Poetry Coalition: Organizing around Themes of Social Importance


Dodge Poetry is a proud member of the Poetry Coalition.

Each year, members of the Poetry Coalition, an alliance of more than 25 independent poetry organizations across the United States, present special programming focused on a shared theme of social importance. 


2022: Poetry and Disability Justice 

This year, members will devote March through July 2022 to exploring the theme “The future lives in our bodies: Poetry & Disability Justice” in a series of programs in eleven cities that will reach an anticipated audience of more than 300,000 individuals nationwide.

The line “The future lives in our bodies” is from the poem “Femme Futures” by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Dodge Poetry's Free Virtual Event

Join Dodge Poetry virtually on April 29th from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. (EDT) for “The future lives in our bodies: Poetry & Disability Justice," a poetry reading and conversation exploring how poetry can inspire questions about disability justice and spark increased engagement with this important theme. Moderated by poet and essayist Ona Gritz and featuring poets Ina Cariño, Camisha Jones and Stephen Kuusisto, this event is offered for free.

Registration is required

CART captioning and ASL signing will be provided. You can access the captions for this event at the following link:  https://www.streamtext.net/player?event=DodgePoetry

Ina Cariño is a 2022 Whiting Award winner and holds an MFA in creative writing from North Carolina State University. Their poetry appears in Guernica, Poetry Northwest, Poetry Magazine, The Paris Review Daily, Waxwing, New England Review, and elsewhere. Ina is a Kundiman fellow and a recipient of a fellowship from the Vermont Studio Center. They are the winner of the 2021 Alice James Award for Feast, forthcoming from Alice James Books in March 2023. In 2021, Ina was selected as one of four winners of the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest. In 2019, Ina founded a reading series, Indigena Collective, centering marginalized creatives in the community.

Ona Gritz's books include the Present Imperfect, a collection of essays, and Geode, a finalist for the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award. Her poems have appeared in PloughsharesCatamaran Literary ReaderThe Bellevue Literary Review, Stone GatheringOne Art, and elsewhere. She has written about the disability experience for The New York TimesThe GuardianMore MagazineParents, and in her long running column in Literary Mama. Recent honors include two Notable mentions in The Best American Essays, a Best Life Story in Salon, and a winning entry in The Poetry Archive Now: Wordview 2020 project. August Or Forever, a middle grade novel, is forthcoming from Fitzroy Books next year.

Camisha L. Jones is the author of Flare (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Her poems – which often center experiences of hearing loss, chronic pain, gender, and race – can be found at The New York Times, Poets.org, Button Poetry, The Deaf Poets Society, Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Quarry, and elsewhere. Camisha is Managing Director and Poem of the Week editor at Split This Rock, a national non-profit in DC that centers poetry that bears witness to injustice and provokes change. Find her on Facebook as Poet Camisha Jones and on Twitter and Instagram as 1Camisha.

Stephen Kuusisto holds a University Professorship at Syracuse and is the author of the memoirs Have Dog, Will Travel: A Poet’s Journey; Planet of the Blind (a New York Times “Notable Book of the Year”) and Eavesdropping: A Memoir of Blindness and Listening and of the poetry collections Only Bread, Only Light; Letters to Borges; and Old Horse, What is to Be Done? He travels and lectures widely on human rights, disability, literature, and the advantages of guide dogs and human-animal relationships.   


Previous Programming:

2021: Poetry & Environmental Justice

In 2021, the theme was: “It is burning./ It is dreaming./ It is waking up.": Poetry & Environmental Justice

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program hosted a free virtual screening of The Sacrifice Zone documentary, followed by poetry and discussion about environmental justice featuring Maria Lopez-Nuñez, Dr. Jalonne White-Newsome, filmmaker Julie Winokur, and poets Camille T. Dungy and Marina Carreira.

The Ironbound district of Newark, New Jersey (home of the Dodge Poetry Festival), is one of the most toxic neighborhoods in the country. Maria Lopez-Nuñez, a Honduran-American resident there, is waging a war for environmental justice. She is part of the Ironbound Community Corporation, one of the most effective environmental justice organizations in the country. The Sacrifice Zone is a 35-minute documentary that follows Maria as she leads a group of environmental justice fighters determined to break the cycle of poor communities of color serving as dumping grounds for our consumer society.

You can watch the discussion here


2020: Poetry & Protest

In 2020, the theme was: “I am deliberate / and afraid / of nothing: Poetry & Protest.” 

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

You can watch the recording of this event here

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


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.