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43rd Annual CCNY Poetry Festival set for May 8

Tracy K. Smith, the 2012 Pulitzer Prize winner in poetry, will be the guest poet at City College's 43rd annual poetry festival, May 8, 2015.

Pulitzer-Prize winning poet winning author Tracy K. Smith will be the featured guest poet at the 43rd annual City College of New York Poetry Festival, Friday, May 8. The all-verse event runs 9:15 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Aronow Theater, located in CCNY’s NAC building. Dubbed “the Woodstock of the Spoken Word,” the festival is New York’s longest-running poetry celebration. 

More than 150 students from approximately 50 schools are expected to recite their poems at this year’s event. 

"The City College Poetry Festival is the democratic voice of poetry in New York City public schools,” said Pamela Laskin, a lecturer in the City College English department and director of the CCNY Poetry Outreach Center, which produces the festival. “Its assumption is there are many poets, and they all have terrific stories to tell. This would make Walt Whitman proud." 

Norma Dunkley, a teacher at P.S. 368 in Brooklyn, said the festival is something young students always look forward to. “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,” she added. 

Some of the children who participated in the festival’s early years are now teachers who bring their classes. 

“In 1975, I introduced a third grade student to the audience of 400 cheering students, teachers, friends and family: In 1996, this same individual returned to the festival at City and introduced the readers from her fourth grade class,” recalled Barry Wallenstein, CCNY professor emeritus and former festival director. 

In addition to the Knopf Publishers Prize, the festival presents a special award for the best poem in a language other than English. Reflecting the diversity of New York City and of CCNY, poems have been submitted to the festival in almost 20 different languages over its history. 

About The City College of New York
Since 1847, The City College of New York has provided low-cost, high-quality education for New Yorkers in a wide variety of disciplines. More than 16,000 students pursue undergraduate and graduate degrees in: the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; the Bernard and Anne Spitzer School of Architecture; the School of Education; the Grove School of Engineering; the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education, and the Colin Powell School for Civic and Global Leadership. U.S. News, Princeton Review and Forbes all rank City College among the best colleges and universities in the United States.



Jay Mwamba
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