Apr 22, 2014 View All News



North America’s Largest Poetry Festival Includes Readings, Performances, and Conversations by Dozens of the Leading Voices in Contemporary Poetry, Including:

Former U.S. Poet Laureate BILLY COLLINS

Former U.S. Poets Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winners RITA DOVE, and ROBERT PINSKY

RICHARD BLANCO, selected by President Barack Obama to read a poem at his second inauguration


A diverse array of poets ranging from contemporary published writers to performance poets and slam champions

Program Highlights Include:

 “ANOTHER KIND OF COURAGE,” readings by veterans and their families

“PRESENT IMPERFECT,” readings and conversations focused on poets and disability

“POEMJAZZ,” Robert Pinsky’s innovative dialogue between poetry and music

A celebration of the late poet AMIRI BARAKA (1934-2014)

Performances by BRICK CITY VOICES, emerging poets from Newark, NJ


New Jersey Transit Special $10 Round-trip Fare Encourages Use of Public Transportation to Help “Green” the Festival


Newark, NJ – April 22, 2014 – Martin Farawell, The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Poetry Director and Director of the Dodge Poetry Festival, has announced the roster of poets and other performers who will be participating in the 15th biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, October 23-26, 2014.  For the third time the Festival will be held at its new home, the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) as well as other venues in Newark’s Downtown Arts District, all within easy walking distance of NJPAC.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, an initiative of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation held biennially in even-numbered years since 1986, is a celebration of poetry that immerses participants in four days of readings, performances, and conversations.  Prior to its move to NJPAC and Newark in 2010, the Festival was held primarily at Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey.  In its 26-year history, the Dodge Poetry Festival has involved more than 500 poets, including Nobel Laureates, Pulitzer Prize winners, and an unparalleled array of much-published and award-winning poets.

The Dodge Poetry Festival is the largest poetry event in North America. Called “Wordstock” by The New York Times, audience members have the opportunity to hear performances from and interact with dozens of the world’s foremost poets with an extraordinarily wide range of backgrounds and styles. Two-Day and Four-Day Passes are on sale beginning today at www.njpac.org and at the NJPAC box office.  Single Day tickets go on sale August 11.

Among the poets who will give featured readings from the stage of NJPAC’s Prudential Hall are Richard Blanco, who was selected to read at President Barak Obama’s second inauguration only weeks after his appearance at the 2012 Festival; Eavan Boland, Ireland’s most-honored female poet; former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins (2001-2003); former U.S. Poets Laureate and Pulitzer Prize winners Rita Dove (1993-1995) and Robert Pinsky (1997-2000); Mark Doty, winner of the National Book Award for Poetry and the T.S. Eliot Prize; as well as Pulitzer Prize winners Yusef Komunyakaa, Sharon Olds and Gary Snyder.

Highlights of the Festival include:

Poetry Sampler a celebration of the diverse poetry community in which twenty-five leading poets offer short, back-to-back readings in one evening.

Another Kind of Courage in which veterans and their families explore through poetry not only the courage needed to enter into combat, but to face the battles that happen after they return home as they, their spouses, families and children deal with the impact and aftermath of war.

A celebration of Amiri Baraka (1934-2014), the Newark-based poet and founding father of the Black Arts movement who passed away earlier this year and participated in numerous Dodge Poetry Festivals, including the two previous Festivals in Newark in 2010 and 2012.

PoemJazz, Robert Pinsky and pianist Laurence Hobgood‘s collaborative program showcasing their two great passions: poetry and jazz.  PoemJazz presents the human voice – the reading and performance of poems – along with a variety of jazz musical improvisations.

Present Imperfect, an exploration of poets and disability through readings and conversations.

Performances by Brick City Voices, a group of young, emerging poets from Newark, as well as the Newark Boys Chorus.

Anchored by events at NJPAC, the Festival will transform Newark’s Downtown Arts District into a “Poetry Village,” with many of the performances and readings occurring at multiple venues and cultural destinations in the city, all within easy walking distance of NJPAC.  At times during the Festival ten or more separate stages will offer events simultaneously for audiences from 100 to 2,000 people, including at the Aljira Center for Contemporary Art, NJPAC’s Center for Arts Education, First Peddie Baptist Memorial Church, the New Jersey Historical Society, the Newark Museum, North Star Academy, and Trinity & St. Philip’s Cathedral. Each evening and Sunday afternoon all readings will take place in NJPAC’s magnificent Prudential Hall.

“It’s perfectly fitting that the largest poetry event in North America should take place in New Jersey’s largest city,” said Martin Farawell, Festival Director. “Whitman, Williams, Ginsberg, Baraka--the major voices in some of the most influential movements in modern poetry all made New Jersey their homes. Contemporary poetry is as vital and dynamic as any vibrant downtown. American Poetry and the City of Newark are both in the middle of a major renaissance, and for four days those energies will come together in our most exciting celebration of the spoken word.”  

“We are delighted to welcome back the Dodge Foundation and join with them and the City of Newark in hosting the largest Poetry Festival in the country,” said John Schreiber, President and CEO of NJPAC.  “The past two Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festivals brought thousands to Downtown Newark, including students from across the country, to experience the power and poignancy of some of the world’s greatest poets in addition to the myriad cultural and culinary offerings in our hometown.  We can’t wait to anchor ‘Poetry Village’ again in 2014.”

