Last weekend was so perfect. The Poetry Society of New York held its annual New York City Poetry Festival, two full days of poetry, performance, creativity, and general amazingness out on Governor’s Island.
The last time I was at Governor’s Island, I was there to see She & Him — you know, the retro-tuned band with big-eyed Zooey Deschanel & M. Ward. I’ve gotten to the (cranky) age where the annual tradition of outdoor summer music concerts leave me fishing out sunblock and wondering why we can’t all sit down like civilized adults and listen respectfully to the music. The New York City Poetry Festival is kind of the Woodstock of poetry. It fits my temperament quite nicely because I’m allowed to just lay out in the grass, close my eyes, and listen to words that make me think and feel.
My friends and I packed a picnic lunch of hummus and baby carrots and smoked gouda and nectarines. We sat in wet grass in our sundresses and borrowed shirts. And we listened. And we considered not just the words, but the rhythm of the words. And we soaked it all in.
It was also great to see so many poets from The New School‘s MFA program there! I’m pretty picky when it comes to poetry, but I think so many of them are just brilliant.
I was quite impressed with the number of reading series that came out for the event. There was The Inspired Word, Cornelia Street, Patasola’s Parlor, New York Quarterly, and, well, two full days worth of other poetry series. For the complete list, click here.
The festival was, like any event, a mixed bag. Some poets were better than others. Some I came specifically to see, and others I had never heard of and went home and looked them up.
The New York City Poetry Festival was good for my soul.