January 17, 2006

Dodge Poetry Festival 2006 - a preview

The 11 th biennial Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival this year will be Thursday, September 28 - Sunday, October 1 st. This year the festival returns to historic Waterloo Village in Stanhope, NJ (after a one-year relocation in 2004)

It is the largest poetry event in North America - four days of poetry that have been called “poetry heaven” by former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass, “a new Woodstock” by the Christian Science Monitor, and simply “Wordstock” by The New York Times.

The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival has been featured in four PBS television series with Bill Moyers. The Language of Life series was filmed at the 1994 Festival and Fooling With Words covered the 1998 Festival. Both were broadcast and

The list of poets who have appeared at past festivals is impressive:
Chinua Achebe, Diane Ackerman, Adonis, Marjorie Agosín, Claribel Alegría, Jimmy Santiago Baca, Amiri Baraka, Coleman Barks, Toni Blackman, Robert Bly, Gwendolyn Brooks, Joseph Bruchac, Dennis Brutus, Cyrus Cassells, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Marilyn Chin, Sandra Cisneros, Lucille Clifton, Billy Collins, Victor Hernández Cruz, Pablo Antonio Cuadra, Bei Dao, Toi Derricote, Dianne di Prima, Mark Doty, Rita Dove, Stephen Dunn, Sandra Maria Esteves, Carolyn Forché, Tess Gallagher, Deborah Garrison, Sandra Gilbert, Allen Ginsberg, Donald Hall, Joy Harjo, Michael S. Harper, Robert Hass, Lance Henson, Edward Hirsch, Jane Hirshfield, Marie Howe, Rex Lee Jim, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Jane Kenyon, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Galway Kinnell, Carolyn Kizer, Etheridge Knight, Kenneth Koch, Stanley Kunitz, Kurtis Lamkin, Tato Laviera, Rika Lesser, Philip Levine, Shirley Geok-Lin Lim, Thomas Lux, Linda McCarriston, Heather McHugh, Sandra McPherson, W. S. Merwin, Pat Mora, Paul Muldoon, David Mura, Nuala NÍ Dhomhnaill, Naomi Shihab Nye, Joyce Carol Oates, Sharon Olds, Mary Oliver, Alicia Ostriker, Octavio Paz, Marge Piercy, Robert Pinsky, Adrienne Rich, The Roots, Sonia Sanchez, Ed Sanders, Vikram Seth, Aharon Shabtai, Gary Snyder, Göran Sonnevi, William Stafford, Gerald Stern, Ruth Stone, Sekou Sundiata, Luci Tapahonso, Jean Valentine, Cecilia Vicunia, Diane Wakoski, Anne Waldman, Theodore Weiss, C. K. Williams, Nellie Wong, Elizabeth Woody, Franz Wright, and Daisy Zamora, among others. The official list of poets for this year isn't available as of this writing.

A few thousand teachers from across the United States attend the festival. Many bring students for the Thursday events.

Sessions include "Poets on Poetry" sessions in which featured poets discuss poems that have influenced their development as poets. Featured Poets leading these sessions will also read some of their own work and take questions from the audience.

Everyone joins in the Concert Tent for A Poetry Sampler (brief readings by a cross-section of this year's Featured Poets) followed by a series of conversations in which groups of poets address a common topic.

While a few daytime events are reserved for high school students on Thursday, and for teachers and student teachers on Friday, the Festival is continuously open to the public.
Free admission on Thursday and on Friday is only available to teachers who pre-register. Teachers who do not pre-register before September 15 will be offered admission at a special discounted ticket price on Thursday and Friday.

Registration materials for Teacher Day will be mailed in February 2006. To receive registration information sign up for their teacher mailing list. More information for teachers...

Visit the festival website at: http://www.grdodge.org/poetry/main.htm


  1. highly recommended festival! try to go for at least 2 days

  2. I've heard good things about this festival and watched one of the specials on PBS.

    Looked at the site - no info on the cost - how much are tickets?
    anyone have recommendations on decent, inexpensive lodging nearby?

    Is it worth my 9 hour drive and a a hotel + tickets to stay for a few days? (I'm not a teacher, so I assume I can't attend on Thurs/Friday????)

  3. How about John Updike at the festival?

  4. TJ

    after 9 hours you would have to stay. I recommend Friday & saturday if you just do an overnighter. The teachers on Friday area good group & saturday is a full day. Sundays are not usually a full day, though they often leave a few big guns for the end (I think Collins closed out last year)

    can't help on the lodging...

  5. Ticket prices (including multiple-day passes) and lodging info is on the Poetry Festival website, for anyone interested:

    I've heard that accommodations fill up quickly.


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