Mike Nelson was the 11th Poet Laureate of Portsmouth from April 2017 to April 2019
Click here to watch the full video of the laureate ceremony.
Mike has been hanging around the poetry scene of Portsmouth and the Seacoast for almost twenty years. He’s published three books, most recently Another Forty Years. Mike is the host of Beat Night at Book & Bar and the founder of Tribe Poetry Project and Senile Monk Press. He’s passionate about amplifying the creative voices in our community, especially those that struggle to be heard.
During his term, Mike chose to expand on the work he’s been doing with Tribe and bring poetry where it can help those who struggle to have their voices heard and to members of the community that may not normally have experience with poetry.
Here is a list of the work and projects that Mike completed during his term.
Starting in spring and into summer of 2017, Mike, and New Hampshire’s State Poet Laureate Alice Fogel teamed up for a poetry class called Raising Voices at The International Institute of New England in Manchester working with refugees and immigrants to New Hampshire. More info.
Through the summer of 2017, Mike organized a reading each Thursday in Prescott Park where women poets took the main stage to read the work of one of their female literary influences or read something they wrote about that woman poet in the Poets In the Park, Women Reading Women series. More info
Throughout the summer of 2017 and in the spring of 2018, Mike held a poetry class with some of the teen residents of the Chase Home for Children in Portsmouth who serve the community’s at-risk youth. More info
Since the summer of 2017, Mike has been doing a poetry class at Safe Harbor Recovery Center in Portsmouth called Writing for Recovery working with locals in the process of recovery which is ongoing every first and third Saturday of the month. More info.
During November of 2017, Mike started a quarterly poetry zine called Good Fat meant to be a representation of our extensive poetry community in the seacoast and beyond that would also include poems from the three poetry classes. Producing to date three zines and one book. More info
On April 14, 2018, at 3S Artspace, Mike held an event called The Beat Festival, featuring nine regional artists and speakers that include poets, a songwriter, a storyteller, a singer, a historian, an activist, several visual artists, a dancer and the Beat Night Band to celebrate these amazing artists and raise funds for the organizations that Mike had been doing poetry classes with over the last year. Click here to watch Binod Rai, a refugee from Nepal read at The Beat Festival his poem that he wrote in Mike and Alice’s poetry class at IINE. In total, the event raised 2,514 dollars (838 each) for the International Institute of New England, Safe Harbor Recovery Center and the Chase Home for Children. Check out the poster made by Mike Teixeira for the event and the flyer for the event with more info and our list of presenters. And here’s a link to the thank you post with fundraiser results and pictures.
During the summer of 2018 Mike organized another summer with Poets in the Park in support of Seacoast Outright and our LGBTQ community with 15 local poets over 8 weeks on the main stage in Prescott Park. More Info
And finally, starting at the end of summer last year, six months in the making and culminating with a book release event on International Women’s Day at South Church in Portsmouth, with the help of board members and others Mike released Lunation: A Good Fat Anthology of 114 Women Poets. A 150-page book featuring all women poets from the seacoast and beyond. More Info
Throughout his term, Mike continued to organize and host the monthly Beat Night Poetry series at Book and Bar now in its twentieth year.