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April 9, 2009

CCNY’s 37th Annual Spring Poetry Festival – The Woodstock Of The Spoken Word – To Take Place MAY 15

 NEW YORK, April 9, 2009 – The 37th Annual City College Spring Poetry Festival, an all-day, all-verse event that has become New York’s longest-running, most established and democratic poetry celebration, will take place 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 15, in Theater B of Aaron Davis Hall, on the campus of The City College of New York (CCNY) at 135th St. and Convent Avenue.  This year’s featured guest poet is the award-winning Stanley Moss.

Over its 37-year history, the Festival has attracted the participation of numerous celebrated poets.  They have included singer/songwriter Paul Simon, Allen Ginsberg, Gwendolyn Brooks, Muriel Rukeyser, Jayne Cortez, Adrienne Rich, Marie Ponsot, Marilyn Hacker, Philip Levine, Charles Simic, Colette Inez, Stanley Kunitz, Billy Collins, Alicia Ostriker, Elaine Equi, Barry Wallenstein and, most recently, Major Jackson.

“The Poetry Festival celebrates the free voices of the young people of New York City's public schools,” said Professor Barry Wallenstein, former Director of The Poetry Outreach Center.  “These students, who show their natural creativity in expressive language, are from every grade level, from all boroughs, and from an ever-growing range of schools.”  

The Festival is “something the children always look forward to,” adds Norma Dunkley, a teacher at P.S 368 in Brooklyn, who has been attending the Festival for over 10 years.  “It’s a blessing, something that is real to them, and it’s an entire year of poetry for the children, leading up to this celebration.  The teachers and the administrators love it, too.”

The event begins with readings by elementary school students, followed by poets from junior high schools.  Starting around noon, the winners of the Festival's citywide High School Poetry Contest will recite their award-winning poems.  They will be followed by readings by the featured guest poet, Stanley Moss.  The Festival concludes with college students, alumni, faculty and published poets from around the country reading their works from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.  Internationally known musician Serge Pesce, who has performed at previous festivals, will provide musical interludes and accompany some of the poets.

The Knopf Publishers Prize will award cash prizes to the top three winners of the citywide High School Poetry Contest.  In addition, the Festival will present a special award for the best poem in a language other than English.  Reflecting the diversity of the city and of CCNY, poems have been submitted to the Festival in almost 20 different languages.  

The Festival is sponsored by City College’s Division of Humanities and the Arts, Dean Fred Reynolds and the Poetry Outreach Center, with involvement from the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, the A.E.C. Foundation at The City College, President Gregory H. Williams, Don Jordan and the Alumni Association, Elena Sturman and the City College Fund, Knopf Publishers, the New York Times Foundation, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Rita S. and Stanley H. Kaplan Foundation, the Weissman Family Foundation, Poets & Writers Inc., the Independence Community Foundation, Helen and Murray Gruber, David and Harianne Wallenstein, the Poetry Society of America and Poets & Writers, Inc.

About the Featured Guest Poet
Stanley Moss has published the following books in the U.S. and the U.K.: “The Wrong Angel,” “Skull of Adam,” “The Intelligence of Cloud,” “Asleep in the Garden,” “A History Of Color: New and Collected Poems,” “New and Selected Poems, 2006,” “Song of Imperfection,” and “Rejoicing:Collected Poems, Spring 2009.” He has been a publisher and editor of the Sheep Meadow Press, a nonprofit press that publishes mostly poetry, for 30 years.  “Stanley Moss is American poetry’s best-kept secret,” John Ashbery notes, W.S. Merwin delights in the fact that: “Again and again, coming upon a poem of Stanley Moss’s, I have had the feeling of being taken by surprise.”  Mr. Moss makes his living as an old master picture dealer. He was educated at Trinity College and Yale University.

For more information about the 37th CCNY Spring Poetry Festival, please contact Pamela L. Laskin at (212) 650-6356, or go to http://www1.ccny.cuny.edu/prospective/humanities/poetry/.

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