All the writers, book-sellers, readers, and listeners at the Pollard Memorial Library’s Author Round-Up at Mill No. 5 had a top-notch time yesterday. I dare one city of Lowell’s size to come up with the writers line-up that Sean Thibodeau of the Pollard put together for readings from 12 noon to 5 pm. The crowd was steady all day and swelled at times to fill the right-angle corridor near Luna Theatre and then spill into the right-sized performance room that most of us had never seen before. The literature niche was an adjunct to the big Pulp and Press-themed Bazaar that drew half-a-thousand people probably to the fourth floor of the mill, which is the epicenter of groovy Lowell. My favorite scene of the day was the yoga practitioners in yoga-gear with their custom mats squeezing through the literati hoard in the hallway on their way to the yoga stadium somewhere farther down the hall. I heard that the yoga classes are so popular that more teachers have been hired. Who knew? From the elevator entry to Luna and down into the nooks-and-crannies of Lowell’s current “It place,” people and not a few dogs, all well-behaved, made a big buzz until closing time. The authors reading earned respectable-sized audiences. Publishers, in total, sold a couple of hundred books, I’d estimate from my sales at the Loom Press table. That is a good day for a local book fair.
Lowell-linked authors checked in from far-flung precincts. Judith Dickerman-Nelson from Vermont. Michael Casey from Andover, and Sean Casey from central Mass. Matt Miller from southeast New Hampshire. Closer to home, downtown-based Al Bouchard read some new Lowell poems. Steve O’Connor brought people to the edge of their seats with an excerpt from his latest novel, “The Witch at Rivermouth,” set around Newburyport. Speaking of N’port, book artist Susan Gaylord Kapuscinski stopped by to share some of her latest book art. Masada Jones was there with her new book from Bootstrap Press, “Becoming Broken,” whose format reminds of the famous Pocket Poets series from City Lights press in San Francisco. Historian Bob Forrant read from “The Big Move,” a collection of interviews with immigrants and refugees in Lowell, a book co-edited with fellow UMass Lowell historian Christoph Strobel. Poet Mark Schorr sold and signed a bunch of copies of his latest, a Loom Press book titled “Bridges to Kerouac,” which was manufactured via the book-production machine at Harvard Bookstore in Cambridge (you insert a flash drive with the electronic file of the book and out pops a bound paperback volume: instant literature). Dick Howe Jr had the pole position in the publishers’ line and didn’t sit down all day as people asked about and bought copies of his two local history titles. Jack Dacey and Steve Anstey moved some merch’ in writers’ row. Speaking of Jacks, playwright, director, and actor Jack Neary was spotted in the crowd, as were writer Peter Eliopoulos and Kerouac scholar Roger Brunelle. Story-writer David Moloney, who is wrapping up his MFA in Creative Writing at Southern N.H. University, was on the reading roster, as was poet Jacquelyn “Jackie” Malone of Lowell, who is part of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival team with Michael Ansara. Lowell’s got something special going on on the literary front. No doubt about it. Watch for more events like this one. Thanks again, Sean Thibodeau, for pulling it all together and to the crew at Mill No. 5 for hosting us.