New Jersey celebrates Arts in Education Week

Posted on by Arts Ed NJ

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It’s back to school time and that means next week is National Arts in Education week. It is such a critical time to show your support for arts education in New Jersey. Arts Education creates not just artists but well rounded humans that thrive in creative workplace environments.

Now If you aren’t familiar with this national celebration here is a little background provided by our friends at Americans for the Arts.

“Passed by Congress in 2010, House Resolution 275 designates the week beginning with the second Sunday in September as National Arts in Education Week. During this week, the field of arts education joins together in communities across the country to tell the story of the impact of the transformative power of the arts in education. “

During the 2016-17 school year, more than one million students participated in an arts class representing 80 percent of all students across the state. New Jersey’s arts education is thriving, now “let’s do more.”

This year Arts Ed NJ has taken the lead in New Jersey by collecting arts education celebrations across the state. From big to small we encouraged teachers, students, organizations and communities to submit their events for our Arts Ed September Event Calendar. With this spotlight on arts education events we are encouraging engagement in and access to the arts. Simultaneously, highlighting Arts Ed Now resources and tools, which give you power to make the change in your district.

Hosts of the events will have the option to receive:

• Custom geofilter
• Facebook profile frame
• Downloadable graphics
• Access to tools and resources for the classroom
• Promotion of their event on social media and on our website
• Opportunity to bring Arts Ed Now to your events all year long.

In addition, we are co-hosting an event on September 12th called “NJ Celebrates Arts in Education Week.” All are welcome to attend this event featuring NJ State Teen Arts traveling exhibition and special performances by State Teen Artists. The reception is sponsored by NJPSA & ARTS ED NJ in collaboration with the Arts & Education Center. RSVP Today !

Not only will we be promoting events during National Arts in Education week but the celebration will continue for the remainder of the month through the Arts Ed September promotion. Celebrating arts education shouldn’t just happen on dedicated weeks or months but all year long and www.artsednow.org can show you how.

Want to join in on the fun? Go to www.artsednow.org/stories and download a Today or Yesterday sign today! Share your photo and tell your story of the impact of arts education in your life on social media and help create national visibility for arts education.

Don’t forget to use #ArtsEdNow and #BecauseofArtsEd! Let’s get NJ trending!

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Ask a Poet: SAFIA ELHILLO

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome back to our Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today, we’re getting to know Safia Elhillo!


XElhilloHey Safia! What’s new with you?
I’m enjoying the last few weeks of my “summer break” before returning to touring and teaching in the fall! Personally, I am mourning my cactus that died while I was traveling, and looking for a good curly haircut (just a trim!) in DC. Professionally, I am currently a finalist for the 2018 Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship [editor’s note: she’s since been awarded this Fellowship!], and have just received a 2018 Arab American Book Award for my collection, The January Children!

What are you currently reading?
I just finished Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi and LOVED IT. I’m about to start Terrance Hayes’ American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin and Fatimah Asghar’s If They Come For Us.

If someone sitting next to you on an airplane asked you to describe your poetry, how would you describe it?
Strange, bilingual, and only I think the jokes in it are funny.

What books of poetry/poets do you recommend to a new reader of poems?
Kingdom Animalia by Aracelis Girmay, Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah by Patricia Smith, Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson.


Safia Elhillo, Sudanese by way of Washington, DC, is the author of The January Children. She received the the 2016 Sillerman First Book Prize for African Poets and is co-winner of the 2015 Brunel International African Poetry Prize. Safia is a Cave Canem fellow and holds an MFA in poetry from The New School. She is co-editor of the anthology Halal If You Hear Me.

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Announcing Cynthia Evans as Dodge’s interim president and CEO 

Posted on by Preston Pinkett III

Cynthia Evans

On behalf of the entire board of trustees, I am pleased today to announce Cynthia Evans as the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s interim president and CEO.

With more than 20 years experience at Dodge, Cynthia, the Foundation’s chief financial officer, has the knowledge and expertise to guide the organization during this transition. She brings a deep understanding of the Foundation’s legacy and a passion for its work. We are excited that she is willing to take on this dual role as we search for a new leader.

Cynthia’s immediate priorities as interim president and CEO are to keep grantmaking and day-to-day operations moving forward, continue to build trust and improve communications with our partners, and start putting into action our new strategic plan, which focuses on an equitable New Jersey.

The Foundation’s Board and staff wish to thank Chris Daggett for his eight years of leadership and his guidance through our strategic planning process. During his tenure, Dodge continued to build on its strong reputation of support for nonprofit organizations in Arts, Education, Environment, Informed Communities and Poetry. We greatly appreciate his service to the Foundation and to the state.


PrestonPreston Pinkett III of Gladstone is chair of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation Board of Trustees and chairman and CEO of City National Bank in Newark.

 

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A message of gratitude from Chris Daggett

Posted on by Chris Daggett

 I am writing my final post as Dodge President & CEO to say thank you to all the organizations and people that Dodge has supported over the past eight years. I have greatly enjoyed working together, seeing your progress, and building new — and strengthening existing — relationships.  

