Poetry Coalition: Organizing around Themes of Social Importance


Dodge Poetry is a proud member of the Poetry Coalition.

Each March, members of the National Poetry Coalition present special programming focused on a shared theme of social importance. 


2020: Poetry & Protest

This year, the theme is: “I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing: Poetry & Protest.” 

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program in collaboration with the Mayo Performing Arts Center presents an evening of readings featuring Pultizer Prize-winner Tyehimba Jess and Marina Carreira, J.C. Todd, Vincent Toro and Rashad Wright.

This event was originally scheduled to take place on March 19 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. "Poetry & Protest" has only become more relevant and powerful in the ensuing months.

You can access it for free online this Tuesday evening via the MAYO's Facebook Page and YouTube Channel

The reading will feature Tyehimba Jess, Marina Carreira, J.C. Todd, Vincent Toro and Rashad Wright.

Tyehimba Jess is the author of two books of poetry, Leadbelly and OlioOlio won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award, The Midland Society Author’s Award in Poetry, and received an Outstanding Contribution to Publishing Citation from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association. Marina Carreira is the author of Save the Bathwater and I Sing to That Bird Knowing It Won’t Sing Back. J. C. Todd is author of What Space This Body, and The Damages of Morning, a 2019 Eric Hoffer Award finalist. Beyond Repair is forthcoming in 2020. Vincent Toro’s Stereo.Island.Mosaic was awarded the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award and the Sawtooth Poetry Prize. His second collection, Tertulia, is forthcoming in June 2020. Rashad Wright is the poet laureate of Jersey City, New Jersey.


Previous Programming:

2019: Poetry & Democracy

In 2019, we explored the theme "What Is It, Then, Between Us?": Poetry and Democracy.

Dodge Poetry hosted a free, public event in downtown Morristown, New Jersey on March 23rd focusing on the theme of poetry and democracy.

Poets, performers and panelists included Janet Aalfs • Jan Beatty • Reginald Dwayne Betts • Cortney Lamar Charleston • Catherine Doty • Rigoberto González  • New Jersey Institute for Social Justice • Joe Weil • Rachel Wiley • Wind of the Spirit - Immigrant Resource Center • and music by the Parkington Sisters  

Participants chose from sessions that included readings, group conversation, small panel discussions, and writing activities., taking place in several downtown Morristown venues, including the Mayo Performing Arts Centerthe Morristown & Morris Township LibrarySt. Peter’s Episcopal Church and Church of the Redeemer.  

The evening’s music and poetry performance, “In Praise: a Thousand Ways to Kneel and Kiss the Earth,” celebrated gratitude across boundaries of race, creed, sexual orientation, ethnicity and gender. 

You can watch videos of the evening readings here.

2018: Poetry & the Body

In March 2018, the National Poetry Coalition launched Where My Dreaming and My Loving Live: Poetry & the Body, taken from a line in the Tracy K. Smith poem "Flores Woman." 

As part of this initiative, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program launched the month-long Whose Body? Project. Dodge Poetry featured eight video posts (two per week), of poets using poetry to approach the question “Whose Body?” from any perspective they chose. You can visit our Tumblr to view the videos of readings by poets C. Bain, Jericho Brown, Rigoberto Gonzalez, Ada Limón, Joseph Millar, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Priscilla Orr and Rachel Wiley.  

To culminate this month of Poetry & the Body, we hosted the Whose Body? Celebration and Reclamation event in Princeton, New Jersey, featuring a diverse group of poets in a day of performances, readings, conversations and writing activities approaching the question from many points of view. Featured performers included: C. Bain • Kay Ulanday Barrett  • Mahogany L. Browne • Robert Carnevale • Cortney Charleston • Ona Gritz • Nicole Homer • Priscilla Orr • JC Todd • Margaret Waldock • Rachel Wiley 

2017: Poetry & Migration

In March 2017, each organization in the Poetry Coalition presented programs and projects on the theme of migration, under the title Because We Come from Everything: Poetry & Migration. As part of this initiative, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program hosted a special event that featured documentary film, visual art and poetry speaking to the theme of migration in the natural world.