Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading
ABOUT THE MARATHON
There are three things to consider when the New Year’s Day Poetry Marathon sweeps you into its gracefully uncouth embrace — what it is, what it was, and who you will be when it’s over. An untamed gathering of the heart’s secret, wild nobility — over 140 poets together revealing not just that a better life could exist, but that it already does, sexy and wise, rancorous and sweet, big hearted and mad as hell. An avenging engine of resistance and eager vehicle of the nascent year. The Marathon measures its success through insurrectionist reframings of the universe, an in-it-together courage that crafts a community out of the riot of lineages and traditions we all emerge from. This collective effort also helps fund as many as 85 additional events every year — not to mention The Poetry Project Newsletter, The Recluse and legendary workshops. It’s our largest fundraiser of the year, and arguably the most inspired ongoing literary event in the city.
Since Anne Waldman gathered 31 poets at the very first marathon on January 2, 1974, countless forward-facing luminaries have thrown their voices into the cauldron — among them Eric Bogosian, William S. Burroughs, Spalding Gray, Jackson Mac Low, Ed Sanders, Pedro Pietri, Helen Adam, John Cage, Joe Ceravolo, John Giorno, Ted Berrigan, Yoko Ono, Amiri Baraka, Gordon Matta Clark, Jim Carroll, Bernadette Mayer, Alice Notley, Steve Cannon, Hannah Weiner, Kathy Acker, Arthur Russell, Gerard Malanga, Suzanne Vega, Allen Ginsberg, Patti Smith, and Philip Glass. The list grows every year, as does the roster small press publishers and local restaurants who donate deliciousness in the form of astounding books, journals and food. We’re not so secretly in love with them all — and with the 75 selfless volunteers too who keep the Marathon running.
Whether you stay for a little while or for the long haul, whether you’re part of the standing room only experience at sunset or with the handful of diehards as the final poet reads her last word in the predawn sanctuary, you will be transformed for the year to come. Your presence helps launch a great flare into the otherwise impenetrable darkness of the 21st century night. And in that flash, you will become what you were always meant to be, eager practitioner of the infinite, uncommodifiable, uncategorizable, rough around the elegant edges and ready for the world to hit you with its best shot. Get lost, end times — our calendar is all opening days. Come on in, new year, we’d like to introduce you to your own gigantic possibilities.
HOW THE MARATHON IS ORGANIZED
We receive many requests to perform in the Marathon, and we feel fortunate that so many people want to help us meet our fundraising goals. We only have about 150 spots and a huge artistic community to draw from. Below is some basic information about our selection process.
The Marathon is the Poetry Project’s annual benefit and a curated event, i.e. not run open-reading style where people can sign-up.
Invitations are issued by our programming committee made up of Poetry Project staff & board, plus all of our series coordinators (positions that rotate every 2 years).
The end result (the final schedule) consists of innovative performers who have a longtime connection to The Poetry Project and/or the Downtown arts scene (poetry, music, film, dance), poets who are actively participating in the NY literary arts scene by giving reading, publishing books, organizing readings, editing journals etc… , and, significantly, performers who have never participated in a Marathon before. Each year we have 30-50 first-timers appear, which means that many from the prior year must sit out. Once you are invited, it doesn’t mean that you will get invited every year! We appreciate your understanding and support of the effort it take to present a high-quality fundraiser.
Posts tagged Annual New Year's Day Marathon Reading
Art by Jim Behrle, a dedicated Annual New Year's Day Marathon Volunteer
The Poetry Project’s Annual New Year’s Day Marathon will turn 40 this year and we’re going to need all the help we can get to celebrate its legacy and, most importantly, raise enough funds to support the 160+ readers and performers who present their work at our 80-90 events every season!
Typically, 80 or more volunteers are on deck throughout the day to help with set-up, reader/performer check-in, selling the hundreds of awesome, generously donated books, chaps, and mags at our impromptu bookstore, dishing up donated food and bevs from local purveyors of yum, and helping us clean it all up at the end. In exchange for a 2 hour shift, there’s free admission in it for all of our volunteers.
We’ve been grateful to have had the support of a really terrific bunch of neighborhood food and beverage donors, as well as book donors from across the country, throughout the years. For them we have extreme gratitude – and we’re always looking to expand with the generosity of new donors, too.
