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A Note from the Poets House Executive Director

A democracy requires that we come together with our differences, engage in real dialogue, and use our energy creatively.

Can it be that poetry is a tool for building our democracy?

I believe it. And that what we do together in building Poets House creates an open, inclusive organization with intrinsic social value. Everyone can enter freely to explore thoughts, hopes, and fears that come to us from across the centuries and from our contemporaries. Poets House facilitates habits of listening, thinking, and sharing; insists on the value and beauty of the single voice and its agency; and also makes community a value—collecting all poetic voices together in our nation’s poetry library.

The space, collection, and programs have been a lifeline for so many. 80,000 people cross our threshold annually, 10,000 of them children on free class trips. Millions more find us online or through regional programs.

This calendar of programmatic offerings is particularly diverse and thrilling—from Brad Gooch discussing Rumi (the 13th-century Sufi mystic, the bestselling poet in the U.S.) to Anne Waldman on William Blake; to events on Gwendolyn Brooks, Agha Shahid Ali, and Cuban poetry; programs on the poetry of immigration and the poetry of desire.

To me, each event is intrinsically interesting as an articulation of some aspect of shared human experience. But because this space is dedicated to dialogue, some of the most exhilarating moments come from you, since there is always an element of challenge and serendipity as we put our ideas together.

Art helps to keep us and our democracy healthy, by circulating ideas and real information about how we live, from across the world and through the ages.

Now, as we ramp up toward the 30th Anniversary of Poets House, we are inventing new online initiatives to better mirror the vigor of our physical space. These projects will help us to share our library treasures so that more people from around the globe can experience the material beauty of the collection and its intellectual rigor. This summer, we will also celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Showcase, the annual gathering and display of all the new poetry books in the country. There is nothing like it and it has built one of the great national libraries through affection and community participation.

As we work together, we welcome so many into the creative inquiry and artful language that is poetry. Thank you. You have helped to make this place for poetry that enriches the cultural life and dialogue of our nation.

—Lee Briccetti, Executive Director

Spring 2017

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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