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Hundreds of poets will ring in the new year for the Poetry Project


To ring in the new year, New York City hosts not just the ball drop, but another, more lyrical celebration - a marathon event with hundreds of poets presenting their original verses. And tomorrow will mark its 48th year running.


St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, which is a lovely church in the East Village, is home to the Poetry Project. They're hosting this 13-hour event online. Kyle Dacuyan is a poet and performer and the executive director of the Poetry Project.

KYLE DACUYAN: People are hungry for some kind of nourishing, surprising encounter with poetry. There is also a kind of dreamy or sometimes feverish quality of, you know, different readings and performances running into one another, kind of encountering and combusting and collaborating with one another in all of these impossible-to-expect ways.

MCCAMMON: The event reaches all the way around the globe, last year reaching listeners on every continent except Antarctica.

SIMONE WHITE: People say poets can't do anything. Like, people think that we're (laughter) like we're supposed to be crazy or something. Actually, this is an enormous logistical feat.

INSKEEP: Poet Simone White plans to read a brand-new piece of work tomorrow - so new, in fact, it doesn't have a title yet. This is like jazz improvisation. She shared a passage with us

WHITE: (Reading) Black doubling winged figment, not a figment. Angelic, coarse, drawn or spat upon, uncooperation. Maybe a very old curse. Without believing in an occult of any kind. Spittle or marks, having the quality of paper, film, besides transparency or rotting leaves, holes and filaments.

MCCAMMON: For Kyle Dacuyan, the executive director, the showcase is a chance to usher in a new year with a whole new outlook.

DACUYAN: It just feels like this really refreshing and surprising entrance to the next year, reflection on the past year. And whether we're listening and watching from our computers or from St. Mark's Church in-the-Bowery, you can always feel that crackle of shared listening.

MCCAMMON: More than 160 contributors are expected to participate in the event that launches a new year of possibility and poetry. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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