Biennial event to feature MORE THAN three dozen renowned poets, including four U.S. Poets Laureate, Pulitzer Prize winners, and other acclaimed, award-winning and widely-published poets
Tickets go on sale Friday, April 23

Newark, NJ – From Thursday, October 7 through Sunday, October 10, the City of Newark and New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) will host the largest poetry event in North America, the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.  Tickets for the Festival go on sale beginning Friday, April 23rd (see below for complete Ticket Information and Festival Prices).  The Festival is sponsored, in part, by the Bank of America and PSEG Foundation.


The Festival

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, an initiative of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation held biennially in even-numbered years since 1986, is a celebration of poetry that immerses participants in four days of readings, conversations and performances.  Eleven of the previous twelve Festivals have been held at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey.  When it was announced by the Dodge Foundation that the 2010 Festival would be canceled due to financial restrictions, the City of Newark and NJPAC stepped forward to partner with the Foundation to ensure the event’s continuation.  The Festival’s debut in Newark is expected to attract audiences upwards of 20,000.


“The Festival’s re-birth in New Jersey’s largest city is rich with possibilities,” said David Grant, President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.  “With our main partners – the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the City of Newark itself – we share a vision for a ‘Poetry Village’ in the heart of the city’s vibrant Downtown Arts district.  We hope those who were unable to find transportation to the Festival at our previous location will take advantage of multiple opportunities to reach Newark by mass transportation, and I believe they will be excited and moved by what they experience.”


The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival has been featured extensively in four PBS television series, including Bill Moyers’ Emmy-winning, multi-part series The Language of Life and Fooling With Words.  Coined “Wordstock” by The New York Times, the Festival will feature multiple daytime events occurring simultaneously at NJPAC and in other venues throughout Newark, all within short walking distance or reached by shuttle buses (see below for Participating Venues).  In the evenings and on Sunday afternoon all events will take place in NJPAC’s 2,800 seat Prudential Hall.


“This is simply momentous in the evolution of Newark as one of the region’s leading cultural destinations,” said Lawrence P. Goldman, President and CEO of NJPAC. “We suspect that NJPAC fans and Dodge Poetry Festival fans aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive, but we hope to introduce Newark to some new visitors and to involve Newarkers intimately in this highly prestigious and hugely anticipated Festival.”


More than three dozen leading poets will participate in the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, beginning with an opening celebration on the evening of Thursday, October 7th , featuring a remarkable roster of 24 poets in a “Poetry Sampler” in NJPAC’s Prudential Hall and culminating in a poetry summit on Sunday afternoon, October 10th, featuring four U.S. Poets Laureate:  former Poets Laureate Billy Collins, Rita Dove, and Mark Strand and the current Laureate, Kay Ryan (see below for Participating Poets).


All four days of the Festival are open to the general public.  In addition, the Festival offers programs for high school students and teachers at all levels, from elementary school through college.  More than 4,200 students and 2,000 teachers from throughout the country participated in the most recent Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.


Participating Venues

In addition to NJPAC, the range of venues being considered for the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, subject to completion of the programming, include:  Aljira, a Center for Contemporary Art, Newark Museum, Newark Symphony Hall, New Jersey Historical Society, Peddie Baptist Church, Trinity-St. Phillips Church, and Robert Treat Hotel.


“We are proud that the Dodge Foundation has selected Newark and the New Jersey Performing Arts Center to host the largest poetry festival in North America.  The Dodge Poetry Festival will attract visitors from across the globe and we invite them to explore the rich cultural diversity of our City,” said Mayor Cory A. Booker. “Newark has a long history of producing literary giants like Stephen Crane, Philip Roth and Amiri Baraka. This festival will add a new chapter to that history, and will continue to manifest Newark’s status as a world-class destination for entertainment and the arts.”


Participating Poets (as of April 19)


Among the poets set to participate during the four days of the Festival, and who will be giving major solo readings from the stage of Prudential Hall at NJPAC, are four United States Poets Laureate:


  • Billy Collins (U.S. Poet Laureate, 2001-2003), who has been named a “Literary Lion” by the New York Public Library, was honored as “Poet of the Year” by Poetry Magazine in 1994 and, in 2004, was the first recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Mark Twain Award for humor in poetry.  He has participated regularly at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, most recently in 2008.


  • Rita Dove (U.S. Poet Laureate, 1993-1995), was the first African-American U.S. Poet Laureate and the youngest poet ever appointed to the post.  Her many honors include the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in poetry and the 1996 National Humanities Medal bestowed upon her in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.  She last participated at the Festival in 2004.


  • Kay Ryan (current U.S. Poet Laureate, appointed in 2008), whose numerous collections of poetry have brought her a wide range of honors and awards ranging from the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize to being named to Entertainment Weekly’s “It List.”  This marks her first Festival.


  • Mark Strand (U.S. Poet Laureate, 1990-1991), winner of the 1999 Pulitzer Prize in poetry and the author of numerous collections of poetry.  He has also been honored with the Edgar Allen Poe Prize from The Academy of American Poets.  This marks his first Festival.


Other leading poets returning to the Festival and giving solo readings include:


  • Amiri Baraka, Newark native, current Newark resident, and founder of the Black Arts movement whose work as a poet and playwright have brought him numerous honors and awards including the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Obie Award for excellence Off-Broadway.  He last participated at the Festival in 2002.


  • Martín Espada, whose eight collections of poetry have received such awards as the Paterson Award for Sustained Literary Achievement, American Library Association Notable Book of the Year, and the American Book Award.  He last participated at the Festival in 2008.


  • Galway Kinnell, recipient of the Pulitzer Prize for poetry as well as the National Book Award, the Frost Medal, and the MacArthur Fellowship, also known as the “genius grant.”  He has also served as the State Poet of Vermont.  He last participated at the Festival in 2004.