If you’re interested in donating food from your restaurant, cafe, bakery or publications put out by your small press, we would be honored. We thank our all of our New Year’s Day donors with generous, grateful public acknowledgement.
If you’re interested in volunteering or donating books, food, and/or other delectables, please contact Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you to Ted Roeder for taking these terrific photos on 1/1/13!
[Poet & Musician John S. Hall on why he doesn't want to read for the Annual New Year's Day Marathon reading this year]
For the past 20 years or so, I’ve been asked to read at the Poetry Project’s New Year’s Marathon reading and I’ve readily accepted, each time. It is an honor and a privilege to read among such a fantastic group of poets and musicians, and it has been thrilling, every year, to participate. It is also nice to think that I am giving something to the Project, which has given me so much, and which does such great work. But I’ll admit that each year, I expect to Read At The New Year’s Marathon (“RATNYM”); I tend to assume I will be doing it; and I tend to think that I’m entitled to do it, solely by virtue of having RATNYM’d so many times before.
But this year, I won’t. I expect I’ll be asked again, but this year, I will decline. Rather than giving to the Project by RATNYMing, I will be giving to the Project by not RATNYMing. I expect to experience an unparalleled sense of peace, joy, and equanimity. For the few of you who may be curious, I will explain.
Thank you to Hugh Burckhardt for taking these photos on 1/1/12!
Thank you to Greg Fuchs for taking these pictures on 1/1/11!
LETTER FROM THE DIRECTOR
2011’s New Year’s Day Marathon Reading/Benefit was another extraordinary poetry happening. Bob Holman started us off at 2:15pm with a Happy New Year Poem that he wrote the night before and I, in keeping with Project custom, clocked in with the final word at 1:30am. We heard from about 140 performers in-between, with too many surprises to note, but props to musician Nick Hallett whose voice stopped me in my tracks. Whatever I was about to do probably never got done! Even though we produce this reading, the performances (along with the collective momentum) always peel away blinders from my vision. For this I am grateful. And, huzzah! We raised over $18,000 this year. These funds, as you know, allow us to pay the rent, continue programming 80+ readings per season and plan for the Project’s future. Thank you for every dollar you spent on admission, food, books or Membership that day. And thank you to the food establishments and publishers who donated their goods to us. There is a list of whom they are below and we hope you will support them throughout the year. Two Boots launched an annual Project tribute pizza, which will celebrate a different poet each year. I didn’t get to the slices of “Wichita Vortex Sutra” pizza (for Allen Ginsberg, of course) fast enough, but Arlo said it was a delicious invention. Thanks to Phil and Two Boots.
Poet Karen Weiser told me I looked calmer than an Artistic Director should. I can’t adequately express my gratitude to all of our trusty volunteers for taking most of the weight off our shoulders that day. This event is labor intensive and we simply wouldn’t get very far without dozens of people going above and beyond.
So, back to what we do best… host more readings. It’s my pleasure to mention a few of the forthcoming. Patti Smith made her Poetry Project debut accompanied by Lenny Kaye on guitar on February 10, 1971. They will return for a special 40th anniversary concert of poetry and music to benefit the Poetry Project on February 9th. The Project has been kept in business by poets for 45 years. On March 23rd its former Artistic Directors will unite for a talk and reading. Okay I’m not impartial but I think it’s not to be missed! Also look for readings by Clark Coolidge, Ken Irby and Caroline Bergvall. The calendar (soon to be posted online) will reveal all.
We hope that 2011 holds much promise for each of us and for the state of the world. We appreciate your devotion to our New Year’s celebration and thank you, again, for being part of the Poetry Project.
