The Board of Trustees and the staff of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation are pleased to announce that the Dodge Poetry Festival, the largest poetry event in North America, will be returning to Newark in the autumn of 2012. The fourteenth biennial Festival’s lineup of performances and discussions will again transform New Jersey’s largest and most vibrant city into a “poetry village” for four days.
We are grateful to the partners who have made this possible: the New Jersey Performing Arts Center and the City of Newark. Just as vital to this decision was the cooperation and support of the many cultural and arts organizations that have done so much to revitalize Newark’s Downtown Arts District, including Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art, Brick City Development Corporation, Greater Newark Area Conventions and Visitors Bureau, Newark Arts Council, New Jersey Historical Society, Newark Museum and many others.
Not only has the move to Newark allowed us to continue the Festival itself, it has also given us the opportunity to contribute toward and support the efforts of these Arts District organizations. Anyone in attendance during the 2010 Festival’s opening night Poetry Sampler saw a vivid example of poetry’s potential impact on the city. When the audience members were asked how many were visiting Newark for the first time, 80 percent of attendees raised their hands. The thousands who came to Newark in 2010 for the poetry also discovered the city’s thriving galleries, museums, cultural and historical institutions, architectural wonders and many fine restaurants. We expect an even greater turnout in 2012.
The response to our new location in 2010 was overwhelming. Many attendees shared their enthusiastically positive “reviews” with our staff on-site; others later wrote to tell us how amazed they were by the beauty of the performance spaces and by how easy it was to travel to and navigate the Festival site. As former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins asked from the main stage: “Why would you have the Festival anywhere else?”
The Festival venues will once again be contained within a walkable footprint centered around the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, and will include NJPAC’s 2,800-seat Prudential Hall, which The New Yorker listed with Carnegie Hall and Boston Symphony Hall as one of the three best orchestral spaces in the Northeast, and its 514-seat Victoria Theater, which The New York Times called “a gem.” More-intimate events will be held nearby in the architectural wonder that is First Peddie Baptist Church; the historic Trinity and Saint Philip’s Cathedral, where both Colonial and British armies established field hospitals during the Revolutionary War; Newark Museum, home to the largest collection of Tibetan Buddhist art in the Western Hemisphere; and such cultural treasures as Aljira: A Center for Contemporary Art and the New Jersey Historical Society.
If you are one of the thousands of 2010 festival-goers who found kinship and inspiration in Dodge’s latest poetry village, please tell your friends, family and colleagues about the upcoming Festival in Newark. They, too, should have a chance to hear a diverse array of some of our most celebrated poets, and to play a part in the renaissance of one of America’s most historic cities.
The Dodge Foundation will be announcing the dates, and have more information on travel, lodging and tickets in February, when we launch our new website. In the meantime, be sure to let us know if your contact information has changed so we can keep you on our Mailing List. Stay connected by subscribing to our Poetry Fridays blog, friending us on Facebook, following us on Twitter @DodgePoetryFest, and visiting our YouTube channel to watch videos of poets reading at past Dodge Festivals.