Dodge Poetry Joins Forces With Organizations from Across the U.S. to Form Historic Coalition
December 6, 2016
Twenty nonprofit poetry organizations from across the United States, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program, have formed a historic coalition dedicated to working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and communities, and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.
With support from Lannan Foundation, the poetry organizations convened last November in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to begin discussing how they might join forces to enhance the visibility of the art form and its impact on people’s everyday lives. Contrary to the public perception that interest in poetry is waning, over the past few years, these organizations have witnessed increases in the number of students participating in poetry recitation and spoken word events, visitors to poetry websites, individuals attending poetry readings, and young poets taking to social media to share their work.
Now, more than ever, these organizations believe that poetry has a positive role to play in our country. It is through reading, writing, and discussing poems that we learn about one another on our most human level, inspiring empathy, compassion, and greater understanding of one another. Poetry Coalition members believe that by collaborating on programs, they will spotlight the art form’s unique ability to spark dialogues, create opportunities to engage in meaningful conversation, discover unexpected connections with each other, and inspire new readers.
As its first public offering, throughout the month of March 2017, Poetry Coalition members will present multiple programs on the theme: Because We Come From Everything: Poetry & Migration, which borrows a line from U.S. Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera’s poem, “Borderbus.” Here are some of the Poetry Coalition members’ March plans:
The Academy of American Poets, which launched National Poetry Month, will feature a week of poems by contemporary poets from countries that have endured disaster or conflict in its Poem-a-Day series, which is distributed to more than 350,000 readers each morning via email, social media, and syndication.
Among the events, Dodge Poetry will copresent “The Birds of May,” at the Princeton Environmental Film Festival, followed by a discussion with conservationists and a poetry reading. The film documents efforts to save the endangered Red Knot during its 9,500 mile migration by restoring one of its few resting and feeding places, along New Jersey’s Delaware Bayshore, destroyed by Hurricane Sandy, and to protect its major food source: the eggs of the over-fished horseshoe crabs who migrate there each year. Poets, teachers, and students in attendance will also participate in banding the birds during the height of their migration and write about their experiences.
Poetry Coalition members invite all interested poetry organizations and groups to attend an informational session at the AWP conference in Washington, D.C. in February 2017, and to produce their own programs on the topic of migration during March 2017. To be in touch or join an email distribution list about future events and initiatives, they can email academy(at)poets(dot)org.