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PoProj New Year’s Day Reading Debriefing

Stacy Szymaszek

from the Poetry Project Blog


I began the week leading up to the 36th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading feeling nonchalant and feeling worried about how nonchalant I felt, but after we got through the first few organizational hiccups I realized the uncomfortable feeling was that of confidence. I knew this year was going to be extraordinary and indeed it was. The performances were electric (Miguel Gutierrez’s dance harnessed the off-the wall energy of the day) and the community response was enormous. I have never seen the Sanctuary so thronged with people. As the great poet Sparrow wrote to us the next day, “The new was new, and so was everything else”. And, wow, we raised over $18,000 this year, which is about $5,000 more than the customary amount. These funds, as you know, allow us to pay the rent, continue our programming and plan for the Project’s future. Thank you for every dollar you spent on admission, food, books or Membership that day.

I made some opening remarks that invoked words written by Allen Ginsberg in his introduction to Out of This World about St. Mark’s being a culture church and a place where many people have been coming for decades to tap into the great accumulation of granny wisdom about poetry, familiarity and gossip. Ah, the true meaning of New Year’s Day! We hope that 2010 holds much promise for each of us and for the state of the world. We appreciate your devotion to our celebration and thank you, again, for being part of the Poetry Project.


Stacy Szymaszek

Corrine Fitzpatrick


In the five years I have been working in the office, I have never met a marathon quite like Number 36. By 3pm we had over 300 people come through the door. The official head count of 1,250 exceeds recent memory, as does the profit… over $18 grand!

Needless to say, the marathon was and never is possible without the generosity of time and spirit given to the Poetry Project by you, our community-at-large. To the 150 “acts”, 80+ volunteers, dozens of food and book donors and to the attentive and lasting crowd of hundreds, we say thank you! We love you! High-five! Big hug!

Read entire article.

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