Poetry to the People


The 8th annual New York City Poetry Festival will be held on Governors Island, July 28th and 29th. New York City is the world capital of poetry. This festival unites the extensive group of New York natives who value the skill of translating emotion into language. The free event invites people of all ages, experiences, and perspectives to join in learning from, and celebrating poetry.   

Image courtesy of the Poetry Society of New York

250 unique voices will be reading original content to an anticipated crowd 14,000 people strong. The event takes place on Colonels Row, a short ferry ride away, on Governors Island.  At the location, attendees will be surrounded by Victorian Homes and can shelter themselves under the shade of centuries-old trees. Poetry will be performed from 5 different stages. Guests can also visit the Ring of Daisies Open Mic Area, which is open to poets of any level. The Poetry Society of New York encourages all individuals to share their words with the world.

This year, the Poetry Society of New York partnered with the Visible Poetry Project in efforts to make poetry more accessible. 30 filmmakers joined forces with 30 poets to bring poetry to the screen. The creations experiment with new ways to experience poetry.  Showings will take place on both Saturday and Sunday.



The headliners for the 2018 festival are Nico Tortorella, Terrace Hayes, Ladan Osman, and Danielle Pafunda. Tortorella is an actor, author, and activist. He is most known for co-starring, alongside Kevin Bacon, as  Jacob Wells in The Following and for his current starring role in Younger. Tortorella is an advocate for the LGBTAIA+ community and often touches on themes such as polyamory, gender expression, self-care, and identity. Terrace Hayes is adept at creating meaningful, and thought-provoking poetry and was the recipient of the 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award. Danielle Pafunda is also commended for her influential words. Her work has appeared in three editions of The Best American Poetry and she currently sits on the board of directors of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts.

Image courtesy of the Poetry Society of New York

Lastly, Ladan Osman has had works translated into 10 languages and uses poetry to address key issues like gender, discrimination, and colonialism.


The festival is also welcoming many food trucks, book vendors, and authors. Foods, books, blank journals, and poetry will be for sale, so prepare to return home with a full stomach, new reading material,  and an enriched mind.