NEWARK–The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation has announced the complete program of more than 100 poetry events and a full roster of poets who will perform in the 14th biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, presented in partnership with the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the City of Newark from October 11-14.
Today also marks the debut of the Dodge Poetry “app,” where users will be able, for the first time, to plan their festival schedule on their smart phones and other handheld devices. The Dodge Poetry Festival is the largest poetry event in North America. Called “Wordstock” by The New York Times, audience members have the opportunity to hear performances from and interact with dozens of the world’s foremost poets with an extraordinarily wide range of backgrounds and styles. Single day passes to the festival are now on sale at www.njpac.org and at the NJPAC box office, as are weekend and four-day passes.
Poets returning to the festival include former U.S. Poet Laureate Philip Levine (2011-12) and the newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey (2012- ), Pulitzer Prize-winner C. K. Williams, poet-musician Kurtis Lamkin, National Book Award winners Terrance Hayes and Thomas Lux, and T.S. Eliot Prize-winner Jane Hirshfield.
Among the poets making their Dodge Poetry Festival debuts this year are: Pulitzer Prize finalist Henri Cole, Chilean National Literature Prize winner Raul Zurita, Ireland’s leading woman poet Eavan Boland, California Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera, National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Fanny Howe, and Gregory Orr. Returning to the Festival for the second consecutive year are Newark resident and founder of the Black Arts Movement Amiri Baraka and National Book Award finalist Dorianne Laux.
The festival will also present a world premiere performance of selections from four-time National Grand Slam Champion Patricia Smith’s book-length sequence Blood Dazzler, about Hurricane Katrina, set to Wynton Marsalis’ “At the Octoroon Balls” string quartet and performed by members of the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.
In addition to readings and performances, all festival poets will participate in discussions and other multi-poet events. Of particular note are several sessions entitled “Reading and Conversation,” in which groups of poets will read their work and engage in a question and answer period with the audience. Other discussion topics include “Poetry and Pride,” which explores the impact of gay poets on contemporary poetry; “A Life Together,” featuring two pairs of married poets; and “Lost and Found in Translation,” with two Latin American poets and their translators discussing the challenge of preserving the original intent and feeling when a poem is translated into a different language.
Anchored by events at NJPAC, the Festival will transform downtown Newark into a “Poetry Village,” with many of the performances and readings occurring at alternate venues and cultural destinations in Newark, all within easy walking distance of the center including Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, First Peddie Baptist Memorial Church, the New Jersey Historical Society, the Newark Museum, North Star Academy, and Trinity & St. Philip’s Cathedral. At times during the festival, ten or more separate stages will offer events simultaneously for audiences from 100 to 2,000 people.
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