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A Note from the Poets House Executive Director

Recently, I was a guest at a college assembly that introduced students to poetry and poetry readings. The professor prepared the audience by saying: “In poetry, thinking and feeling are not separate.” A vigorous wave of note-taking took hold of the auditorium. (Me too.)

He continued, “Poetry is a safe space in which to use the imagination. The reader comes in with goodwill and is invited to understand.” More note writing. I was so curious about what the young woman next to me was writing—preparing for a quiz?—that I peered (forgive me) over her shoulder. She wrote, emphatically:

• Poetry is useful.
• Poetry makes survivors.

Her listening inspired me. And it made me deeply grateful to the teachers, writers, students, friends, and donors who work together to bring this art to a new generation. Poets House is proud to be part of this community, offering a safe space in which to use imagination—and to find something useful.

Poets and readers cooperate in order for each poem to be understood. At Poets House, these acts of cooperation are made visible every day—in the startled looks of recognition as students on free class trips dis-cover something new in language; or the palpable concentration of poets, readers, and researchers at work in our 70,000-volume library. Conversations, workshops, programs, exhibitions—all in an atmosphere of convivial welcome.

For almost 30 years, Poets House has been true to its mission. Poets, along with our board, staff, volunteers, members, and friends have built the organization with creativity and passion. This remarkable season demonstrates again the range of community-building and dialogue integral to the organization’s artistic DNA: programs featuring interna-tional poets, events on craft, on translation, about politics, race, survival, what we share...and the divine.

There is so much to be proud of in what we have built together. At 10 River Terrace, 80,000 visitors cross our threshold annually. Millions more find us through national programs or online. Poetry is transcendent, and transformational, and we invite everyone to experience it in a library collection without barriers.

But keeping this independent organization alive requires ongoing investment.

Be an advocate. Help Poets House do its work by making a donation or becoming a supporter. We hope you come often this season and throughout the year. And that you become part of the goodwill that makes the invitation to others.

—Lee Briccetti, Executive Director

With thanks to Jason Schneiderman, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and the young student who rushed away at the bell, before I got a chance to talk to her.

Download the Fall 2016 Program Calendar (PDF)

Read Previous Letters here:

Fall 2015
Spring 2015
Fall 2014
Spring 2014
Fall 2013
Spring 2013
Fall 2012
Spring 2012

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