FROM THE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
The 37th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading was great. Always the biggest Poetry Project event of the year, this one featured more than 140 performers and an audience of more than 1,000. Our tiny office staff of 3 persons is no match for the Marathon! We needed a lot of help and we got it from these wonderful people:
Aaron Kiely, Adeena Karasick, Alex Abelson, Amanda Deutch, Atticus Fierman, Barry Denny, Betsy Block, Bill Kushner, Bill Martin, Bob Rosenthal, Brenda Coultas, Brett Price, CAConrad, Corrine Fitzpatrick, Chana Porter, Christa Quint, Christine Kelly, Cori Copp, Corinne Dekkers, Daniel Kent, David Kirschenbaum, Derek Kroessler, Diana Hamilton, Diana Rickard, Dixie Appel, Don Yorty, Douglas “All Day” Rothschild, Doug Eberle, Elinor Nauen, Emily XYZ, Erica Wessmann, Evelyn Reilly, Franklin Bruno, Gail Tuch, Geoff Mottram, Geoffrey Olsen, Hilary Johnson, Ian Wilder, Jeffrey Perkins, Jeremy Hoevenaar, Jessica Fiorini, Jo Ann Wasserman, Joe Elliot, Karen Garthe, Kathleen Connell, Katie Fowley, KB Jones, Kye Ginger, Kimberly Wilder, Kyle R. Triplett, Laura Elrick, Lauren Russell, Lisa Ozag, Macgregor Card, Marcella Durand & Ishmael, Margaret Carson, Mariette Papic, Merry Fortune, Minna Periniva, Miranda Lee Reality Torn, Nathaniel Siegel, Nick Morrow, Nicole Peyrafitte, Nina Freeman, Phyllis Wat, Rebecca Melnyk, Sara Akant, Sophie Aster Prevallet, Stephanie Gray, Stephanie Jo Elstro, Thom Donovan, Tom Weiss, Will Edmiston, and probably some others who I missed. David Vogen & Jim Behrle deserve special thanks for pulling a day-long shift at the sound table.
Food and services were generously provided by these local businesses and friends:
Bob Rosenthal, Buttercup Bake Shop, Christa Quint, Dael Orlandersmith, Gillian McCain, Grandaisy Bakery, Grey Dog, Magnolia Bakery, Nathaniel Siegel, Nicole Peyrafitte, Porto Rico Coffee, The Source Unltd., S’MAC, Two Boots, and Veselka.
And we had an exceptionally well-stocked book table this year thanks to these people:
Akilah Oliver, Anne Waldman, Anselm Berrigan, Belladonna*, Chain (journal), Coffee House Press, Cuneiform Press, Eileen Tabios, Gilian McCain, Granary Books, Joanna Cooper, Litmus Press, Meritage Press, Murat Nemat-Nejat, Nicole Peyrafitte, Peter Bushyeager, Susan Mills, Ugly Duckling Presse, and United Artists.
It’s nice to begin the new year taking part in the collective effort that makes the marathon happen—thank you all for making it possible.
Check out our awesome John Godfrey / 45th Anniversary Broadside, designed & printed by our friends over at Ugly Duckling Presse! This broadside will be for sale at our New Year’s Day Marathon Reading, along with broadsides from years past — $5 each or 3 for $10!
Thank you to Jacob Burckhardt for taking these fantastic shots later in the evening on New Year’s Day. All photographs are (c) Jacob Burckhardt 2010.
Thank you to Greg Fuchs for another set of fantastic New Year’s Day Reading photographs. All images in this gallery are (c) Greg Fuchs 2010. Enjoy! We’ll also be posting photographs from Jacob Burckhardt soon.
FROM THE DIRECTOR
I began the week leading up to the 36th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading feeling nonchalant and feeling worried about how nonchalant I felt, but after we got through the first few organizational hiccups I realized the uncomfortable feeling was that of confidence. I knew this year was going to be extraordinary and indeed it was. The performances were electric (Miguel Gutierrez’s dance harnessed the off-the wall energy of the day) and the community response was enormous. I have never seen the Sanctuary so thronged with people. As the great poet Sparrow wrote to us the next day, “The new was new, and so was everything else”. And, wow, we raised over $18,000 this year, which is about $5,000 more than the customary amount. These funds, as you know, allow us to pay the rent, continue our programming and plan for the Project’s future. Thank you for every dollar you spent on admission, food, books or Membership that day.
I made some opening remarks that invoked words written by Allen Ginsberg in his introduction to Out of This World about St. Mark’s being a culture church and a place where many people have been coming for decades to tap into the great accumulation of granny wisdom about poetry, familiarity and gossip. Ah, the true meaning of New Year’s Day! We hope that 2010 holds much promise for each of us and for the state of the world. We appreciate your devotion to our celebration and thank you, again, for being part of the Poetry Project.
FROM THE PROGRAM COORDINATOR
In the five years I have been working in the office, I have never met a marathon quite like Number 36. By 3pm we had over 300 people come through the door. The official head count of 1,250 exceeds recent memory, as does the profit… over $18 grand!
