Curatorial Statements


While the boundaries between each of the Project’s reading series are permeable, in general, the Wednesday Reading Series features nationally/internationally recognized poets as well as those of local renown, while the Monday Reading Series serves as a forum for emerging poets. Mondays also contain the Talk Series, Open Readings and Workshop Readings. The Friday Reading Series provides space for poets and other artists whose work is interdisciplinary. Participation in all series is by invitation from the series Coordinator. While the series are curated, The Poetry Project does accept “pitches.” All queries and ideas may be emailed to and will be forwarded to the Coordinators. Coordinator appointments change every 2 years to ensure diversity of perspective.  


As Monday Readings Coordinator, I am interested in hosting a broad swath of the current poetic landscape and investigating it both as a site of interchange, and as an anticipation of shared concerns be they social, political or aesthetic. To me, the notion of emerging writers and writing is bracketed by the possibility of emergence into visibility, conversation and poet(h)ical engagement. During the fall, Mondays will feature a range of poets engaging in practices that extend from lyrical/post-lyrical to conceptual to fiction to video-based work—sometimes all at once. It is my hope to keep these nights open to the exceptionally rich poetics that dot the contemporary landscape which exemplifies and has exemplified the Poetry Project as an incubator for writers’ continued literary experimentation. Going forward from this season, I hope to work toward a greater focus on hosting writers from across languages and borders to sustain the Poetry Project’s ongoing role in the emergence of poetry in and for translation. Emergence is predicated on a porosity of borders and a breakdown in typifying and often cloistering genre distinctions. It is to that (somewhat ambitious) end that I want the Monday night series to be directed.

– JUDAH RUBIN, Monday Readings Coordinator

The form of the reading exudes great possibility. There are so many invisible and visible ingredients at The Poetry Project with its infinite history always mixing into a bold present. I hope to compel readers and audiences to a reading that is unexpected. When is writing active in ways that are not necessarily visible as poetry but doing all the important work poetry does? I work backwards from this question by inviting readers who make exciting work in overlapping contexts that are also associated with activism, performance, fiction, visual art, dance, and film. We need the listening experience of the reading as we need action in stillness, to escape and embrace the New York feeling of too much happening at once. How can artists come to the podium in Parish Hall, alongside poets very familiar with that podium, and the combination change our expectations of the poetry reading? I am just as interested in readers as I am in building audiences. I welcome you to Wednesday Nights at The Poetry Project in a leather blazer with a little house music playing in the schmoozing time. I hope to bring together an intergenerational group of people asking how can we expand the definition of poetry.

– ARIEL GOLDBERG, Wednesday Readings Coordinator

The Friday series at The Poetry Project will serve as a platform for poets and poetic thinkers to experiment with movement, sound, and video. In this series, interdisciplinary artists and writers will take on poetic approaches to mediums and subject matters that emerge from the body and permeate the outside world. Consider these evenings to be informal experiments stimulating conscious awareness on several levels at once, encounters that will simultaneously protest, trouble, and charm the body.

– CHRISTINE SHAN SHAN HOU, Friday Readings Coordinator

As Talk Series Coordinator, I am most interested in exploring the social, political, and economic dynamics that inform how art and poetry are remembered and forgotten. As a site in which multiple poetic lineages have converged throughout its long history, the Poetry Project has taken place (and continues to take place) in a city and neighborhood rapidly evolving at both the benefit and expense of individual artists and writers, allowing some to flourish while others fade away. The particular economic and social shifts around New York have forced migrations, realignments, and disappearances, continuously altering what and who is discussed in the local communities. While my curatorial scope will exceed New York, the city remains a particular example–related to many around the world–of how these transformations affect how and where poetry takes place. As such, it will be a continuous reference point for me and those who speak during the talks. The Project has served as a venue for preservation of these disappearing individuals, groups, and works while also remaining a vibrant meeting place for young artists and writers to hear new and established work. As a curator, I am most compelled by issues of visibility and invisibility, voice and voicelessness, and how larger social and historical forces structure both. While one of the central question of any poetics might be What should be remembered?, I am also interested in the implicit question embedded within it: What has been forgotten? These two questions format my curatorial program, which will focus on individual artists, poets, filmmakers, and performers who have been either forgotten altogether or only recently remembered.

– ANDREW DURBIN, Talk Series Coordinator