November 15, 2018 (New York, NY)—The Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 20 independent poetry organizations across the United States, will devote March 2019 to exploring the theme “What Is It, Then, Between Us?: Poetry & Democracy” in a series of programs in eleven cities that will reach an anticipated audience of more than 250,000 individuals nationwide.

The question “What is it, then, between us?” is an excerpt from the poem “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” by Walt Whitman. In addition to Whitman being recognized as a poet whose work forged a new kind of American poetry, which both expresses democratic ideals and contains painful truths about our country’s origin, throughout 2019, many libraries, museums, schools, and cultural organizations will be marking the 200th anniversary of Whitman’s birth, which took place on May 31, 1819.

In light of Whitman’s bicentennial and his influence on American life and literature, Poetry Coalition members aim to demonstrate how poetry can positively provoke questions in their communities about timely and pressing issues, spark increased empathy and understanding, encourage civic and grassroots engagement, and contribute to public debate and dialogue. 
This will be the third year Poetry Coalition members have come together to offer programming on a shared theme. Members presented events and publications on the theme “Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body” in March 2018 and “Because We Come From Everything: Poetry & Migration” in March 2017.
Any and all literary organizations, presses, libraries, bookstores, and beyond are invited to offer their own March programming on the theme in support of and in partnership with the Poetry Coalition.
Find and promote your own projects with the hashtags: #PoetryandDemocracy and #PoetryCoalition.
About the Poetry Coalition
Launched in 2016, the Poetry Coalition is a national alliance of organizations dedicated on working together to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. The Poetry Coalition and its programmatic efforts are supported by a major grant to the Academy of American Poets from the Ford Foundation
About the Academy of American Poets
Founded in 1934 in New York City, the Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization advocating for American poets and poetry. Its mission is to support American poets at all stages of their careers and to foster the appreciation of contemporary poetry. It coordinates the work of the Poetry Coalition, serving as its administrative and fiscal lead. For more information, please contact Jennifer Benka at [email protected].