Derby Wharf Light Box, Number 5

Salem Power: Poems from the 2014 Improbable Places Poetry Tour

Edited and with an Introduction by Colleen Michaels

Photograph of power plant ca. 2013 by Rod Kessler

This anthology presents 15 poems pulsing with a variety of forms, styles, visions, and insights from the historic July 2014 reading that marked the closing and imminent demolition of the iconic Salem, Massachusetts, power plant, a coastal landmark for 63 years. Edited and with an introduction by Colleen Michaels, director of the Writing Studio at Montserrat College of Art, Beverly, Massachusetts, and founder–coordinator of the Improbable Places Poetry Tour, the poems explore the momentous transition from high-polluting coal-burning generators and towering chimneys to the cleaner energy facility of Footprint Power.

With wit and imagination, the poets acknowledge the the vital benefits along with the deadly harms of the old power plant, recall the generations of dedicated workers, and express hopes for a clean-energy future. Likened to a “castaway’s bottle notes” by one contributor, the poems touch on wind power, the nature of grids, environmental damage, childhood memories, the 2003 New York City blackout, the transforming role of artists and writers, and more. The Improbable Places Poetry Tour, now in its 14th year, celebrates local sites by bringing vibrant contemporary poetry to interact with local communities.

Poems by:
J.D. Scrimgeour
Margaret Eckman
January Fill O’Neil
Blaine Hebbel
Elixabeth Hart
Mickey Coburn
Mary Ann Honaker
Crystal Condakes Karlberg
Susanna Brougham
Colleen Michaels
Cindy Veatch
Dawn Paul
Melissa J. Varnavas