Chris Daggett, Dodge president and CEO

Chris Daggett, Dodge president and CEO

Most importantly, I want to tell you how much I respect and admire the work you do, day in and day out. Few people have an appreciation for how hard you toil, too often for less money and recognition than you deserve. You humble and inspire me every day with your commitment to this great state. 

I celebrate the many successes we have had working together. It’s been a good run and an incredible experience, due largely to your many efforts great and small.  

We at Dodge are in the enviable position of having money to award in grants, and you are in the unenviable position of having to convince us to provide you with funding. It is an asymmetrical relationship, yet we strive always to be mindful of that disparity and to be discerning, fair, and transparent in our grantmaking decisions, recognizing that in the end, our resources pale in comparison to the need. Know, too, that as much as you value our financial input, we value your knowledge and dedication. We view you as partners in a collective effort to have meaningful impact. 

Toward that end, as you know, we recently completed a new strategic plan that centers on equity. The new vision, mission, and goals, which you can find here, point Dodge in a direction very different from that of our past 40 years.  

But, as yet, our strategic plan simply is words on paper. The words need to be turned into concrete actions that improve the lives of all New Jerseyans. We are being intentional about identifying inequities codified into systems by law, regulation, and common practice. Our aim is that those most disproportionately impacted have agency and opportunity to redesign and influence those systems, not through raising one group by pushing down another, but through helping all communities understand and value their interdependence. It is an enormous challenge that will take the courage and patience of every one of us. 

With the polarizing tone and substance of the current political, social, and economic discourse in the country, the achievement of an equitable New Jersey is more important than ever. The Dodge board and staff will be working hard to implement the strategic plan at the same time they are trying to help you with your own organizations’ efforts to respond to the challenges of the times. 

I hope you will embrace this new vision and provide your insights and feedback to the Foundation staff as they implement the plan. It will be vital to our collective ability to improve the state and to build community in the best sense of the word – in every block, neighborhood, and town – grounded in supportive relationships where everyone feels welcome, respected for their talents, and empowered to contribute. 

Thanks again. It has been an honor to work with all of you. 

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Ask a Poet: Jericho Brown

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome back to our Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today, we’re getting to know Jericho Brown!


 

Jericho Brown

If someone sitting next to you on an airplane asked you to describe your poetry, how would you describe it?
When people ask me what kind of poems I write, I usually reply, “Good ones.” I think it’s hard for poets to describe their own work because when we write it, we’re trying to discover a sense, a revelation…not a subject, not content. We want to see the world in a new way. My poems are about changing the lens through which we see all of the things we’ve already seen…which is to say, they’re good poems.

When did you first discover poetry? What poets made you want to write?
I have to trace it back to a mother who really couldn’t afford childcare. She would drop my sister and I off at the library whenever she had errands to run. We had no choice but to read. I don’t know if the librarians knew it or not, but they were our babysitters.

What was your experience with poetry in high school? If you wrote poetry as a teenager, who were your influences then and what did you write about?
By the time I was 10 years old I had read several of John Updike’s novels, Langston Hughes, Nikki Giovanni — so many people whose work still means so much to me. That seed was watered by my experience growing up in the African American church, which is a location of pomp and circumstance and drama and theater. I was very active in the church, a fan of my pastor’s oratory. After that, I became interested in writing as a space where you could put things you couldn’t necessarily talk about in the grocery story line, but that you knew existed. Things I began to understand that people couldn’t talk about but could be written about. When I was 16 years old, I had a high school assignment to spend a year writing a research paper. I missed school the day topics were picked, and only one was left: the confessional poets, Sylvia Plath, Robert Lowell and Anne Sexton. I spent a year reading their poems, even though I had no idea what they were talking about. Then I had to read criticism written about their poetry so I could better understand it. I began teaching myself about poetry and my own aesthetic proclivities. From that point on, I think I had the idea I would be a writer of some sort. I was really taken by the ways in which those poets made themselves vulnerable to their own work, as well as the ways in which they made it clear they were living in a landscape that was not only personal but also political. That’s exactly what I try to do every time I sit down to write a poem. I want to write poems that are not only about me, but also about the world.


Jericho Brown is the recipient of a Whiting Writers’ Award and fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Brown’s first book, Please (New Issues 2008), won the American Book Award. His second book, The New Testament (Copper Canyon 2014), won the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and was named one of the best of the year by Library Journal, Coldfront, and the Academy of American Poets. His poems have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The New Republic, Buzzfeed, and The Pushcart Prize Anthology. He is the director of the Creative Writing Program at Emory University. 

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Ask a Poet: Marilyn Chin

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome to the Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today’s featured poet is Marilyn Chin!


