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A Community of Communities: Reading in Roslindale    

By  February 2, 2024 2 min read
Queen Hodge performs at Roslindale House
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Roslindale truly is a village, and no village is complete without a resident poet—or in this case, multiple poets. This 3.5-square-mile Boston neighborhood is home to an active and vibrant poetry community, and Rozzie Reads is at the heart of it. The volunteer-led initiative organizes, schedules, and promotes regular poetry readings and other events that are free and open to the public. 

“It’s not hard to find readers,” says Holly Guran, co-organizer of the committee sponsored by the Friends of the Roslindale Library. Guran is joined by Dorothy Derifield, Stephen Babcock, Maureen McElroy, Mary McCusker, and Vivienne Shalom. 

During its founding years in the early 2000s, the group would congregate at a Boston-based ice cream chain’s location—but that venue proved to be too busy and too loud. Its new home, Roslindale House, is handicap accessible, has excellent heating and cooling, and offers a built-in community to invite to programs. 

Speakers change, but the format stays the same. Events begin with two featured poets who each read for about 20 minutes. After a quick break for refreshments, attendees buy books and chat. They end with an open mic that draws poets from across the area. 

“The whole process feeds our writing and our support of each other,” says Guran. 

While this labor of love provides high-quality events for people in the area, Guran thinks that it’s the community itself that brings people back for more. Volunteers bond as they generously give their time together, and camaraderie develops among regular attendees. And even though members of Rozzie Reads are passionate about keeping it local, they regularly travel to join events hosted by other poetry groups, too: Chapter and Verse, JP Poets, and Poetry Nights at Hale have become part of the group’s extended community. 

Photo Credit: Rozzie Reads / Holly Guran. 

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