Letter From the Director

1/2/2017: I’m still digesting and metabolizing the The 43rd Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Benefit reading and will be for days to come. It was extraordinary for all of the reasons it usually is—for being a celebration of the Project’s legacy, its future, and the present moment in poetry and the arts in NYC, collective agency, and multigenerational (and inter-disciplinary) dialogue. In the wake of the election and leading up to the inauguration, the aspect of ritual on the first day of 2017 was pronounced. CAConrad wrote an essay in verse called “Poetry & Ritual” where he says many wonderful things, including this:

the ritual to
find the energy lines under our

In my time at the Project, I’ve never experienced such a fierce and loving energy at the Marathon. The energy lines took it there. Thank you to performers Kimberly Clark, M Lamar, Miguel Gutierrez and Nick Hallett, Brenda Coultas, Jack Ferver, Cheryl Clarke and dozens more whose talent, humor, and vulnerability moved me, and reminded me to pay close attention to the ever present forces that tell us to retreat.

Lastly, we raised $28,000, a new Marathon record, which will help us continue our work, and making sure poets get paid for theirs. Read on for a complete list of thanks. I want to particularly acknowledge PP staff Simone, Nicole, and Laura for their creativity, stamina, and acumen behind the scenes. Whenever I look calm it’s because of them.


Stacy Szymaszek

Stacy Szymaszek

Stacy Szymaszek is a poet, and arts administrator/organizer, and teacher. She was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where in 1999 she started working for Woodland Pattern Book Center. She founded and edited seven issues of GAM, a free magazine featuring the work of poets living in the upper midwest. In 2005, she moved to NYC to work for The Poetry Project at St. Mark’s Church, where she served as Executive Director from 2007-2018. Szymaszek is the author of the books Emptied of All Ships (2005), Hyperglossia (2009), hart island (2015), Journal of Ugly Sites and Other Journals (2016), which won the Ottoline Prize from Fence Books and was nominated for a Lambda Literary Award in 2017, and A Year From Today (2018 ). She is the recipient of a 2014 New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry and a 2019 Foundation for Contemporary Arts award in poetry. She is a regular teacher for Naropa University’s Summer Writing Program, and mentor for Queer Art Mentorship.

Szymaszek is the 2018-19 Hugo Visiting Writer at the University of Montana and was a Poet-in-Resident at Brown University in fall 2018.