General admission for children 17 years and under is always free

Canon, Canyon, Cannon: Poetry Reading

Thursday, January 26, 2023 7 - 8:30 pm

Join us for Canon, Canyon, Cannon, an evening of poetry and performance curated by Porsha Olayiwola, Boston Poet Laureate, Gardner Museum Artist-In-Residence, and Neighborhood Salon Luminary, and featuring leading local and national artists Michelle Garcia Fresco, Charlotte Abotsi, Emmanuel Oppong Yeboah, and Paul Tran. These poets invite us to consider questions of influence and find new meaning through language and performance.



The Canon, like its name suggests, encapsulates a literary and performance canon within the realm of poetry. All invited poets erase and recreate literary and performance canons in a way that propels literature to its present and its future.

This series seeks to engage ‘canon’ and all of its portal words and their meanings: the word the canon, in the sense of defining a literary tradition. The word canyon, as in a gorge in which we explore the depth of language and ourselves. The word the cannon, as in defense, as in a sounding of the alarms and as in dismantling barriers for entry. In addition to poets exploring their own canon and its influences, invited performers have been asked to design their readings in mood with canyon or cannon.

Taking inspiration from Isabella Stewart Gardner’s boundary-defying decision to omit labels and text for artists on the walls of her Museum, this new series seeks, with each reading, to eradicate the rules defining “publishable” and “performance” poetry. These collected works and performances invite poets and audience members together to carve out new meaning for themselves.

This is the first event in a two-part series. The second program takes place on April 27.



Advance tickets are required and include Museum admission. Adults $20, seniors $18, students $13, free for members and children 17 and under.

Seating in Calderwood Hall is first come, first served. Seating begins 45 minutes before the event. Late seating is not guaranteed.


  • Click on the GET TICKETS button
  • Call the Box Office at 617 278 5156, Wednesday-Monday, 10 am-4 pm*


Face masks, worn over the mouth and nose, are required for free and ticketed events in Calderwood Hall. In line with state and local guidance, we advise anyone who is unvaccinated, and encourage anyone who feels more comfortable, to wear a mask as they explore other areas of the museum.


To request accessible or companion seating, or to inquire about other accommodations, please call the Box Office at 617 278 5156 in advance of the program.

The Museum receives operating support from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, which is supported by the state of Massachusetts and the National Endowment for the Arts.