Funded! This project was successfully funded on April 27, 2012.


The New York City Poetry Festival showcases the diversity of NYC's vast poetry community on Governors Island each July.


Poetry Groups: Blue Flower Arts, Coldfront Magazine, New York Quarterly, KGB Poetry, InDigest Magazine, DDay Productions, The Mom Egg, No, Dear Magazine, Futurepoem, Cornelia Street Graduate Reading Series, Southern Writers Reading Series, The Inspired Word, Couplet, Argos Books, Earshot, The Poetry Brothel, ADW, DrunknSailor, The Patasola Reading Series, TOTEM, Bowery Books, Red Wheelbarrow, Fireside Follies, Augury Books, Mental Marginalia, Stain, The Local Word, Loaded Bicycle, The Bow Wow @ BPC, Deadly Chaps, Gloom Cupboard, La Otra Orilla, great weather for MEDIA, Epiphany, Feminist Writer's Organization, Boundless Tales Reading Series, My Brother’s Keeper

Featured Poets: Mark Strand, Thomas Sayers Ellis, Amber Tamblyn, Valzhyna Mort, Joanna Furhman, Jennifer L. Knox, Jennifer Michael Hecht, CAConrad, Cate Marvin, Angelo Nikolopoulos, Christie Ann Reynolds, Matthew Zingg, B.C. Edwards, Amy Lawless, Anna Dunn, Peter Milne Greiner, Rachel Herman-Gross, Fay Chiang, Tsaurah Litzky, Janet Hamill, Aimee Herman, Nathan P., Gemineye, Jane Ormerod, Amy Leigh Cutler, Thomas Fucaloro

Musicians: Steven Clifford, Common Prayer

Summary of Cultural Necessity:
New York City has long been the cultural bellwether of the United States. It has been a Mecca for writers and artists from all over the world for nearly a century. Since its cultural and artistic heyday in the 1960s and ‘70s, the avenues and acceptance of artistic communities has drastically waned. These communities bring to light issues of vital importance not only to their members, but also for New York residents and visitors alike. They create avenues of intellect, introspection, political awareness and artistic communication. Fostering an open, accessible, diverse, innovative and culturally prominent literary community lies at the core of The Poetry Society of New York's mission. As poets ourselves we have found this city to be overflowing with inspiration, but sadly lacking in unification. While there are still a few entrenched poetry establishments, for many writers and artists, and even the general public, they can seem remote and inaccessible; The Poetry Society of New York aims not only to bridge these gaps, but to unify this city's poetry community and to open doors to diverse and unique artistic collaborations, and electrify and enhance arts and literature and bring poetry to new light in New York.

Creating Community:
Last summer The Poetry Society of New York dreamed up and pulled off the largest poetry festival this city has ever seen. More than thirty New York City reading series and poetry collectives collaborated to bring over one hundred and fifty poets to our festival's three stages. Our two-day festival, staged on the hidden gem of Governors Island, was honored to present such award-winning writers as Yusef Komunyakaa, Matthea Harvey, and Matthew Rohrer, but more importantly the festival gave poets and poetry lovers from all five boroughs an opportunity to hear, appreciate, and interact with poets whom they might never have had the opportunity to meet otherwise. The purpose of this festival is to liberate poets and their work from the dark corners of bars, bookstore, and coffee shops and their halogen-lit college campuses, and to bring as many NYC poets together as possible in the bright light of day to meet, mingle, collaborate and make New York City the legitimate center of the poetry world.

Facilitating Artistic Awareness, Values and Education:
This year's festival will stretch its wings even further by attempting to reach outside the previously instituted poetry communities in the city. Poetry does not exist in a vacuum and does itself no favors when its only audience is other poets. That is why this year’s festival will include an Merchants Village, where local artists, sculptors, and artisans will work on live pieces inspired by the festival’s poetry while displaying and selling their wares, and a Songwriter’s Circle, where acoustic musicians working with poetic mediums can perform. By reaching outside the established poetry communities, The Poetry Society of New York hopes to create new audiences for poetry and facilitate collaborations between poets and other artists. Contained within this year's event will also be Child's Play, a children's poetry area which will offer guided writing exercises to children and young adults and an opportunity for young writers to perform their work for an audience. By reaching out to colleges, high schools, and grade schools, the festival hopes to encourage, educate, and inspire fledgling writers of all ages to become a part of a diverse and dynamic New York poetry scene. 

Expected Outcomes:
2012’s Second Annual New York City Poetry Festival will:
a)     Facilitate the unification of the New York City poetry community
b)     Foster relationships and collaborations between New York poets and other artists
c)     Develop new audiences for New York’s literary communities
d)     Elevate the literary and artistic significance of New York’s cultural landscape
e)     Build a platform upon which children and adults can explore their poetic voices

Conclusion:With your help we can bring this dream to full fruition. The New York City Poetry Festival came to life in the summer of 2011. With only the will and the blind ambition of the festival’s founders, a dedicated group of their closest friends and allies, and the support of a local student community of interns and volunteers, New York City enjoyed the largest and most fruitful gathering of poets this city has ever seen. Help us make New York City the great cultural Bastian of our time. It is time this city stopped relying on reputation alone, broke though the walls of entrenched institutions and became the place it was destined to be, a place so sorely needed, a place so hopefully sought out by so many. 

Video Footage: Copyright DJ Dollack and Coldfront Magazine

Cover Photo: Copyright Lawrence Schwartzwald


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    13 backers

    One two-day pass to the Festival

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    One two-day pass to the festival and a free reading from a poet at The Poetry Brothel during the festival.

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    One two-day pass to the festival and membership to The Poetry Society of New York. Membership includes: a sweet, crow-shaped membership lapel pin and invitations to members-only events.

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    All previous rewards, plus a fellowship to The Poetry Society of New York, which include your lapel pin, invitations to members-only events, a New York City Poetry Festival tote bag, one free month of advertising space on The Poetry Society of New York website, and a biannual report - a delightful cocktail of news, poems, and poetry ephemera

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    All previous rewards, plus you'll be listed as one of our Sponsors on the website and other promotional material. Sponsors will be allowed access to the VIP tent at the festival and given a prime table location if they want to be vendors.

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    All previous rewards, plus you'll be listed as one of our Partners on the website and other promotional material. Partners will also be given free admission to the New York City Poetry Festival Official After Party and extremely prime table location.

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    All previous rewards, plus you will be listed as one of the Benefactors of The Poetry Society of New York and given the biggest, best table location possible. All your dreams will come true. Can we promise that? Yes!

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- (30 days)