Thursday, July 24, 2008

It's That Time Again...

Every two years, the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival takes place in Stanhope, NJ and over 100,000 poets and poetry lovers descend on the space. Of course, I'm heading up north with my girls and we get more and more excited each time they add a new poet to the schedule.

My favorite poet, Lucille Clifton, has been at every Dodge Festival since the festival began. There's even word that she packed 10,000 people into a venue there once. Another one of the poets I admire most, Sharon Olds, will also be back this time around. I cannot wait to hear her get down. (I'm secretly hoping to hear "The Premonition" or, at least, "Sex Without Love"...)

In addition to Clifton and Olds, Dodge has booked a slew of poets I know and love. Check out the entire list here.

The only problem is, this year, there are so many fabulous things happening here that conflict with Dodge! First of all, I have a bone to pick with my alma mater because they've planned their annual Lit Fest during the same week at the Dodge Festival! This is sacrilege! The Lit Fest is always in October and now (because we've already paid for Dodge, and poets do not have money to throw away) I'm going to miss one of the coolest brothas that ever stepped to the mic or the page: Mr. Doug Kearney. I'm pretty darn mad about this, as I have been talking him up with friends in Norfolk for an entire year, and now I won't even be able to see him bless the space with his fire, brilliance and general all-out insanity. Still, I can't boycott the Lit Fest because I've just fallen in love with Late Wife and the Lit Fest tapped the Pulitzer Prize-winning author to read as well.

And, if that isn't enough to drive all the writers here crazy, the city is also holding its first ever "Books in the Park" Day. They're asking all area authors to brings their books to sell. A write up that poet Toni Wynn forwarded me says this of the event: "Our event will be a paired with the 3rd Annual AT&T Sunrise to Sunset Acoustic Music Festival. The 'Books in the Park' Festival will be held on approximately 2 acres on the western end of Town Point Park. The area will have a village feel with a Children’s Pavilion, Poet Lounge, and larger tented areas with fiction and non-fiction genres..." A Poet Lounge?! I don't even know what's in a Poet Lounge, but I wanna be there! Alas, I won't be able to go because it's on the same weekend as Dodge :-(

My dream for Dodge weekend would be a marriage of both worlds or to find a way to be in two places at once, but I doubt that either of those things will happen. Nevertheless, below there's photo of Sekou Sundiata during his last performance at Dodge, but if you click on it, you'll find another poet waiting :-) This is as close as I could get to having the best of both worlds at my fingertips...