the annual New York City Poetry Festival
is coming soon,
a wordy way
to spend an afternoon.
The festival will take place this Saturday and Sunday on Governors Island, a vibrant space for art and scenery that recently unveiled a 30-acre park with the longest slide in the city. Governors Island, home base for other sophisticated cultural events such as the Jazz Age Lawn Party, will welcome the event now for a 6th year.
Founded by Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski, who also helm The Poetry Society of New York, this festival seeks to bring poets out of the dimly-lit rooms, coffee shops, and bars they’re normally found in and encourage them to mix, mingle, and create in a green sunlit space. By bringing so many poets and writers under one sky, they hope to foster a community and establish New York as the “rightful center of the poetry world.” They’ve presented the work of award-winning poets and beginning writers alike at the festival since 2011.In an effort to make poetry a less insular scene, the festival will also be presenting work by artists working in other mediums, such as musicians, performance artists, and installation artists creating poetry-inspired pieces. They also are engaged with local schools, and will have a kids-only poetry stage sponsored by Writopia Lab. On the flip side, there will be a beer garden with offerings from Brooklyn Brewery and for the Poetry Society members, custom cocktails from New York Distilling Company. And if you get hungry, many local food vendors will be peddling fare like crêpes, Lebanese food, and grilled cheeses.
A slew of literary publications and reading series will be sprinkling the air with their sweet words, including a publisher of handmade poetry prints that are “roughly the size of a sheet of LSD” and several groups based in the B+B range, including LES reading series Couplet and Berger and Adamski’s immersive poetry show The Poetry Brothel, currently based at House of Yes. Though the lineup does get as specific as a group of Staten Island poets who write words about the ferry and the island, local poets aren’t the only ones in attendance; there will be folks from South Florida, New Jersey, West Virginia, and a poetry journal staffed by students from around the world.Poets reading their work certainly won’t be the only thing filling out this two-day event. The Typewriter Project, last seen in Williamsburg’s McCarren Park and previously in Tompkins Square Park, is a pop-up installation that provides typewriters for pedestrians to click-clack on, offering a novel (and typo-filled) analog option to today’s default of repeatedly stabbing a touchscreen or drumming upon a keyboard, like I’m doing now. Also a product of Berger and Adamski’s productive brains, the words typed on these typewriters are broadcast online in real time through a USB link to an iPad, creating one long combined stream-of-consciousness.
If you’re not a poet, but maybe you want to see what it’s like, you can also step into the shoes of the wordsmith at an open mic.
After all those words, you might want a drink. And some air conditioning. Luckily, there will be both available at an afterparty at Fraunces Tavern Restaurant, inside what’s supposedly New York City’s oldest surviving building. The recipient of the 6th Annual Clint Eastwood Award for American Poetry will also be announced.
The New York City Poetry Festival takes place from 11am-5pm Saturday and Sunday, July 30th and 31st, at Governors Island. Afterparty will be Sunday at 7pm at Fraunces Tavern Restaurant, 54 Pearl Street, Financial District. More info here.