Needless to say, the marathon was and never is possible without the generosity of time and spirit given to the Poetry Project by you, our community-at-large. To the 150 “acts”, 80+ volunteers, dozens of food and book donors and to the attentive and lasting crowd of hundreds, we say thank you! We love you! High-five! Big hug!
Volunteers: Bob Rosenthal, Don Yorty, Douglas Rothschild, Betsy Block, Nick Morrow, Sue Landers, Natasha Dwyer, Christa Quint, Joe Elliot, Diana Hamilton, Eddie Hopely, Elinor Nauen, Will Creeley, Mina Pam Dick, David Kirschenbaum, Ian Wilder, Kim Wilder, Gary Sullivan, Nada Gordon, Joanna Fuhrman, Donna Brook, Tom Savage, Jennifer Keane, Vincent Keane, Van Zimmerman, Kendra Sullivan, Simone White, Barry Denny, Paolo Javier, Greg Fuchs, Jacob Burckhardt, CAConrad, Laura Elrick, Evelyn Reilly, Adeena Karasick, Safia Karasick Southey, Sophie Prevallet, Phyllis Wat, Gail Tuch, Stephanie Gray, Michael Scharf, Bill Kushner, Steve Rosenthal, Patricia Spears Jones, Ed Friedman, John S. Hall, Edwin Torres, Erica Kaufman, Paul Foster Johnson, Ana Bozicevic, Amy King, Geoffrey Olsen, Kimberly Lyons, Lo Gallucio, Akilah Oliver, Laura Jaramillo, Dixie Appel, Lauren Russell, Nicole Wallace, Thomas Seeley, Will Edmiston, Jim Behrle, Todd Colby, Gillian McCain, Kelly Ginger, Nathaniel Siegel, Jeffrey Perkins, Eddie Berrigan, Kathleen Connell, Cori Copp, Brett Price, Evan Commander, Chris Martin, Dee Dee Thompson, Jeremy Hoevenaar, Alice Whitwham, John Coletti, KB Jones, Mariana Ruiz Firmat, Derek Kroessler, Douglas Piccinnini, Erica Wessmann, Ivy Johnson, Dustin Williamson, Kari Hensley, Lisa Ozag, Geoff Mottran, Brenda Iijima, Rachel Levitsky, Nic Veroli, Frank Sherlock, Nicole Peyrafitte, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte, Pierre Joris, Robert O’Haire, and whomever else I may have forgotten!
Books: Wave Books, Meritage Press, Nightboat Books, Bootstrap Books, Ugly Ducking Presse, Libellum, BlazeVox Books, Belladonna Books, Futurepoem, Karl Gartung, George Albon, Ted Greenwald, Giovanna Frene, Federica Marte, Tracey McTague & Brendan Lorber, Larry Kearney, Narrow House, Gina Myers, Richard Hell, Rachel Zolf, Ryan Murphy, Natalie Lyalin, Matthew Thorburn, Susan Mills, Pierre Joris, Nicole Peyrafitte, Anselm Berrigan, Amanda Deutch, Simon Pettet, and day of donors!
Food & Services: Amy’s Bread, Momofuku/Milk Bar, Porto Rico Importing Company, Grand Daisy Bakery, Magnolia Bakery, S’Mac, Two Boots, Veselka, Curly’s Lunch, The Source, Unltd., Christa Quint, Gillian McCain, and Nicole Peyrafitte!
Davids: I would like to especially shout out the names David Vogen and Dave Nolan, the two tireless gents hunched over the sound board all day (and night) long. Heroes! Champs! Enablers of sound!
Cheers to the dawn of a new decade.
Soon the bean soakers will come to soak the beans for the chili, boxes of books will be pleasingly arranged in the Parish Hall, the stage in the Sanctuary will be vacuumed… . We’re working late hours to ensure that the New Year’s Day reading on Friday is a great success, but we need you, the audience! General admission of $18 gets you in for the whole day and you’ll see New Year’s Day favorites Patti Smith, Yoshiko Chuma, Philip Glass, John Giorno, Tracie Morris, Foamola, CAConrad, Bruce Andrews & Sally Silvers, as well as some exciting first time participants Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, Roy Nathanson, Rachel Zolf, Joan Larkin & Ana Bozicevic. You can view the list of participants here. Happy New Year, and see you soon.
The Poetry Project Staff