  • Sharon Olds, State Poet of New York from 1998 to 2000, has won the inaugural San Francisco Poetry Center Award, the Lamont Literary Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.  She last participated at the Festival in 2008.


Poets who are new to the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and who will be giving solo readings in Prudential Hall include:


  • Kwame Dawes, born in Ghana and raised in Jamaica, has published 13 books of poems and more than 20 of his plays have been produced over the past 25 years.  He is the director of the Calabash International Literary Festival that takes place annually in Jamaica.


  • Bob Hicok, winner of the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress and recipient of four Pushcart Prizes, Guggenheim and two National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Fellowships, his poetry has been selected for inclusion in six volumes of Best American Poetry.


  • Dorianne Laux, recipient of a Pushcart Prize, Editor’s Choice III Award, and an NEA Fellowship, is the co-author of The Poet’s Companion: A Guide to the Pleasures of Writing Poetry.


  • Dunya Mikhail, born in Baghdad, has published four collections of poetry in Arabic and two in English.  An Iraqi exile who fled her country after being placed on Saddam Hussein’s enemies list, she is a recipient of the United Nations Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing.


  • Joseph Millar has won fellowships from the NEA, Montalvo Center for the Arts, and from Oregon Literary Arts, and his poems have appeared in many national publications.


  • Marie Ponsot, nearing the age of 90, has published numerous collections of poetry and won the National Book Critics Circle Award and was a finalist for the 1999 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize for The Bird Catcher.


  • Claudia Rankine is the author of four collections of poetry and is co-editor of the anthology American Women Poets in the 21st Century: Where Lyric Meets Language.



Also joining the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival for the four days of readings and discussions will be a remarkable roster of widely-published and award-winning poets including returning poets Marjorie Barnes and Penny Harter as well as newcomers to the Festival:  Hadara Bar-Nadav, Tara Betts, Jericho Brown, Teresa Carson, Michael Cirelli, Kyle Dargan, Oliver de la Plaz, Matthew Dickman, Michael Dickman, Santee Frazier, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Kathy Graber, Tyehimba Jess, Laura McCullough, Malena Morling, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Margo Taft Stever, and Jerry Williams.

This roster of poets is current as of April 19 and will continue to evolve as programming is completed.

Ticket Information and Festival Prices

Tickets go on sale Friday, April 23rd and can be purchased by phone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC, in person at the box-office at One Center Street (open Monday-Saturday, noon to 6pm, and Sunday, noon to 5pm), or online at As they become available, information and program updates about the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival will be available at

Ticket Categories On-Sale Beginning April 23, 2010:


Weekend Pass (Saturday & Sunday)

General                        $60.00

Seniors/Teachers with ID*        $54.00

Students with ID*                    $30.00


Includes access to all Festival events on Saturday and Sunday.


Four Day Pass (Thursday evening through Sunday afternoon)

General                         $100.00

Senior/Teachers with ID*          $88.00

Students with ID*                    $50.00


Includes access to all Festival events, all days.

Ticket Categories Not On-Sale Until August 16, 2010:

Friday, Saturday or Sunday Single Full Day Admission

General                        $35.00

Senior/Teachers with ID*          $32.00

Students with ID*                    $20.00


Includes access to all Festival events on a single day only.

Friday or Saturday Daytime-Only Admission

General                        $22.00

Senior/Teachers with ID*          $20.00

Students with ID*                    $10.00


Includes access to morning and afternoon events only on Friday or Saturday.

Prudential Hall Featured Events Only (Thursday-Saturday evening)

General                        $25.00

Senior/Teachers with ID*          $22.00

Students with ID*                    $12.50


Includes reserved seat ticket for a single evening featured reading program in Prudential Hall only.  No access to morning and afternoon events on Friday or Saturday.


Events in Prudential Hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon are reserved seating only.  All other Festival events in all venues are general admission.


*Seniors are age 62 and up.  Teachers must have a valid Faculty ID.  Students must have a valid college, high school, or middle school Student ID.  The Festival is not recommended for younger students/children (though we do admit them at the Student price, whether or not their school offers IDs).



NJPAC has been designed to welcome and accommodate all individuals including patrons with mobility, hearing and visual impairments.  Large print programs are available, and all events in Prudential Hall will be CART Captioned during the 2010 Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival.  If other accommodations are required, or if you have any questions about NJPAC’s access services/features, please call 888.466.5722 (TTY 877.886.5722) no less than two weeks prior to the event.


Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation (Dodge Foundation)

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation is a New Jersey-based non-profit foundation that supports and encourages educational, cultural, social and environmental values that contribute to making our society more humane and our world more livable.

New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)

NJPAC, located in the heart of an emerging downtown Newark, New Jersey, is the sixth largest performing arts center in the United States. Home of the Grammy Award-winning New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, NJPAC has been widely cited as a catalyst in the revitalization of New Jersey’s largest city, attracting over 6 million visitors (including more than one million children) in its first twelve years of operation.

City Of Newark (Newark)

About the City of Newark, New Jersey

Newark, commonly referred to as Brick City, is the third oldest city in the United States and the largest in New Jersey, with a population of more than 280,000 people. Newark sits on one of the nation’s largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast.

With a new Administration as of July 2006, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival.  In population, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the northeast. Its six major colleges and universities are further expanding their presence. The production of affordable housing has doubled, businesses are returning and crime is going down. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission:  to set a national standard for urban transformation.

For more information on the City of Newark, please visit our website at

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Allan Dean

Allan Dean is editor, publisher, and founder of the Atlantic Highlands Herald. Published since 1999 and selected in 2000 by the Borough of Atlantic Highlands as one of their official newspapers, making...