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CCNY’s 38th Annual Spring Poetry Festival to Take Place May 14

L.S. Asekoff and Kimiko Hahn, featured poets at 38th Annual Spring Poetry Festival.

L.S. Asekoff, Kimiko Hahn are Featured Poets

The 38th Annual City College Poetry Festival will take place 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, May 14, in Theater B of Aaron Davis Hall at W. 135th Street and Convent Avenue on The City College campus.  Dubbed “the Woodstock of the Spoken Word,” the festival is an all-day, all-verse event that has become New York’s longest-running, most established and democratic poetry celebration.  

This year’s featured guest poets are L.S. Asekoff and Kimiko Hahn.  They join a long line of celebrated poets who have appeared at the festival that includes: 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, Major Jackson and , most recently, Stanley Moss.

“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.”  

Elise Buchman, an MFA graduate student at CCNY, has this to say about the festival:  “The Poetry Outreach is the highlight of my semester.  I teach 4th and 5th grades at PS 169 in Brooklyn.  The students are always greatly excited to see me, and I enjoy teaching them poetry.  They have such creative imaginations, and poetry allows them to use it, as well as giving them a chance to write.  They love the fact that they cannot write anything "wrong" when they write poetry.  They are so creative they give me wonderful ideas for my own writing!”

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 poets, L.S. Asekoff and Kimiko Hahn.  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. 

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 New York City and The City College of New York, poems have been submitted to the Festival in almost 20 different languages.  

The Festival is sponsored by City College’s Division of Humanities and Arts, Dean Geraldine Murphy and the Poetry Outreach Center.  Supporters include the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs, CUNY Central, the A.E.C. Foundation at The City College, CCNY Interim President Robert E. Paaswell, Grove School of Engineering Dean Joseph Barba, Don Jordan and the Alumni Association, Elena Sturman and the City College Fund, The Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation, Knopf Publishers, the Axe-Houghton Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, the Weissman Family Foundation, Peter Russell, David and Harianne Wallenstein, the Poetry Society of America and Poets & Writers, Inc.

About the Featured Guest Poets
L.S. Asekoff, former director of the MFA program at Brooklyn College, has received fellowships from the National Endowment of the Arts, The New York Foundation for the Arts and the Fund for Poetry.  His poems have appeared in such magazines as “Poetry,” “Paris Review,” “Triquarterly,” “The New Yorker” and “American Poetry Review.”  One of his poems, “Rounding the Horn,” was included in the anthology “Best Poems of 1997.”  He has published three books of poetry, “:Dreams of a Work” (Orchises, 1994); “North Star” (Orchises, 1997) and “The Gate of Horn.” (TriQuarterly, 2010).  His fourth book, “Freedom Hill” will be published by TriQuarterly in 2011.

Kimiko Hahn’s eight collections of poetry include “The Unbearable Heart,” which received an American Book Award; “Earshot,” recipient of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Prize and an Association of Asian American Studies Award; “The Narrow Road to the Interior,” whose title, she admits, is stolen from “Basho;” and “Toxic Flora,” poems prompted by science.  A chapbook, “A Field Guide to the Intractable,” is arranged in the manner of a journal, and published by Small Anchor Press, 2009.  Her latest writing for film, “Everywhere at Once,” was narrated by Jeanne Moreau and presented at The Cannes and Tribeca Film Festivals.  Recent honors include the Shelly Memorial Prize and PEN/Voelcker Award.  Ms. Hahn is a distinguished professor in the English department and MFA program at Queens College.

For more information about the 38th CCNY Spring Poetry Festival, please contact Pamela L. Laskin at (212) 650-6356, or go to: /prospective/humanities/poetry/.



Ellis Simon
p: 212.650.6460