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October 8, 2010

Poetry Friday--The Dodge Poetry Festival

I am pleased to be heading down to Newark, NJ today to attend the annual Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival. I remember watching Bill Moyers Journal, in years past and listening to Moyers talking about the Dodge Festival and the poets who appeared. I was always fascinated by seeing a poet in front of a packed audience in the clips he showed of the festivities. What an idea--people sitting around listening to poetry! Who goes to see poets? Obviously lots of people! I had to experience this festival for myself.

This year, as soon as tickets went on sale, I took the plunge and ordered tickets and reserved a room at a hotel. I am so looking forward a weekend of poetry. If you're interested in learning about the events, click here.

Doesn't this sound interesting?
In which ways has poetry traditionally been used as a primary repository for memory? It has been said that history is written by the victors, poetry by the survivors. How do we negotiate the distance between the "official story" and the news we get from poems? How do we find in poetry ways to help ourselves confront fact, actual occurrence and ignored truth? How does poetry preserve and illuminate personal history, the history of a people, the history of a species, the history of life itself?
Or this?
Since 1937, the Library of Congress has appointed a "Poet Laureate Consultant in Poetry" (also titled "Consultant in Poetry," prior to 1986) to a one-year or longer term. The Laureate’s task: to raise the national consciousness to a greater appreciation of the reading and writing of poetry. Former Poets Laureate Billy Collins (2001-2003), Rita Dove (1993-95), Kay Ryan (2008-2009) and Mark Strand (1990-91) discuss their own experiences and initiatives while in this post, as well as what it means to be the public face of what many consider an art best created and read in private.
For those of you who can't go, you can still get a feel for the Dodge Poetry Festival by viewing some of the videos from past festivals. Here's one to get you started, Tony Hoagland reading "Romantic Moment":

As soon as I'm finished packing, I'm heading out. But, before I go, I'll be stopping by Carol's Corner for a quick look at the Poetry Friday Round-Up.


  1. I love those Bill Moyers shows too. That's how I first discovered Rumi, and went out and bought the Coleman Barks book straight away. One of my long time dreams is to go to the Dodge Poetry Festival. I am with you in spirit!

  2. Maybe you'll see Laura Shovan (Author Amok) there! Hope you have/had fun!