ChinHey Marilyn! What’s new with you?
My new book A Portrait of the Self as Nation: New and Selected Poems will be published in October, 2018. I can’t wait to read some of the poems to the Dodge audience. It’s a selection from 30 years of “activist” poetry, that is to say, I cover a lot of relevant social and political themes: identity, race relations, war, justice, feminism, poverty, immigration, biculturalism…all that important stuff. And Oh, yes, I also include poems about love, friendship, family, animals, Goddesses and all that fun stuff. What else is new? I am taking hip hop dancing classes and doing hot yoga!

When did you first discover poetry? What poets made you want to write?
When I was two years old and living in Hong Kong. My grandma used to carry me on her back and recite Chinese poetry to me. She was illiterate but had an amazing memory. She had memorized hundreds of poems and Confucian, Buddhist and folk sayings. I believe that hearing poetry very early in my life – even in an ancient Chinese dialect that I couldn’t fully understand – doomed me to a life of poetry!

Do you have a favorite Festival moment from the past?
When I performed at the Dodge Fest in 2016, a student was so into the moment that she spontaneously got out of her seat, climbed up onto the stage and sang my poem “Blues on Yellow” in a beautiful bluesy, jazzy sultry voice! She felt that this poem needed to be sung. She felt that I did not do it justice by just reciting it! The entire audience erupted with applause. Certainly, this was an exciting and humbling moment for me. I learned so much from this student – Obviously, a blues poem comes from a musical tradition and should be sung, duh! I shall cherish this moment forever.


Marilyn Chin was born in Hong Kong and raised in Portland, Oregon. She is the author of Portrait of the Self as Nation: New and Selected Poems (W. W. Norton, 2018); Hard Love Province (W.W. Norton, 2014), which won the 2015 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award; Rhapsody in Plain Yellow (W. W. Norton, 2002); The Phoenix Gone, The Terrace Empty (Milkweed Editions, 1994); and Dwarf Bamboo (Greenfiled Review Press, 1987). Her many honors include the Radcliffe Institute Fellowship at Harvard, the Rockefeller Foundation Fellowship at Bellagio, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, the Wallace Stegner Fellowship, and the PEN/Josephine Miles Award. In 2018, she was elected a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She is currently professor emerita at San Diego State University. 

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Ask a Poet: Sandra Cisneros

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome to the Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today’s featured poet is Sandra Cisneros!


XCisnerosKeith Dannemiller

Hey! What’s new with you?
I’m doing a lot of projects at the same time, so many it feels like I’m doing nothing.  I’m working on interviewing immigrants for a Ford Foundation “Art of Change” project, and this means I travel a lot more than usual, and I have to carry microphones and a recorder with me like a journalist.  It’s a lesson in humility, because I have to remind myself this is not a conversation.  My task is to do what the politicians are not doing and should be doing—listening.  I also have to take care to not project what my final project will be; theater, poetry, narrative, testimonies.  I have to remind myself to get out of the way.  That means being open to where the work takes me and not imposing my will on it.

I’m also collaborating with a composer, a photographer, and a clothing designer on various projects that involve writing, with song, with images, and on clothing.

And I have a new chapbook coming out this October with Sarabande Press, a bilingual edition of a short story, Puro Amor.  The big deal is that it includes illustrations by the author.  Me!  First time I’m publishing my artwork.

What are you currently reading?
I just finished reading Erika L. Sánchez’s Lessons On Expulsion, poems like handkerchiefs wrinkled with tears, and re-reading Dorothy Allison’s The Women Who Hate Me, whose ferocity takes my breath away.  Both books make me feel like writing, and I love books that inspire me to dash for my pen.   I also just re-read John Water’s Role Models, a book that makes me laugh out loud and again, makes me want to write essays.  He’s brave and out there, and I love that in these times when people are afraid to speak their truth.   He uncensors me!  Also, on my bedside are towers of books, essay, biography, short stories novels.  Van Gogh: The Life, by Steven Haifen and Gregory White Smith.  Whew!  It’s an incredible labor of love that easily must’ve take a decade of their lives!  And I’m re-reading The Haunting of Hill House, on the recommendation of writer Samantha Chang, but I only read it in the daytime because it’s too scary.  And poet Juan Armando Rojas Joo in Columbus, Ohio, gave me an anthology he and Jennifer Rathbun edited called Sangre Mía, Blood of Mine, poetry of the border, aptly titled because it makes your blood freeze.

What is the role of poetry in today’s world? 
Oh, I don’t think I can answer that.  But I can say what the role of poetry is FOR ME.  For me poetry is the room in the house of the spirit to say whatever I want.  This is especially important as a woman, because I’ve had to work my whole life to gain a public voice.  Poetry is a space for me to discover myself.  And what I discover isn’t always flattering, but it’s always illuminating.

Tell us about your favorite experience reading for an audience. 
I once read in Saratoga, New York, to an audience equally divided among folks who only spoke English and folks who only spoke Spanish.  I realized this as I began, because, luckily I asked the audience before beginning.  Fortunately, I’m good at improvising, so I began by singing a song in Spanish, a real torch song anyone could understand even if you didn’t speak Spanish.  Then I went back and forth in English and Spanish.  It was exhausting, like playing ping pong by myself.  But it was also thrilling!

