridge resident and Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, UMass Lowell, and UMass Online, was elected Cambridge’s first Poet Populist in November 2007. His poem, No Free Will in Tomatoes, was sandblasted into the floor of the Davis Square T station as part of the award-winning Arts on the Line arts-in-transit project. He has published over 1,500 poems, stories, prose poems, photos and articles including multiple appearances in the New York Times, Paris Review, and Rolling Stone magazine, among others. Mr. Payack won the 1980 Rhysling Award for Best Poem in Science Fiction Poetry. He has published six nationally distributed books, the latest, Blanket Knowledge, (Zoland Books). More recently, he created Star-Poems, which are poems written on an illuminated message board on the underside of a plane. As a “Sky Artist,” Mr. Payack has been commissioned to do environmental poetry projects for The New York Avant Garde Festival, The International Sky Art Conference (MIT), The Harvard 350 Celebration, Boston’s First Night and the Cambridge River Festival.
:: Download 300 dpi press photos
:: Read the interview with Peter Payack
Looking for a one-of-a-kind, made in Cambridge gift and treat? Peter Payack has "cooked up" poetry fortune cookies. Packaged in a Chinese take-out box, are 10 fortune cookies, containing "epigrammatic micro poems" by notable Cambridge poets including Robert Pinsky, former Poet Laureate; Sam Cornish, Boston Poet Laureate; Diana Der-Hovanessian, New England Poetry Club president; and Peter Payack, in addition to many other contributors including the Cambridge Haggerty School 6th Grade. These poems will be included in the forthcoming Cambridge Community Poem. Poetry Cookie Boxes ($6 per box of 10 cookies) are available at Grolier Poetry Book Shop (6 Plympton St., Cambridge) and at the Cambridge Arts Council. For more information, please contact the Cambridge Arts Council at 617-349-4380.
The Cambridge Poetry Quest and Scavenger Hunt
Peter Payack invites everyone – school groups and individuals – to discover Cambridge’s rich poetic history with The Cambridge Poetry Quest and Scavenger Hunt. Many well-known poets such as T.S Eliot, May Sarton and Robert Frost among others have ties to Cambridge. Their traces can be found today. Visit the oldest poetry book shop in the country. Find the Cambridge park with poems engraved and attached to lampposts. Show off your poetry knowledge! The Cambridge Poetry Quest and Scavenger Hunt makes a fun activity for school groups, family and friends.
:: Download the Cambridge Poetry Quest and Scavenger Hunt questions
Boston Globe, 2/20/09, Gath'ring words, expansive, terse, to tell a Cambridge tale in verse
Boston Globe, 12/7/08, Poetry scavenger hunt underway
Boston Globe, 4/22/08, Sam Cornish and Peter Payack
Cambridge Chronicle, 4/8/08, Poet populist, meet poet laureate
Cambridge Chronicle, 3/31/08, Contribute to a community poem
Cambridge Chronicle, 12/19/07, The Poet Populist pens a poem: Santa and the Ho-Ho-Ho Zone
Harvard Crimson, 12/17/07, City Populist Spreads Love of Poetry
Boston Globe, 11/25/07, City’s poet hopes to bring verse to the people
Cambridge Chronicle, 11/13/07, City announces first poet populist