City Verses, is a unique, joint initiative of NJPAC and Rutgers University-Newark, offering a range of complementary programs that celebrate and expand upon the rich historical connection between jazz and poetry; create new opportunities for the public to engage with these art forms; strengthen community ties through the arts; amplify the authentic voices of the people of Greater Newark; and engage a new generation of poets, jazz musicians, and teaching artists.

Teens can join our summer camp to write poems set to jazz, or improvise music inspired by poetry. Adults can read their work aloud at one of our poetry workshops, and all are welcome to explore and enjoy jazz poetry performances and readings showcasing poets and jazz artists from Newark and beyond, both in-person and through our digital archive below.

Artistic Directors Rigoberto Gonzalez, Distinguished Professor, Director, Rutgers-Newark MFA Program in Creative Writing, and Mark Gross, Director of Jazz Instruction, NJPAC provide creative and pedagogic leadership for City Verses, while NJPAC’s distinguished jazz faculty and Rutgers-Newark’s talented MFA poetry candidates and alums co-teach, curate, and perform on our workshops, residencies, summer camp, and performances. See below for a full list of our faculty.

We invite you to explore, experiment, and express yourself at our events. Programs are available for teens, adults, and high schools for free or at low-cost ticketed events for the community. For more information, email artseducation@njpac.org.

Watch past City Verses performances

NJPAC Faculty

Mark Gross

Director, Jazz Instruction
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Stefon Harris

NJPAC Jazz Artistic Advisor
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Alvester Garnett

Jazz Co-Artistic Lead
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Jarrett Walser

Jazz Teaching Faculty
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Jordan Pettay

Jazz Teaching Faculty
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Brandon McCune

jazz teaching faculty
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Rutgers-Newark Faculty

Rigoberto González

Director, MFA Creative Writing Program
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Attorious Renee Augustin

Master of Fine Arts Poet
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Rachel Han

master of fine arts poet
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Devonaire Ortiz

master of fine arts poet
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Shannon Pulusan

master fine arts poet
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Dimitri Reyes

master of fine arts poet
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City Verses High School Residency Program

NJPAC presents a special opportunity to introduce the collaborative art of jazz and poetry to your school through the City Verses residency program. In a partnership between Rutgers-Newark, high school students will have the opportunity to explore each art form and learn how to create new work through a collaborative process.

In partnership with:

Major support provided by: