Montclair Offers to Host Dodge Poetry Festival

by Staff

The township of Montclair, New Jersey, recently offered to host the financially beleagured Dodge Poetry Festival, a biennial event sponsored by the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Foundation. "We can save this festival," Montclair Township manager Joseph Hartnett told the Star-Ledger on Sunday. "The Dodge is a festival of national if not international renown. We consider ourselves among the premier arts communities in New Jersey...and we want to build on that." The festival, which was founded in 1986 in Waterloo Village, New Jersey, and moved to Hillsborough, New Jersey, in 2003, was suspended earlier this year.

"I know how much Dodge’s work in poetry means to so many of you, and I wanted to let you know the foundation will remain committed to poetry as a signature interest," wrote foundation president David Grant in an e-mail to supporters on January 13. "But financial realities are forcing us to take a different approach to our poetry activities in 2009 and 2010. Specifically, and most importantly, we know we will not be able to produce a poetry festival in September 2010 on the scale of past festivals."

This week, however, Montclair officials will be showing representatives of the Dodge Poetry Festival the area's business district in hopes that the four-day event will be held there in 2010. Grant told the Star-Ledger that Montclair's offer is one of several he has received since announcing the festival's suspension. According to Grant's January e-mail, production costs have more than doubled over the past three festivals. The Star-Ledger reported that the festival carries a $1.3 million price tag.