Worcester County Poetry Association
Established 1971
Worcester County Poetry Association / PO Box 804, Worcester, MA 01613 / 508-797-4770 / wcpaboard@yahoo.com

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Great links for Joyce, Ulysses and Bloomsday!

The Story
The Rosenbach Museum & Library provides a concise summary of Ulysses, episode by episode - a great place to begin for newbies!

Joyce Images
is maintained by Aida Yared. Using historic photos, newspapers, advertising, postcards and an amazing amount of research, 1904 Dublin as Joyce experienced it
is brought to life.

Notes on Ulysses
This site, created by Michael Groden, University of Western Ontario, Canada, explains plot and characters chapter by chapter, adding interesting Homeric parallels and other commentary.

James Joyce Center
Everything Joyce and everything Bloomsday.
Wondering what they have planned for Bloomsday in Buenos Aires, Ottawa, Aukland and Vilnius? Planning a visit to Dublin? This is the site for you!

Project Gutenberg
Download Ulysses to your e-reader.

National Library of Ireland
Newly digitized and available to the public, Joyce papers including notebooks, proof pages and corresponance.

The Modernist Journals Project
Digitized journals available online, including
The Little Review serialization of Ulysses.

The Origins of Bloomsday
Learn about why June 16th will forever
be associated with Ulysses.

Have a favorite?  Send us the link.

Welcome to Bloomsday Worcester!

Main page for The Worcester Ramble with general information
and links to itineraries and photos for each year archived.

What, Who, Why, Where & When - Bloomsday Basics

Bloomsday Worcester FAQs - Just what you think it is.

Ulysses Page Finder - We're always looking for updates!

Reading Locations - Where we've been over the years.

Bloomsday Speakers - Who was here and what they said.

Films - Some titles we've enjoyed as our pre-Bloomsday events.

Links for Bloomsday, Joyce and Ulysses - Annotated!

What's With the Potatoes? - We've accumulated some stuff.

The Worcester Ramble

Bloomsday is an annual ramble where participants read through various parts of James Joyce's Ulysses.  Lots of cities around the world have been holding some sort of Bloomsday celebration for decades.  The Worcester version involves readings in several locations approximating the sites visited by the characters of the novel in their own ramble through Dublin, June 16, 1904

The day features a changing cast of characters - much like Ulysses.  Everyone is welcome to read or listen.  Some participants drop in for one or two sessions and those with more stamina (and free time) will make a day & night of it.  Although lectures and performances are incorporated into the Worcester programming leading up to June 16, Bloomsday itself is a celebration of participatory readings - and that's half the fun!

WCPA celebrates the spoken word, the written word, and the literary history of  Worcester - or makes history by starting a new tradition like the Bloomsday Worcester Ramble.  Sometimes, one of our members has a passion for a particular author or literary event like Bloomday and the entire community is welcome to join in.  We've had a lot of fun doing this over the years.  If anyone has comments about past Worcester Bloomsday celebrations, we'd be happy to post them.  Just email us!

Where & When?
We try to add new sites each year while revisiting perennial favorites like Ben Franklin's.  Our outdoor sites don't always have seating, so you might want to bring along a chair.  There are no admission fees for these sites but you have to pay for your own meals.  (Except the tea & scones - those are on Don Reid!  Buy a book instead.)  The episodes we plan to read at each site are listed.  Always check back on June 15 for last minute schedule updates! 

Joyce events, readings and
Worcester Ramble past sites:

Annie's Book Stop
Armsby Abbey
Assumption College D'Alzon Library
Bancroft Tower
Belfry Restaurant (gone)
Ben Franklin Bookstore (gone)
Bijou Cinema (long gone)
Billy Goat Beanery (gone)
Callahan Brothers Funeral Home
Cascading Water
City Hall Common
City Square Park
Coney Island Hot Dog
Dark Horse Tavern at 12 Crane (gone)
Espress Yourself Cafe
Fiddler's Green
Figs & Pigs Kitchen and Pantry
First Unitarian Church
Irish Times (gone)
Jewish Healthcare Center
McFadden's  (gone)
N.O.W. Book Group at Barnes & Noble
Nick's Bar & Restaurant
O'Connor's Restaurant
PASOW at Chatham Street (long gone)
Poetry Oasis at Cool Beans (long gone)
Ralph's Diner
River Run Gallery at 12 Crane (gone)
Rural Cemetery
Sahara Restaurant
Stanley Kunitz Childhood Home
Street Beat at Vasa Hall (gone)
Tatnuck Books-Worcester (long gone)
Tatnuck Grille
The Oaks
Tweed's Pub & Restaurant (gone)
Union Station
Vasa Hall
Worcester Art Museum Cafe
Worcester Center for Crafts
Worcester City Hall City Council Chambers
Worcester Historical Museum
Worcester Polytechnic Institute Bookstore
Worcester Public Library Frances Perkins Branch
Worcester Public Library Main Branch
Worcester Storytellers at Vasa Hall
Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Worcester Vet's Shelter

Sites we've forgotten? Let us know!

Bloomsday Worcester FAQs

How long have you been doing this?  The Worcester Ramble started up in 1997 as a project of several WCPA board members. Trevor Code is the father of the Ramble and Angela Dorenkemp bought the Irish flag we still use.  Quite a few of the original Ramblers are still active planners and participants.

