For a small state, New Jersey has produced, or been home to, a disproportionate number of poets who shaped, and reshaped, 19th and 20th century American poetry through their innovative work: Walt Whitman, William Carlos Williams, Joyce Kilmer, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka – to name a few. The state continues to be fertile territory for contemporary poets, as the home of such notable poets as Herschel Silverman, Alicia Ostriker, and Hoboken’s own Joel Lewis, Danny Shot and Eliot Katz.
The Hoboken Historical Museum is pleased to team up with CavanKerry Press to celebrate the state's 350th birthday with a showcase bridging the past and present of New Jersey poetry at the Museum, 1301 Hudson St., on Sunday, April 6, at 3 p.m. All are welcome, and the event is free, thanks to support from the New Jersey Historical Commission.
This two-hour public event will feature 10 contemporary New Jersey poets reading poems written by their historic predecessors, as well as a poem of their own. In addition to the above-mentioned poets, other contemporary poets reading at the event will be Teresa Carson, Vivian Demuth, Cat Doty, Reg E. Gaines, Joan Cusack Handler, and Rich Villar.
Dr. Mary Rizzo, Public Historian in residence at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers—Camden, will introduce the program, providing historical context on these great New Jersey poets and give insights into the importance of their works in American literary history. Dr. Rizzo formerly served as the Associate and Interim Executive Director for the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, and collaborated with CavanKerry Press on an innovative program called Poetry Heals, which brings trained poets into hospitals to facilitate workshops for healthcare professionals, helping them use poetry to develop their deep listening, speaking, and thinking skills. She has been actively involved in the planning to commemorate the 350th anniversary of New Jersey, serving on the education committee.
The organizers of the event are Teresa Carson, Associate Publisher of CavanKerry Press, and Danny Shot, former editor/publisher of Long Shot Magazine, and a poet and English teacher, along with Robert Foster, Executive Director of the Hoboken Historical Museum. Carson is a poet as well as publisher at the not-for-profit literary press, which has been based in Fort Lee, NJ, since its inception in 2000. She has coordinated events such as poetry readings, book parties and fundraising events, including statewide community outreach programs for CavanKerry Press. Danny Shot teaches English at Brooklyn Tech High School. He co-founded Long Shot Magazine with Eliot Katz in the early 1980s. He has performed at, as well as coordinated, events throughout the region.