Letter from the Executive Director, December/January 2018-19

Letter from the Executive Director

All week people in the Sanctuary of St. Mark’s have been practicing some kind of choral improvisation – wordless vowel sounds moving toward harmony. A resolution that happens in ongoing, plural unknowing. Revise: a resolve. It is the longest night of the year now, winter solstice, and we are making our way through it.

By sensing one another. We invent geography through our attention to different, inevitably shifting relativities. I am thinking about place partly because this issue of the Newsletter so originally and insistently approaches distance – boundary and remove, but also intimacy and assembly. Place between persons and characters; across concentric spheres of language and culture; from one practice of routine to another. But also place as in position, one’s own, the moving point one occupies inside a community; as well as the kaleidoscopic subjectivities we turn individually inside the apertures of ourselves.

One and ones. A place is many persons more than a statically unified people, something that vibrates powerfully at The Poetry Project—in the physical church we share with neighbors (and ghosts), and in the psychic terrain we share with poets and readers far beyond—the pitching of voices into chord and retreat, the poem-circuitry that scatters light around the commons.

Poetry is hardly a place; more, I think, a vapor, rangy, uncontainable, sensitive to whatever elements or co-conspirators it encounters. Place happens only through listening and exchange, the social act of poetry given, received, critiqued, refashioned, refracted, verbed so on and so forth. And here is where we meet.


Kyle Dacuyan

Dacuyan is a poet, performer, and translator. His poems appear in DIAGRAMLambda LiteraryFoundry, and Best New Poets, among other places, and he is the recipient of scholarships from Poets House, the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and the Academy of American Poets. Prior to joining The Poetry Project, he served as Co-Director of National Outreach and Membership at PEN America, where he led the launch of a nationwide community engagement fund for writers. Before that, he served as Associate Director at the Antiquarian Booksellers’ Association of America.