Who plans the Worcester Ramble?  WCPA sponsors the event. Some time in January, a committe is formed to propose the itinerary for June 16.  We think about where we've been, where we'd like to go next and spend a lot of time thinking about what hasn't worked in the past and why.  (Bars sound good in theory but they can be very noisy and dark.)  Once we have a workable itinerary, we match the readings to the location.  And before we advertise the locations or post them to the website, we visit each site.   We also plan other activities, which vary from year to year, like films and lectures.  Then we update the website, design and print flyers, notify the press and hope for good weather. 

Can I participate if I haven't read the book?  Absolutely!  Every year, people say they will read the whole book before the next Bloomsday....but they never get around to it.  No problem.  Enjoy the celebration of language - there won't be a test. 

"Ulysses Page Finder" - What's that? Joyce didn't include chapter numbers or titles for the different sections of Ulysses. What we have are "episodes" which more or less parallel The Odyssey. Also, there are many editions of Ulysses in print. For example, Episode 4: Calypso starts on page 81 in some editions, page 54 in others.  You can print the page finder and check it against your own edition. And once you've figured out the page numbers for your edition, please share them with us and your information will be added.

Do I need to own a copy Ulysses to participate?  No, you don't need a copy - lots of folks will share their own copies with you so you can follow along or join in the reading.  And there's always the public library!  During the past few years, the complete text of Ulysses has been digitized and is available as a free download from Project Gutenberg and other sites.  You'll notice in the photos an increasing number of participants using e-readers of various kinds.

Does it cost anything? Do I need to be a WCPA member?  No and no.  Everyone is invited to participate and the places we visit do not have admission fees.   We would love to have you join the WCPA or make a donation to show your support for the organization but it isn't a requirement.  Just show up.  No cost, no registration, no strings.  You will have to buy your own food if you participate during the mealtime readings.

I have to work that day - can I just come during lunch or after work?  Yes, please stop by one of the sites during the day, even if it's just for an hour or so.  It's very informal.   We try to keep to the schedule, so you can generally find us more or less where we say we're going to be.

Need more information?  There are many good websites describing the book and the Bloomsday phenomenon.  Some are listed on this page.   If you know of a good one we should add, please let us know. 
Margaret Morrissey during a 2009 reading in the River Run Gallery at the 12 Crane Arts Complex, Southbridge, MA.
Have a suggestion for future reading sites or Bloomsday-related programs?    Let us know!
Bloomsday Speakers  Click on year for photos & more!

2007Sara Sullivan
“What’s In Leopold Bloom’s Pockets?”

2008Paige Reynolds
“Who’s the Target Audience?
Putting on a show in James Joyce’s Ulysses”

2010Lisa Fluet
“Sincerely James Joyce”

2012Dathalinn O’Dea & Andrew Kuhn 
“James Joyce, Libraries & Periodicals”

Johanna Winart
“What’s Wrong with Stephen Dedalus
and Leopold Bloom?”

Films  Click on year for photos & more!

The 1967 classic with Milo O'Shea as
Leopold Bloom.

2011James Joyce's Dublin: The Ulysses Tour

2012Paris - The Luminous Years
Toward the Making of the Modern

2017The Dead
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

What's with the potatoes?

Click the first image to begin.

Actually, it began with the Irish flag donated by Angela Dorenkamp for the first Worcester Bloomsday in 1997.  Bloomsday used to start at Ben Franklin Books on Salem Street where the flag would be hung above the door. Eventually, we started toting the flag around to every stop along the way.In 1997, the WCPA won the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Visions 2000 Award for Cultural Achievement, honoring our  Elizabeth Bishop Conference and Poetry Festival. We were given a lovely pewter bowl which was transformed into Buck Mulligan's shaving bowl in Telemachus in 1998.And so it continued for several years. WCPA brought along the Irish flag and the pewter bowl, readers showed up with lemon soap or Plumtree's Potted Meats tins. We have a portrait of Paddy Dignam to display in the years we bury him.In 2004 we even had a mass card for him, courtesy of Callahan's Funeral Home.  Paddy had an actual wake that year to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the year of his original wake.And, as with anything that's fun, we just took it further. Leopold Bloom first encounters the Hely's signmen in Lestrygonians. The image of the 'S trailing behind just seemed funny to us. In 2008, we carried Hely's to all our stops and now we just bring the  'S.For 2009 we photographed the prop that  was readily at hand: ourselves deep in the pages of Ulysses.  In 2010, we were inspired by K-Fai Steele's drawing of James Joyce photographing himself with a digital camera.2010 was celebrated with images of Joyce which traveled to each reading site.K-Fai's 2011 rendering of Leopold Bloom inspired our next theme.We turned our attention to Leopold Bloom's pockets and found a potato.It seemed appropriate to let Molly Bloom have a say in 2012 with Yes.2013 201420152016 2017 - While the key is an everyday symbol of possession, the key motif may constitute a key to the meaning of Ulysses.  (The Key in "Ulysses", Patrick Whie, 1971 in "James Joyce Quarterly")To be continued.
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