Events & Activities

The biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival offers four days of readings, discussions, and conversations with over 50 internationally and nationally renowned poets.

Throughout each day of the Festival, simultaneous events take place in the variety of culturally rich venues in Newark’s Downtown Arts District. 

All evening readings and musical performances take place at NJPAC’s Prudential Hall.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival is neither an academic symposium nor a writing conference. Through a wide range of poetry readings, storytelling sessions, and musical performances, participants are invited to spend four days immersed in our most ancient arts.

In Poets on Poetry sessions, Conversations on Craft, and the myriad of panel conversations on poetry, participants have the rare opportunity to visit the life behind poems.

The daytime schedule offers so many inviting options occurring simultaneously that even the most avid and dedicated Festival-goer can succeed in experiencing only a fraction of the total choices available. Here is a sampling of what you might find:



At the heart of the Festival are the series of readings that remind us poetry is historically an oral/aural art. Principal among this series are the half-hour readings by Festival Poets, which occur on the Main Stage of NJPAC’s Prudential Hall every evening and during weekend afternoons.

These featured readings, sometimes punctuated by live music, are complemented by a range of midday readings by Festival Poets at venues throughout the Festival village.

There will be a group reading by recent winners of high school poetry contests.

Giving Voice, a tradition in various Festival programming, is devoted to reading aloud poems by selected poets no longer here to read themselves, providing a chance to honor and to remember poets no long with us.

The Festival offers an Open Mic reading at the New Jersey Historical Society during the four days. 


The Festival provides almost infinite opportunities for conversation – with Festival Poets, teachers, students, friends, and other members of the poetry community who come to share the common ground they’ve found at the Festival.

More formally, the Festival offers Poets on Poetry sessions in which individual Festival Poets discuss their own relationship to poetry by presenting and discussing poems (by others and by themselves) which are important to them.

Conversations: On the Life of the Poet bring together two to four poets to talk with each other and the audience about their lives and their art.

Other Conversations with panels of Festival Poets have included such topics as “The Mysterious Life Within Translation,” “Poetry and Jazz,” “Poetry and the Dignity of the Ordinary,” and “Going Public with Private Feelings,” among many others.

The Festival offers the public the chance to talk with accomplished poets in Conversations on Craft, which include discussions of work patterns and work habits as well as specific matters of poetic craft.