What is something miscellaneous from your life that you would recommend to other people? It could be a person, a habit, an idea, anything that brings you happiness right now that you would like to recommend.
I recommend that folks use sunrise or sunset as a bell to remind us to forgive everyone who bugs us, to remember to ask forgiveness of the same folks, because for sure we bug the hell out of them, and finally to forgive ourselves.  This is a good practice even and especially if you don’t feel like forgiving.  Little by little it starts to sink in and work, but you have to practice it on a daily basis.


Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist, whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and book awards nationally and internationally, and most recently Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award and the National Medal of the Arts, awarded to her by President Obama in 2016. The House on Mango Street has sold over five million copies, been translated into over twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation. Founder of awards and foundations that serve writers and a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico, Sandra Cisneros earns her living by her pen.

Photo Credit: Keith Dannemiller

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Ask a Poet: Jan Beatty

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome to the Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today, we’re talking with Jan Beatty


XBeattyHey Jan! What’s new with you?
I recently found out that I won the 2018 Paterson Poetry Prize for my book, Jackknife: New and Selected Poems. I’ve been directing the MFA program at Carlow University, and we’ve just come back from Dublin for our 12-day residency, which was terrific. With the summer break, I’ve been working on a new book and submitting a chapbook manuscript—but it’s the time for reading, the ocean, the mountains that are giving me that precious door to writing which is the key to everything.

When did you first discover poetry? What poets made you want to write?
I’ve written poems since I can remember, and I won the poetry contest in first grade for a poem about floating away on a cloud. As time goes on, I realize that I’m still writing poems about escape. I wrote all the bad break-up poems in locked diaries that I hid under my bed in high school. But, I started studying and writing seriously in the early 80’s. The poets who first made me want to write were Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Phillip Levine, and Gerald Stern.

Have you ever written anything you were afraid to share?
I have written many things that I was afraid to share. I was also afraid to think about them, to feel them, and to write them down. I think that these have become some of my strongest poems. My students and I talk about this idea of writing what scares you—it takes courage to be a poet, and more courage to share those poems. Yet, there is so much energy around what is withheld. What is it that we’re really afraid of? Judgment? Rejection? Hurting someone with our words? These are necessary things to process and consider, yet we need to push through moments of fear. As poets, it’s part of our job to dig deep into emotion and to surface with hard-fought material. I’m still working to write the things that scare me, the things that I’m afraid to share.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Dodge Poetry Festival?
I’m looking forward to high school day. The energy of that day is mind-blowing, with students from all over the country who are wild for poetry! At my last Dodge Festival, I was lucky to read to students, along with the poets Richard Blanco and Robert Pinsky, and I was stunned by the raw enthusiasm in the concert hall. All during the festival, I had memorable moments of conversation with students—on the sidewalk outside venues, in the hallways, in Q&A sessions, or just running into students on the way to lunch or dinner. Those unscripted, unexpected conversations were some of the best moments of the festival for me. I’m looking forward to meeting more students and maybe seeing some of the same faces from years before.


Jan Beatty’s fifth full-length book, Jackknife: New and Collected Poemswas published by the University of Pittsburgh Press and won the 2018 Paterson Prize. Her last book, The Switching/Yard, was named one of 30 New Books That Will Help You Rediscover Poetry by Library Journal. The Huffington Post named her one of ten women writers for “required reading.” Her poem, “Shooter” was featured in a paper delivered in Paris by scholar Mary Kate Azcuy: “Jan Beatty’s ‘Shooter,’ A Controversy For Feminist & Gender Politics.” Other books include Red SugarBoneshaker, and Mad River, winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, published by the University of Pittsburgh Press. For twenty-five years, Beatty was host and producer of Prosodya public radio show on NPR affiliate WESA-FM featuring the work of national writers. Beatty worked as a waitress for fifteen years, and as a welfare caseworker, abortion counselor, and a social worker and teacher in maximum-security prisons. She is the managing editor of MadBooks, a small press that published a series of books and chapbooks by women writers. She directs the creative writing program at Carlow University, where she runs the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops and directs the MFA program.  

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Ask a Poet: Henri Cole

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome to the Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today, we’re spending some time with Henri Cole!


 

HC1Hey Henri! What’s new with you?
I have just published a hybrid memoir [Orphic Paris] about my time in Paris. By “hybrid,” I mean that the book combines journal writing, prose poetry, and photography. On a more personal level, I have been living in California near the desert which I love–not the season of fires, but the extreme beauty of the Earth.

What are you currently reading?
I read a lot, like a snake eating mice. I loved Eileen Myles’s memoir Afterglow, about her beloved dog Rosie. She is marvelously original. Also, I just reread Marilyn Chin’s poems in Rhapsody in Plain Yellow. Her in-betweenness—born in Hong Kong, raised in Portland, Oregon; never fully Chinese, never fully American—is often her subject. I think in-between is a good place for a poet. This is also true in Natasha Trethewey’s collection of poems Thrall. Her mother was a black American and her father was a white Canadian, and sometimes Trethewey’s poems explore this in-between ancestry. Her poems also originate in artworks where black and mulatto figures appear.

