Poetry Friday: Friends of the Festival

Martin, Michele & Rebecca

This week’s blog announces our ambitious Friends of the Festival fundraising campaign.  You may wonder why the Dodge Poetry Program—part of the Dodge Foundation, a major arts funder in New Jersey—needs to fundraise.  We hope you’ll take a few moments to read this blog in order to understand how fundraising is essential to sustaining the Dodge Poetry Program.

Remember when you first “Came alive in the presence of poetry”

“Students come alive in the presence of live poetry… I find them taking notes, writing down the advice (on writing and life) that the poets share, then turning around and sharing that wisdom in their classes. It provides them with a bit of confidence and validation for their own work.  The Festival is life changing—once they experience Dodge, they are forever changed for the better!”
Nicole Marionni, Highland Park High School. 2010 Festival

Since 1986, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program has been one of the leaders of a national poetry renaissance that is changing the way poetry is encountered, experienced and perceived.

  • An international audience of 150,000 has attended the 13 biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festivals.
  • Over 45,000 students and 18,000 teachers have attended the Festival at no charge.
  • More than 600 poets have read at the Festival or at a New Jersey High School as part of our Poetry in the Schools Program.
  • Thousands of teachers have discussed poetry during our Clearing the Spring, Tending the Fountain sessions.
  • Nearly 75,000 high school students encountered living poets at one of our events.

Preserve the Past

In addition to the ongoing work of producing the Festival and the Poets in the Schools Program, we have begun planning the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Archive project.   Consisting of over 2,500 hours of audio and video recordings, the Archive is one of the most extraordinary records of contemporary poetry and poets in the world.  Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners, U. S. Poets Laureate, and poets of international stature are captured in readings, interviews, and once-in-a-lifetime conversations.  Our long-term goal is to create a Dodge Poetry Archive website to create an experience of poetry that is shaped by curiosity, pleasure and personal interest, furthering our mission to nurture the connection between poetry lovers and poetry.

Sustain the Future

Developing the Archive, while continuing the Festival and our work in the schools, is more than the Poetry Program budget can sustain.  Begun as an initiative of the Dodge Foundation in 1986, the Poetry Program is only one of hundreds of initiatives and grantees in the arts, education and the environment funded by the Foundation.  The current economic landscape is challenging–both for the Foundation and for the non-profit sector which it steadily supports.

At this critical time, we ask you to consider what the Dodge Poetry Program has meant to you, and how you envision it being a part of your future.  We ask you to support the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program as a Friend of the Festival. Friends of the Festival contributions are tax deductible and help us continue this extraordinary work. Click here to see all the ways your support makes a difference.

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Did you know that the Dodge Poetry Program has a YouTube channel? Take a look – view video clips from past biennial Festivals! You can also join the conversation on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter @dodgepoetryfest. See you there!

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