“The board and staff of the Foundation are thrilled to have the Festival return to NJPAC and Newark for the third time,” said Chris Daggett, President and CEO of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation.  “The superb working relationship our Poetry Department forged with NJPAC beginning in 2010 has developed into a very satisfying and mutually beneficial collaboration.  In addition, the City of Newark again has rolled out the red carpet, and the citizens of Newark have continued to create a warm and welcoming environment for our poets and audiences, and for poetry itself.”

“As Mayor of New Jersey’s largest and most diverse municipality, it gives me great pleasure to welcome the Dodge Poetry Festival, North America’s largest poetry festival, back to Newark. It’s only fitting that our great city was chosen to host again after the success of the Festivals in 2010 and 2012,” said Luis Quintana, Mayor of Newark. “This festival recognizes our city’s long history of world-renowned native-born writers, a roll that includes Stephen Crane, Philip Roth, and Amiri Baraka. The City of Newark thanks the Board of Trustees and the staff of the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation for their continued faith in Newark and supporting our venues, neighborhoods, and people with this world-class event.”

Known for its tremendous ethnic and cultural diversity, downtown Newark is located three miles from Newark Liberty International Airport, one of the largest international airports in the United States. Downtown Newark is easily accessible by public transportation via Amtrak, New Jersey Transit (NJTransit), and PATH trains, and is located at the center of the New York metropolitan area. This year, as a key component of the Dodge Foundation’s commitment to a healthier environment, the Festival will partner with NJTransit to make public transportation more affordable for Festival-goers.  NJTransit will offer $10 ticket vouchers for Festival participants for a round-trip ticket from any NJTransit rail station to Newark Penn Station or Newark Broad Street Station. The voucher will also be honored on the Newark Light Rail once riders arrive in Newark.  Vouchers can be purchased with Festival tickets online, over the phone, or at the NJPAC Box Office.


Festival Passes offering Two-Day or Four-Day admission are available now.  Prices for a Weekend Pass (Saturday and Sunday admission) are $60 with discounted admission available at $54 for seniors and teachers with ID, and $30 for students and Newark residents.  Four Day Passes providing entry to all events at the Festival, Thursday through Sunday, are $100 with discounted admission for seniors and teachers at $88 and students and Newark residents at $50.  Tickets are available at the NJPAC box office, 1 Center Street, Newark NJ, online at www.njpac.org or by phone at 1-888-GO-NJPAC.

For regularly updated information about the 2014 Dodge Poetry Festival visit http://www.DodgePoetry.org and join the Poetry Program’s e-mail list.  Find the Festival on social media:

Facebook:  Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival

Twitter:  @DodgePoetryFest

Instagram:  @dodgepoetry

About the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival

The Dodge Poetry Festival was the first large-scale event to put poetry itself at its center and to invite poets and audiences from a wide base of the culture.  Poets who have participated in the Festival have included Nobel Laureates Octavio Paz and Derek Walcott as well as U.S. Poets Laureate Billy Collins, Rita Dove, Donald Hall, Robert Hass, Ted Kooser, Maxine Kumin, Stanley Kunitz, W.S. Merwin, Robert Pinsky, Charles Simic, Philip Levine, Mark Strand and Natasha Trethewey.  Gwendolyn Brooks, Stephen Dunn, Jorie Graham, Galway Kinnell, Carolyn Kizer, Yusef Komunyakaa, W.S. Merwin, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Richard Wilbur, C.K. Williams and Franz Wright are among the Pulitzer Prize winners who have been featured at past Festivals.  The remarkable diversity of voices and styles has also included Yehuda Amichai, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Richard Blanco, Lucille Clifton, Kwame Dawes, Mark Doty, Martín Espada, Joy Harjo, Juan Felipe Herrera, Ko Un, Li-Young Lee, Dunya Mikhail, Patricia Smith, Sekou Sundiata and Arthur Sze.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Poetry Program operates throughout the school year, sending poets into classrooms across New Jersey and offering poetry discussion groups for teachers.  During each Festival, thousands of students and teachers explore the intimate connection between poets and poetry and develop a greater understanding of the art form and of the power of self-expression by hearing poetry performed by its creators.  Over the years the Festival has welcomed more than 45,000 high school students, all of whom attend free of charge, from as far away as Florida, Maine, Minnesota, and California.  More than 18,000 teachers have participated in special programs offered at the Festival and have had the opportunity to receive professional development credits

The Dodge Poetry Festival has been featured extensively in five PBS television series, including Bill Moyers’ Emmy-winning, multi-part series The Language of Life and Fooling with Words. Excerpts of readings from the Festival are routinely aired on PBS through the series Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor and over 60 short readings can be seen on Dodge’s YouTube channel.  To read the Poetry Program’s popular Poetry Fridays blog and find more information about the Festival visit www.dodgepoetry.org

About the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation was established in 1974 through the foresight and generosity of Geraldine Rockefeller Dodge, daughter of William and Almira Rockefeller. For nearly 40 years, Dodge has supported leadership, collaboration and innovation, with a focus on addressing the issues most pressing to New Jersey. Dodge also offers a comprehensive technical assistance program geared towards strengthening the capacity of New Jersey’s nonprofit community.  Christopher Daggett has been the Foundation’s President and CEO since 2010.

Visit us at www.grdodge.org


The New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States.  It is the artistic, cultural and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day.  As New Jersey’s Town Square, NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the State’s and the world’s best artists, while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city.  Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts.  NJPAC has attracted over seven million visitors (including more than one million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.  Visit www.njpac.org or call 1-888-GO-NJPAC for more information.

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New Jersey Performing Arts Center

Josh Balber, [email protected] or 973-353-8051

Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation

David Mayhew, [email protected] or 203-533-5621