What books of poetry/poets do you recommend to a new reader of poems?
I would recommend Frank Bidart’s Desire, Louise Gluck’s The Wild Iris, Czeslaw Milosz’s Road-side Dog, Brigit Pegeen Kelly’s Song, Marilyn Chin’s Rhapsody in Plain Yellow, C. P. Cavafy’s The Complete Poems, Anne Carson’s The Autobiography of Red, Sharon Olds’s The Dead and the Living, Derek Walcott’s The Star-Apple Kingdom, D. A. Powell’s Chronic: Poems, and Sylvia Plath’s Ariel and Colossus. These are just some highly subjective and random recommendations.

When did you first discover poetry? What poets made you want to write?
I discovered poetry when I was 20. I was a shy, gay young man living in the South. Also, I was raised in a military and catholic household. Suddenly, I had things to say when I put pencil to paper.

What is the role of poetry in today’s world?
I think being a poet in the world opposes the very nature of the world, which is driven by monetary gain. There is no monetary gain in writing poetry. Still, there is value in it as a record of what is in our souls—love and hate, empathy and anger, and all the rest of the emotions that overwhelm us every day.

Tell us about your favorite experience reading for an audience.
Last year, I read in a medium-security prison in Southern Illinois. The reading was in a gymnasium with about fifty attentive inmates. Afterwards, each prisoner shook my hand in gratitude. It was very moving.

Have you ever written anything you were afraid to share?
Yes, some poems embarrass me. The poems that embarrass me the most tend to be about intimate love-life stuff. Disappointments and failures in love, etc. But when I am writing these poems, I actually feel free. The poet must remain free. You can’t write poetry with a gun pointed at your head.


Henri Cole was born in Fukuoka, Japan.  He has published nine collections of poetry, including Middle Earth, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.  He has received many awards for his work, including the Jackson Prize, the Kingsley Tufts Award, the Rome Prize, the Berlin Prize, the Lenore Marshall Award, and the Medal in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent collection is Nothing to Declare, and a memoir Orphic Paris was published by New York Review Books this spring.  He teaches at Claremont McKenna College and lives in Boston.   

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Sustainable Jersey: This is what a movement looks like

Posted on by Randall Solomon, Executive Director, Sustainable Jersey

NJ Sustainability Summit combines vision with action

The 2018 New Jersey Sustainability Summit confirmed my belief that we have a movement. We the people–we the green teams and environmental commissions, committed local citizens, business administrators and local leaders–we believe that we can make change from the bottom up for a sustainable New Jersey, and we are. We have a vision and we are taking action.

Over 350 change-makers from across the political, private and public sectors attended this year’s sold-out New Jersey Sustainability Summit on June 21, 2018.  The Sustainability Summit included an inspiring keynote address from First Lady Tammy Murphy, and a total of 12 breakout sessions with topics ranging from “Goin’ Green by Makin’ Green” and “It’s Electric” to “Plastic Pollution Solution.”  Thank you to everyone that participated for lending your time and talents to this endeavor.

 

As Sustainable Jersey approaches our ten-year anniversary, we’re starting to see the impact of our participants’ work at the local level. We have almost hit the eighty percent participation mark with 447 of New Jersey’s 565 towns engaged in the municipal certification program. Also, over 1,000 school districts and schools are participating in the Sustainable Jersey for Schools certification program. Thousands of local volunteers and officials have dedicated their time and resources toward implementing Sustainable Jersey’s best practices and meeting the standards set by the program, and it’s making a difference. We’re creating a movement from the bottom up.

Take, for example, the current momentum in New Jersey to reduce single-use plastics. By completing Sustainable Jersey actions such as the Reusable Bag Education Program and the Recycling and Waste Reduction Education, and implementing innovative projects funded by Sustainable Jersey grants, municipalities and schools have been educating their communities about the single-use plastics problem for years.

Recently groups like Sustainable Downbeach formed and have taken this issue to the next level. Sustainable Downbeach is comprised of the Longport, Margate, Ventnor and Atlantic City green teams. The four Atlantic County municipalities have achieved Sustainable Jersey certification at the bronze-level and, through Sustainable Downbeach, were instrumental in helping Longport become the first municipality in New Jersey to adopt a carry-out bag fee ordinance in November 2015.

This was followed by resolutions in Galloway and Upper Township; a fee on bags in Teaneck and Ventnor; and bag bans in Jersey City, Long Beach, Monmouth Beach and Harvey Cedars, with Hoboken soon following suit. This issue is now being considered by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy at the state level with the state plastic and paper bag legislation. Based on guidance from the green teams, Sustainable Jersey is revising our plastics action in order to make it more impactful and relevant to the current situation. The movement is growing across the state, thanks to pressure and education provided by the green teams on the ground.

