The Poetry Project

Letter from the Director

Stacy Szymaszek

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

#255 — April/May 2018