The Poetry Project at 50

14040179_1057055911050430_851549442622587982_nWelcome to the golden anniversary of The Poetry Project! The official Project came into existence 50-years ago, fueled by the need of a group of visionary poets, the good Reverend Michael Allen who welcomed them, and an improbable HEW grant with funds earmarked for a reading series, workshops, a journal, and three salaried positions (Joel Oppenheimer, Joel Sloman, and Anne Waldman). The Project had a mission to serve as an incubator and a home for poets and their audiences via these programs, which turned out to be enduring forms for community engagement.

Change in NYC is just as hyper-paced as anything else. The Project has shown a strong ability to maintain and protect what works, and change what doesn’t. Among the many things that continue to work is having the organization be staffed by working poets (also improbable!). It is my honor to be one among many poets I admire, who have contributed to the continuance of this space; and it is my privilege to work with my current team, not one of whom is ever happy to rest on the magnificent laurels of our history, but are fully revelatory in lineage. While our whole season is celebratory of this landmark year, we have a platform of special anniversary events called “GIANT NIGHT: The Poetry Project at 50”. You can find out all about the Fall GIANT NIGHT events by visiting our site calendar as well as our Facebook page.  Winter and Spring platform events will be: December 14: UMBRA: A Living Archive, March 1: The Omniscient Tape Recorder, Part 2, and March 6: Learning at the Project. This season’s celebration will culminate with a gala on April 27, 2017 to honor poet and former Project Artistic Director (+ perennial guide) Anne Waldman, whose first book title Giant Night we have borrowed in homage. Look to the next issue of the Newsletter for details, and be sure to tune into all late-breaking news by signing up for our weekly e-blast on our home page.

We’d be thrilled for you to join us as we start our celebration as multi-directional beings; looking backward, forward, all ways, all at once.

Stacy Szymaszek
Director