As an organization, Sustainable Jersey is in a unique position to be a connecting force between local communities and public, private and governmental entities. When communities act individually, they can solve their own problems; when they act together, the hope is that we can address challenges across New Jersey and then make progress on national and global problems.

We’re taking the same approach with our new Gold Star Standards in Energy and Waste, and soon in Water. A highlight of the Sustainability Summit was conferring an award to Woodbridge Township for being the first municipality to achieve the Sustainable Jersey Gold Star Standard in Energy. If every municipality in New Jersey were to perform at the same level as Woodbridge, we would be achieving our goals for fighting climate change and reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions.

If you were not able to attend the 2018 New Jersey Sustainability Summit, below are a few videos, presentations and materials that you can review.

  • 2018 Sustainability Summit Videos: Watch the summit videos including the keynote address by New Jersey’s First Lady Tammy Snyder Murphy, followed by a speech from the NJ Board of Public Utilities President Joseph L. Fiordaliso: http://www.sustainablejersey.com/media-communications/videos/
  • 2018 New Jersey Sustainable State of the State Report: The report suggests 57 goals that define a vision of sustainability for New Jersey. Each goal has indicators that provide clues as to how New Jersey is doing in achieving these sustainability goals. For each goal there is a brief assessment of our progress as a state. Also, the establishment of “Gold,” Sustainable Jersey’s highest level of certification, forges the link between the municipal program and the broader, long-term outcomes desired. This is outlined on the Gold Star Standard page.

·       Plenary & Breakout Session Presentations: All presentations from the plenary and breakout sessions are posted as individual PDFs on the 2018 Speaker Presentations page.

For more about Sustainable Jersey: Website  Facebook  Twitter   Instagram   LinkedIn

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Ask a Poet: Alicia Ostriker

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome to the Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today, we’re getting to know Academy of American Poets Chancellor Alicia Ostriker!


ostriker

If someone sitting next to you on an airplane asked you to describe your poetry, how would you describe it?
When I tell a stranger I’m a poet and the stranger asks “What kind of poetry do you write?” I like to say I write poems about life and death, love and sex, family, the weather, the city, religion, politics, and art. Usually they have nothing to say after that. Sometimes I say I write poems to make people laugh and cry. Once it happened that a man in a suit who sat next to me on a plane looked at me condescendingly (you know the way they do?) when I said I was a poet, and asked “Are you published?” “Yes,” I answered. “I’ve published ten books.” He was quiet after that. And it happened just once that the person I was sitting next to on a plane turned out to have read my poetry. That was a treat!

When did you first discover poetry? What poets made you want to write?
As a student I wanted to be some combination of John Donne, John Keats, and Gerard Manly Hopkins. As an American, I’m a daughter of Whitman, Williams, and Ginsberg (all of them with New Jersey connections, by the way). As a woman, I wanted to write like H.D, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, Adrienne Rich, Lucille Clifton, Toi Derricotte, Marilyn Nelson, and so on and so forth…

What is the role of poetry in today’s world?
Same as always. It can find language for human experiences that never found language before, it can illuminate reality, it can shock, console, and awaken readers and listeners, it can attack, it can curse and bless, it can make beauty out of bitterness, it can fool around, it can tell stories, it can reach across boundaries, it can change your mind, it can change the world. Yes, it can. Maybe just a little. Auden was wrong. Poetry can make things happen, and more and more people are catching on to that.

Tell us about your favorite experience reading for an audience.
Years ago, I opened for Allen Ginsberg at the Bumbershoot Festival. B.B. King was playing at the other end of the festival grounds, but we were in some arena as big as Madison Square Garden (or so it seemed) and it was packed to the rafters. Being applauded by Allen’s fans–and they kept applauding till I did an encore–that was a thrill.

Have you ever written anything you were afraid to share?
Yes. Poems about my family. And then I shared them and the sky didn’t fall in.

What are you looking forward to most at this year’s Dodge Poetry Festival?
Everything, really. But especially meeting poets I admire, and being awestruck. And I love the live music between the panels.


Alicia Ostriker has published fourteen volumes of poetry, including Waiting for the LightThe Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog; The Book of Life: Selected Jewish Poems 1979-2011; No Heaven; The Volcano Sequence; and The Imaginary Lover, winner of the William Carlos Williams Award. She was twice a National Book Award Finalist, for The Little Space (1998) and The Crack in Everything (1996). Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, American Poetry Review, The Atlantic, Paris Review, Yale Review, Ontario Review, The Nation, The New Republic, Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Anthology, and many other journals and anthologies, and has been translated into numerous languages including Hebrew and Arabic. Ostriker’s critical work includes the now-classic Stealing the Language: the Emergence of Women’s Poetry in America, and other books on American poetry from Walt Whitman to the present. 


Follow us for ways to stay updated about 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival news!

