ARCHIVED: Largest Free Poetry Festival in New York Brings “Radical Truths” to Participants at Sarah Lawrence College
The seventh Annual Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival, with a working theme of “Radical Truths,” will be held April 15 to 18 on the College’s campus in Yonkers, NY, near the village of Bronxville. Entirely student-run, it is the largest free poetry festival in the state. All readings and events are open to the public. For more information please call (914) 395 2412 or email .
Featuring more than fifty readers, including celebrated and emerging poets as well as faculty and student poets, the festival also includes panels, a craft talk, an open mic, book signings and receptions. Among the well known poets expected to read at this year’s festival are: Frank Bidart, Jericho Brown, Tina Chang, Shira Erlichman, Sarah Gambito, Kate Knapp Johnson, Matthea Harvey, Marie Howe, Zachary Schomburg, Mark Strand and G.C. Waldrep.
“It’s like poetry boot camp,” says faculty poet Jeffrey McDaniel, who has advised the student organizing committee since the festival’s inception in 2004. “There is poetry all day, then a night of poetry.” McDaniel noted that some people might think they only want to see the celebrated poets, not the student readers. But, says McDaniel, “There’s something pure about a young writer, a kind of exuberance and passion that is infectious… and inspirational.
Poet and SLC faculty member Kate Knapp Johnson commented that “poems are truth-bearing and soul-making and I rejoice because so many others at the festival share in this certainty of expression.” And with pure pleasure she noted that the festival is “downright fattening.”
“I arrive Friday afternoon and attend reading after reading through Sunday, leaving reluctantly and rich with poems – the likes of chocolate, cheesecake, crème brûlée. I wobble away from this festival fat with language and passion for poetry.”
Special events include a celebration of the winners of the Campbell Corner Poetry Prize, a nationwide prize encouraging writing with strong visionary and philosophical commitment on Thursday, April 15; on Friday evening four young poets from area high schools will read their poems as the conclusion of a public school initiative, and on Sunday evening a reception will be held for the launch of Sarah Lawrence College’s literary journal Lumina.
Co-directors of the 2010 festival are graduate students Shannon Hardwick, Aldina Vazao Kennedy and Victoria McCoy. The organizing committee includes both graduate and undergraduate students.