Creative Escapes in the Garden State

Posted on by Michele Russo, Poetry Coordinator

Keep Your Creativity Alive Over the Summer

Essex County

This creative escape takes you to Newark, a city near and dear to our hearts.  Head there this coming Thursday July 10th, when The Dodge Poetry Festival will begin a series of free lunchtime readings (at noon) in the newly renovated Military Park. The park just reopened in June and is quickly becoming a cultural and social hub for people from all walks of life in Newark.  Modeled after New York’s Bryant Park, you’ll find café tables, ping pong, toys for children, lush plantings, chess, a mobile reading room and scores of people—young and old, strolling around the walkways.   The Mayor of Newark, Ras Baraka, said it best: “They done hooked this park up.” The July 10th poetry reading features “Brick City Voices,” some of Newark’s brightest emerging poets including: Rob Hylton; Juba Dowdell and Leah Jackson.  Dodge Poetry will have readings every Thursday at noon throughout the summer; the full schedule will be announced on our website, Facebook page and Twitter soon.  In case of rain, readings will be held in the New Jersey Historical Society as 52 Park Place.  While you’re at the park, visit our friends across the street at Newark’s beautiful new visitors center at 60 Park Place. Tell them we sent you and pick up a free Dodge Poetry Festival button.

Military Park in bloom this past May. Photo from

The Dodge Poetry staff has a few favorite lunch spots in the area, including: the Art Kitchen Café (61 Halsey Street) for sandwiches, fresh juices, smoothies and coffee,  The Green Chicpea (59 Halsey Street) for falafel, shwarma, veggie sandwiches or Kilkenny Ale House (27 Central Ave.) for classic pub food and a nice beer.  Your next stop is the incredible Newark Museum, which boasts the most distinctive collection of Tibetan art in the Western Hemisphere. Until September 7th, you can see the work of 40 New Jersey based artists in the Ready or Not exhibition.   After you’ve had your fill of art, head back to NJPAC for a free Sounds of the City outdoor concert featuring Felix Hernandez’s Rhythm Revue starting at 5:00.  Rhythm Revue dance parties are New York’s biggest and longest-running classic soul dances.  The dance party starts at 5:00 and always draws a fun-loving crowd.  Sounds of the City happens every Thursday, is always free and always exciting.

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