NJ PAC presents its 14th Biennial Poetry Festical October 11-14, 2012

Line-up to include U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine, Four-time National Grand Slam Champion Patricia Smith, Pulitzer Prize-Winner Natasha Trethewey, poet-musician Kurtis Lamkin, and award-winning Irish poet Eavan Boland making her Dodge Poetry Festival debut

Newark, NJ—The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, in collaboration with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) and the City of Newark, has announced the return of the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival to Newark from October 11 through October 14, 2012. Current U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine, four-time National Grand Slam Champion Patricia Smith, Pulitzer Prize-winner Natasha Trethewey, poet-musician Kurtis Lamkin, and Eavan Boland, making her Dodge Poetry Festival debut and widely regarded as Ireland’s greatest living woman poet, are among the dozens of poets who will participate in the 2012 Festival.

With NJPAC at its center, the Festival’s readings, performances, and conversations will take place in a “Poetry Village” encompassing various venues and cultural destinations in Newark, New Jersey, all within easy walking distance of NJPAC.

The largest poetry event in North America, the four-day Festival is a celebration of poetry as an oral/aural art and is known for the diversity and range of the poets it presents, including a remarkable roster of widely-published and award-winning writers, Nobel Laureates, individual state and U.S. Poets Laureate, and Pulitzer Prize winners. Since its inception in 1986, the biennial Festival has welcomed more than 500 poets and attracted more than 155,000 people from 43 states.

The full roster of nearly five dozen poets will be announced on April 10, 2012 during National Poetry Month. “We were elated by the overwhelmingly positive response to the move to Newark in 2010,” said Martin Farawell, Festival Director. “People loved discovering the beautiful performance spaces in NJPAC, First Peddie Baptist Memorial Church, and Trinity & St. Philips Cathedral, and learning about the downtown museums and art galleries. We’re very excited to return. The Festival has always introduced a diverse range of voices to our audience. Newark gives us the chance to introduce those poets to an even wider audience. And we get to do it while playing a small part in Newark’s renaissance. This is cause for celebration: proof that poetry really can have an impact on people’s lives, on the life of America’s third oldest city.”

Newark is New Jersey’s largest city, and is home to six major colleges and universities as well as more than a dozen cultural institutions and galleries in its vibrant downtown arts district. With NJPAC as the hub of the Festival’s activity, The Newark Museum, the New Jersey Historical Society, and the Aljira Center for Contemporary Art will serve as satellite locations for readings and events, with additional venues to be announced in April. Known for its tremendous ethnic and cultural diversity, downtown Newark is located three miles from Newark Liberty International Airport, one of the largest international airports in the United States. Downtown Newark is easily accessible by public transportation via Amtrak, New Jersey Transit, and PATH trains, and is located at the center of the New York metropolitan area.

“We are delighted to join with the Dodge Foundation and the City of Newark in hosting the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival for the second time,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO, NJPAC. “Two years ago, on four glorious days in October, the power and the poignancy of the world’s greatest poets captivated a city. There was an incredible vibe and a great sense of community. This year’s Festival promises to build on that success. We can’t wait to welcome back the many thousands of visitors to share in this celebration and experience Newark’s abundant cultural resources.”

“We are proud to welcome the Dodge Poetry Festival back to Newark,” said Newark’s Mayor, Cory A. Booker. “The festival attracts visitors and participants from across the globe who will have the opportunity to explore and contribute to the rich cultural diversity of our city. Newark has a long history of producing literary giants like Stephen Crane, Philip Roth and Amiri Baraka, and the festival continues our city’s literary tradition/history.”

Describing the overall spirit and energy of the Festival, poet-musician Kurtis Lamkin, who last participated in 2006 and is returning this October, once said, “They call it a ‘Festival, ‘ but it’s more like a carnival…and you’re the ride!” The Festival has been called “poetry heaven” by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, “a new Woodstock” by the Christian Science Monitor, and “Wordstock” by The New York Times.

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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...