November 1, 2015

Join us for 30 Poems in November!

Guest Blogger: Jean Blakeman

Now in its 7th year, 30 Poems in November! is an important and inspiring fundraiser for Center for New Americans. Center for New Americans, headquartered in Northampton, Massachusetts, provides free English classes, citizenship assistance, and other services to the immigrant and refugee population of western Massachusetts.  It is a great organization with an offering of remarkable classes and programs.

This project depends on poets! Poets sign up to write one poem a day in November, and ask friends and families to sponsor them. The donations support the work of Center for New Americans. While poets have complete autonomy in terms of topic and form, the theme of immigration underlies the entire project. Some participating poets are immigrants who write in their native language. Some students, in the free English classes at Center for New Americans, participate and write poems in English and other languages. Some poets focus their poems on the immigrant experience, either in their own family or related to news of immigration crises around the world.

What I love about 30 Poems in November:

  • It works for the participating poets, as a structure for the writing life. Writing one poem every day for a month is daunting, challenging, inspiring.
  • It works for Center for New Americans, which depends on the generosity of donors to ensure that its programs continue to meet the needs of immigrants.
  • It works for donors, who can support the poet in their life (even if the donors don’t like poetry) while contributing to the larger community.

As 2015 chair of this fundraiser, I have talked to many poets who are concerned not about writing one poem a day (challenging as that may be), but about asking friends, family and colleagues to support their efforts. I share, from experience, that many donors appreciate the opportunity to support the cause of literacy, and celebrate the essential role of immigration in the daily life of our nation .Please join us in support of this amazing event and come to the reading on December 8, 2015. To register, visit the Facebook page, 30 Poems in November at and click the Sign Up button.

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Jean Blakeman is a volunteer at Center for New Americans. She lives and writes in Williamsburg, MA.

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