The biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival is North America’s largest poetry event. It was founded in 1986 and, since 2010, has taken place at NJPAC and other Newark venues. But because of the pandemic, the 18th edition of the festival, which had been scheduled for Oct. 22-25 at its usual locations, will be a “virtual,” online-only festival.
“We humans have gathered around fires to chant, dance, sing, share stories, and poems since the ice ages. It’s how we carry on,” said Martin Farawell, poetry director of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, in a press release. “We’ll just have to join around a virtual fire for this year’s Dodge Poetry Festival.”
The festival will start on Oct. 22 and may continue past the planned Oct. 25 closing date. According to the press release, “The overall format is still to be determined but is expected to encompass the Festival’s acclaimed program of readings, performances, and conversations.”
Live streaming will be free, and performances will also be available on-demand, for a “nominal” fee, according to the press release. Schools and teachers registering in advance will have full access, at no charge.
Among the poets who will participate are the current U.S. Poet Laureate Joy Harjo; former Laureates Charles Simic and Natasha Trethewey; Elizabeth Alexander and Richard Blanco (President Obama’s first and second inaugural poets, respectively); Pulitzer Prize winners Forrest Gander and Tyehimba Jess; plus Terrance Hayes, Edward Hirsch, Ellen Bass, Reginald Dwayne Betts, Marilyn Chin, Cornelius Eady, Martín Espada, Kwame Dawes, Natalie Diaz, Nikky Finney, Carolyn Forché, Vievee Francis, Linda Gregerson, Brenda Hillman, Marie Howe, Dorianne Laux, Ada Limón, Alicia Ostriker, Paisley Rekdal, David St. John and Kevin Young.
For information and updates, visit DodgePoetry.org.
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