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Pro Bono Partnership Pundit: NJ’s New Equal Pay and Paid Sick Leave Laws Provide Expanded Equitable Protections for Employees

Posted on by Christine Michelle Duffy, Pro Bono Partnership

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New Jersey has enacted two new laws that will dramatically impact the workplace. Both laws aim to provide a more equitable workplace for minorities, women, and other lower-paid employees.

Each of the laws presents significant compliance challenges for employers, so I urge you to read the two articles that are linked to below.

  • Note: Both laws apply to all nonprofits and neither law contains a “small employer” exception.

Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act provides that it is an unlawful employment practice to discriminate in compensation or other financial terms and conditions of employment between persons doing substantially similar work based on an employee’s affectional or sexual orientation; age; ancestry, national origin, or nationality; atypical hereditary cellular or blood trait, disability, or genetic information; gender identity or expression, pregnancy, or sex; civil union, domestic partnership, or marital status; color or race; creed or religion; or liability for service in the U.S. military.

In addition, the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act:

  • Includes a six-year statute of limitations for claims alleging such discrimination, which is three times as long as the usual limitations period under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination.
  • Requires that an employee recover triple damages if a jury determines that an employer failed to pay equal compensation in compliance with the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act.

The breadth of the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act and the stiff penalties employers face for violating the law should help to narrow the wage gap that many minorities and women in New Jersey have faced for years. As Governor Murphy noted when the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act was enacted into law, “the only factors to determine a worker’s wages should be intelligence, experience and capacity to do the job. Pay equity will help us in building a stronger, fairer New Jersey.”

The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act was added to the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination, the oldest and one of the broadest multi-purpose antidiscrimination laws in the United States. While some other states have laws requiring equal pay for substantially similar work, those laws are limited to discrimination based on sex. The Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act reflects New Jersey’s continuing leadership in the fight against discrimination in the workplace.

To learn more about the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, which went into effect on July 1, please read the article that Jim McDonnell and Beth Braddock, from the Jackson Lewis law firm, wrote for Pro Bono Partnership.

New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act

The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act, requires nearly all New Jersey employers to provide up to 40 hours of paid sick leave to employees during an employer-established “benefit year.” Employees are entitled to earn one hour of paid sick leave for every 30 hours they work. The law applies to part-time and full-time employees, including employees who are hired on a seasonal or temporary basis.

An eligible employee is entitled to take paid sick leave for any one or more of the following reasons:

  1. Time needed for diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery relating to the employee’s own mental or physical health condition, as well as for preventive medical care.
  2. Time needed for diagnosis, care, treatment, or recovery relating to a family member’s mental or physical health condition, as well as for preventive medical care.
  3. Time needed as a result of an employee’s or family member’s status as a victim of domestic or sexual violence, including time off for counseling, accessing victim and legal services, relocation, or participation in any civil or criminal proceedings related to the violence.
  4. Time when the employee’s workplace or the school or place of childcare for the employee’s child is closed by order of a public official due to a public health emergency, or when the employee or a family member has been ordered quarantined by a public health authority.
  5. Time to attend certain school-related conferences, meetings, or other events requested or required by the school of an employee’s child, or to attend a meeting regarding care provided in connection with the child’s health conditions or disability.

The New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act will provide sick leave benefits to a wide swath of employees who heretofore have not been provided such benefits, especially low-wage earners and part-time employees.

To learn more about the New Jersey Paid Sick Leave Act , which goes into effect on October 29, please read the article that Beth, Jim, and I wrote.

This post should not be construed as, and does not constitute, legal advice on any specific matter, nor does it create an attorney-client relationship.  Organizations should seek advice relating to their unique circumstances from competent legal counsel.

 

Christine Michelle Duffy is New Jersey Program Director of Pro Bono Partnership and a regular contributor to the Dodge Blog.  Christine is editor-in-chief and contributing author of Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Discrimination in the Workplace: A Practical Guide.  In 2017, the treatise Employment Discrimination Law and Litigation recognized Christine as a leading theorist in the area of employment discrimination law.  To learn more about Pro Bono Partnership, or to donate, please visit www.probonopartner.org or call (973) 240-6955.

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Ask a Poet: Raymond Luczak

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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Welcome to the Ask a Poet blog series! Leading up to the 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival, we will be putting the spotlight on poets you can see at #DPF18, October 18-21. Learn more about a new Festival Poet every Wednesday and Friday, presented in no particular order.

Today, we’re getting to know Raymond Luczak!


Luczak

Hey! What’s new with you?
2018 has proven to be an extraordinary year. It’s not often that I’d get to see three new books (a short story collection, a novella, and a poetry collection) published in a single year, but these days I’m most excited about my seventh poetry title A Babble of Objects. Usually, when I create a new book of poems, I try to challenge myself by not falling into the trap of repeating myself when it comes to subject matter or approach. This time, with A Babble of Objects, I decided to focus on the inner lives of inanimate objects and keeping such interior monologues quite short. Then with the rewrite, I decided to play with the look of many of the poems. For example, in the poem “Glue,” I reduced the spacing between lines so severely that the lines look like they’re nearly glued together. Another poem “Threads” plays with each line as if a loose thread gone astray across the page; the poem “Scalpel in Biology” shows the incision cutting right through its lines. In essence, my book becomes a visual atlas of these nameless characters. Just like Madonna who is constantly reinventing herself with each new album, I had a blast reinventing myself as a poet with A Babble of Objects.

