Dodge Poetry Festival Will Go On

Adrian Versteegh

The 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival will go ahead after all. Seven months after Dodge Foundation CEO David Grant announced the suspension of the popular biennial event, citing shrinking assets and increasing venue costs, the New York Times reports that the organization is on track to secure a new hosting partner by September.

“We believe in this festival,” Grant told the Times. “It’s something we’re known for. So not being able to do our own event—that was quite a blow.” The decision to cancel prompted an outpouring of grief from the poetry community, including letters of encouragement from poets Jane Hirshfield and C. K. Williams. In April, officials from Montclair, New Jersey, approached Dodge to express interest in hosting the festival. “That caused us to say, ‘You know what, maybe this can work,’” Grant said. The foundation announced that it would solicit proposals from prospective partners, and by July the list had been whittled down to three New Jersey locations: Montclair, Newark, and Trenton. A final decision is expected next month.

Held in even-numbered years since 1986, the Dodge Poetry Festival is the largest poetry event in North America. Its 2008 cycle attracted more than nineteen thousand people to Waterloo Village in Stanhope, New Jersey. While Grant, who steps down as Dodge CEO next summer, will not be playing an executive role during the 2010 installment, he will still be around to enjoy the fruits of his labors. “I will definitely be there in the audience,” he says.