Welcome Writers & Readers

Welcome to the first Five Ponds Creative Writing Festival at Gordon College!

This festival has been a long time coming. It’s a flowering of Gordon’s creative writing program, which launched as a concentration twenty years ago, but which has been flourishing since the 1960s through courses in poetry and fiction, scriptwriting and performance, nonfiction and writing for broadcast. The Princemere Writers Series got going in 1988 with our first guest, John Leax, but long before that we were bringing authors to Gordon to talk shop and life—writers like Madeline L’Engle, Malcolm Muggeridge, Corrie ten Boom, Peter Kreeft, and Elisabeth Elliot Gren.

Those writers and our own writing profs gave us models to emulate, strategies to employ, eyes and ears for our fledgling efforts, and assurance that we were legitimate members of a wordy club.

We hope to offer some of these again through this Five Ponds Festival.

Our theme this year is translation, a theme we’ll engage both directly and creatively as we explore how words move into and across languages. We’re delighted that our keynote speaker is Dominican-born poet Rhina Espaillat, who’ll give a talk about the challenges of translating some of Americas most cherished English-writing poets into Spanish, and then later read and discuss some of her own poetry.

Haitian-born writer Fred Edson Lafortune, along with Jean Dany Joachim, and Jonathan Bennett Bonilla, will give a plenary session on writing and translating Fred’s Creole poetry, such as appears in his book An n al Lazil. Other sessions throughout the day will feature readings, generative workshops, panel discussions, and jazz piano. You’ll have a chance to meet presenters who are working back-and-forth between English and Spanish, Italian, Greek and Korean.

Our schedule features descriptions of all of the workshops, with links to the speakers’ bios.

Many of our workshop leaders are Gordon graduates, and some others will be engaging the wider Gordon community for the first time. All of them are living the writing life in unique ways. We’re confident that you’ll appreciate their presentations, and will respect each presenter and attendee during the festival.

After visiting our ponds as a festival participant today, we hope you’ll help us ponder future festivals by answering a quick survey, which we’ll send your way.

We acknowledge here our gratitude for financial support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, and from several local cultural councils, and from the Gordon College Department of English, Language and Literature. This support made it possible for us to keep this festival free. And we’re very pleased to be collaborating with individuals from other academic institutions, including Middlesex Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, Emerson College, Baylor University, and Phillips Exeter Academy.  

We’re pleased most of all by your willingness to trust some part of a day to us. We hope you find things to stimulate, surprise and inspire you.

-Mark Wacome Stevick

-Vicki Barclay, Festival Manager

-Brenna Peterson, Marketing Manager


Five Ponds Creative Writing Festival is supported in part by grants from the Beverly, Hamilton-Wenham, Manchester, and Newburyport Cultural Councils, which are local agencies supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency. This festival received additional support through a matching grant from the MCC Projects Program, and an MCC Festivals Grant.

We gratefully acknowledge this support; these local and state grants have enabled us to offer this festival for free.


Mass Cultural Council Logo

Stay in the loop!

Get notified for upcoming events