What are you currently reading?
Through reading submissions for a Walt Whitman poetry tribute anthology that I’ve been editing, I happened to come across the work of Cyril Wong, a Singaporean poet who happens to be wildly prolific. His submission was so good that I had to hunt down his books; his work is unfortunately not widely available in the United States. He is regarded as Singapore’s first truly confessional poet, but his work easily transcends the tired clichés of confessional poetry. His latest collection The Lover’s Inventory (Math Paper Press, 2015) is wonderful.

Tell us about your favorite experience reading for an audience.
I love performing my poems in American Sign Language (ASL) because it forces me to see my own work in a whole new light when I translate it for performance. Often I discover things I hadn’t realized that had been there all along!

What is something miscellaneous from your life that you would recommend to other people? It could be a person, a habit, an idea, anything that brings you happiness right now that you would like to recommend.
We need to relearn again the art of appreciating each simple pleasure we are given at any given time. For instance, if we happen on a startlingly beautiful flower in full bloom, its color bursting from the kisses of the sun, we shouldn’t simply take a picture of it with our smartphones and move on. No, we should stop and really look at the flower. That flower is not going to live long, so we need to appreciate its majesty while we can. So much of life is ephemeral so this is why I’m a poet. I write because I don’t want to lose that art of appreciating the amazing world around us to which no one seems to pay attention. So: if you see something odd and startling, stop. That moment is not going to come back again, so stop. Try not to think of anything but the sight right before you. It doesn’t have to be a visual thing; it can be the sweet fragrance of a lilac in full flower, its waft being carried past you on the breeze. And it doesn’t have to be flowers either. It can be the person you love the most. Just say nothing for a moment and look at their faces fully. Let the memory be imprinted on your brain, and it will never leave you. Even if you never write a poem, that act of imprinting the impression makes you a poet not of words but of memory.


Raymond Luczak lost much of his hearing at the age of eight months and grew up in a hearing family of nine children in a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He was not allowed to sign until he was 14 years old. He graduated with the legendary Class of ’88 from Gallaudet University. Luczak is the author and editor of over 20 books. Poetry titles include The Kiss of Walt Whitman Still on My LipsMute, and How to Kill Poetry. His Deaf gay novel Men with Their Hands won first place in the Project: QueerLit Contest 2006. Red Hen Press will bring out his next book Flannelwood in the spring of 2019. His work has been nominated nine times for the Pushcart Prize. Also a playwright, he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [raymondluczak.com]  


 

Follow us for ways to stay updated about 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival news!

#DPF18

Dodge Poetry Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | dodgepoetry.org

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Poetry Friday: What’s New with the Dodge Poetry Festival

Posted on by Dodge Poetry

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We know that when you’re planning a trip to the Festival, there are a lot of logistics to keep in mind and things to know! We always want to keep you up to date with the exciting news and opportunities, so here are some of the latest resources and announcements we have made about #DPF18, all in one place:

  • Wondering which day your favorite poet will be at the Festival? Check out our brand new Poet Calendar, which indicates which days each poet will be performing in Downtown Newark.
  • Have you taken a look at the full Festival Lineup? You can find links about each individual poet when you click on their names for more information, and we will have biographic information up on our website very soon! We hope you’re as excited about this lineup as we are!
  • Along the lines of getting to know our poets, be sure to visit our Ask a Poet blog series! It’s a great way to get acquainted with some of the poets you will see at the Festival!
  • Interested in Teacher Day, Thursday, October 18th? It’s not too late to register for this fun day of poetry designed for educators. Pre-registered teachers can attend at no charge! Don’t miss it!
  • A great way to keep up on Festival announcements is by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram! We are providing new announcements and information all the time, and we love to hear from you.
  • Do you have your tickets yet? Weekend and Four-Day Passes are on sale now! We have discounts for teachers, students, Newark-residents, seniors and college students.
  • We’ve got special hotel rates for you, but book soon! Blocks are filling up fast.
  • If you’re coming from NYC or NJ, get your $10.50 round-trip NJ TRANSIT tickets to Newark Penn, from any NJ TRANSIT station or NY Penn.
  • Taking a car to the Festival? Get $5 off of LYFT rides with the code NJPAC, or drive yourself and get discounted parking rates right near NJPAC for single-day parking when you buy in advance. (Weekend & Four-Day parking passes coming soon!)

There will be more to come in the months ahead, so stay tuned!

Questions about the Festival? Is there something you’d like to see here that we haven’t included? Feel free to shoot us an email at festival@grdodge.org!


Follow us for ways to stay updated about 2018 Dodge Poetry Festival news!

#DPF18

Dodge Poetry Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | dodgepoetry.org

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