New York, New York (November 3, 2015) In the past five years, the interest in poetry and its audience has grown. In response, on November 5 to 7, for the first time, leaders from sixteen nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting and presenting poets and poetry will meet at the Lannan Foundation in Santa Fe, New Mexico, to discuss their mutual efforts, as well as how they might make poetry even more visible and find new supporters for the art form. Here are just a few recent facts about poetry:
- 1,789,000+ individuals have watched the video of the poem, “Monsters,” by four girls on Split This Rock’s DC Youth Slam Team, since it was posted two years ago.
- 365,000+ students participated in the 2015 poetry memorization and recitation contest, Poetry Out Loud, which is sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.
- 140,000 individuals have attended the Dodge Poetry Festival, held in even-numbered years, since it launched in 1986.
- 117,000+ readers currently subscribe to the Academy of American Poets digital series, Poem-a-Day, which publishes new work by today’s poets.
- 21,000 individuals have attended the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, the largest poetry festival in New England, since the first festival launched in 2008
- 3,000+ new poetry books and poetry-related texts published in 2015 were featured in Poets House’s annual Showcase.
- 900+ nonprofit organizations that present or support poetry in the U.S. are tracked by Guidestar.
- 260+ African American poets apply each year to attend Cave Canem’s retreat.
- 260+ Asian American writers apply each year to attend Kundiman’s retreat.
- 220+ graduate writing programs in poetry are attended by thousands of students.
- 200+ poems have been displayed in New York City subway cars since 1992, as part of the Poetry Society of America’s Poetry in Motion programs, and have been read by millions of commuters.
- 100 poetry venues and sites regularly host poetry slams.
- 35+ cities across the United States have a local Poet Laureate position. This number has grown rapidly in the past five years.
The Santa Fe meeting, organized by the Academy of American Poets with assistance from the University of Arizona Poetry Center and the Wick Poetry Center at Kent State, and generous support from the Lannan Foundation, is meant to be part of what will be an ongoing series of conversations about strengthening poetry organizations in the United States.
The organizations attending the meeting share an aim to promote the value poets bring to our culture, as well as the important contribution poetry makes to the lives of readers of all ages and backgrounds. Poets distill experience and provide us with the words that perfectly mark occasions and express significant events. Poems comfort and console. Poems record the zeitgeist, helping us understand and examine our history, and inspiring unexpected visions of the future.
As the poet Muriel Rukeyser wrote, “If there were no poetry on any day in the world, poetry would be invented that day. For there would be an intolerable hunger.”
Leaders from the following organizations are confirmed to attend:
- Academy of American Poets
- Cave Canem Foundation
- Dodge Poetry Festival
- Letras Latinas at Notre Dame's Institute for Latino Studies
- Library of Congress Poetry and Literature Center
- Mass Poetry/Massachusetts Poetry Festival
- National Student Poets Program/Alliance for Young Artists and Writers
- O, Miami Poetry Festival
- Poets House
- Poetry Center at San Francisco State University
- Poetry Foundation
- Poetry Society of America
- Split This Rock Poetry Festival
- University of Arizona Poetry Center
- Wick Poetry Center at Kent State
For more information, contact Emily Liebowitz at the Academy of American Poets, 212-274-0343, ext. 22, [email protected].