April is National Poetry Month—the world’s largest literary celebration. Below we’ve listed our picks for the best events in the city. By Jessica Allen.
Poetry Society of America Awards Ceremony
The National Arts Club
15 Gramercy Park
New York, NY 10003
Get a jump on April by attending the 107th annual Poetry Society of America Awards Ceremony. Along with celebrating the written word, this year’s event will honor postmodernist poet Susan Howe with the 2017 Frost Medal, “for distinguished lifetime achievement in American Poetry.” (Howe will give a talk as part of the awards ceremony.) The Poetry Society—the oldest poetry organization in the United States—has lots of other readings and talks planned throughout April and beyond, so check the calendar for details. Wednesday, March 29, 7 pm, free.
Poetry & the Creative Mind
Alice Tully Hall
New York, NY 10023
If you like your poetry with a dash of celebrity and a sprinkle of stardom, you’ll want to head on over to Lincoln Center for the 15th annual Poetry and the Creative Mind event. This fundraiser for the Academy of American Poets features well-known dancers, actors, musicians, writers, and other public figures sharing the poems they love best. Past attendees include Tina Fey, Gloria Steinem, Vanessa Williams, Nick Cannon, Meryl Streep, and Alan Cumming. Wednesday, April 19, 6:30 pm, $45–75, tickets required.
Poem in Your Pocket Day
10 River Terrace
New York, NY 10282
On Poem In Your Pocket Day, folks around the city will be carrying poems to read and share, and Poets House will be hosting a special event for little readers and writers. Kids can read their verses, and you’ll be able to browse the establishment’s magnificent on-site library. In addition, anthologies of student work will be presented to local schools — one of the many ways Poets House helps develop the next generation of poetry lovers around NYC. Thursday, April 27, 4 to 6 pm, free.
The Poetry Project’s 50th Anniversary Gala
St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery
131 East 10th Street
New York, NY, 10003
In 1966, the Poetry Project was founded by a group of experimental poet friends, among them Allen Ginsberg, at St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery to support the NYC poetry scene. Learn about the project’s early days — as well as its deep, abiding commitment to social justice — at its 50th Anniversary Gala. Scheduled performers include conceptual artist Yoshiko Chuma, performance artist and writer Laurie Anderson, and Anne Waldman, a poet and one of the project’s founders. Thursday, April 27, 7 pm to 12 am, $10–150, tickets required.
The Poetry Brothel at the Strand
New York, NY 10003
Featuring a rotating cast of poets, The Poetry Brothel seeks to remove poetry from the stuffy confines of the classroom. In honor of National Poetry Month, the performance troupe will spend the evening at The Strand, the city’s largest independent bookstore. Your ticket comes with a gift card to the bookstore, along with a chapbook. Expect live music, cabaret, burlesque, magic, lounging, and vaudeville. And, yes, in true brothel style, poets will be available for private readings. Thursday, April 27, 7 to 11 pm, $50, tickets required.
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.