Letter from the Director

After 43 letters in 11 years as Director of the Project, here is my 44th and final, published in The Poetry Project Newsletter, Issue 255, April/May 2018 – Stacy

Be strong Bernadette
Nobody will ever know
I came here for a reason
Perhaps there is a life here
Of not being afraid of your own heart beating
Do not be afraid of your own heart beating

from Bernadette Mayer’s “The Way to Keep Going in Antarctica”

I’m writing this dispatch on my laptop with my feet up, sipping a blended scotch in an oversized white sweater that I found at a thrift store for $1. The forecast calls for snow tonight. In a private apartment in the East Village, the search committee charged with hiring the next Executive Director of The Poetry Project conducted their first round of interviews. One hundred people have asked me who is going to take over and what will I do next. I repeat the above lines in my head, with one edit – “Be strong Stacy.” Sometimes I was afraid of my own heart beating, but I rarely acted a fool. And if I suffered what else could I do. I loved the room with all of my might, and here we are. I sip my drink and talk with, as I always have, my future self.

– SS


Stacy Szymaszek

Stacy Szymaszek is a poet, editor and arts administrator. She is the author of the books Emptied of All Ships (2005), Hyperglossia (2009), hart island (2015), and Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals (2016), which won the Ottoline Prize from Fence Books. Her book A Year From Today is forthcoming in 2017 with Nightboat Books. She’s the recipient of a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry. She is a regular teacher for Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and mentor for Queer Art Mentorship. Szymaszek has been the Director of the Project since 2007. Before that, she served as the Project’s Program Coordinator (now called Managing Director) from 2005-2007 and curated the Monday Night Reading Series.