Newark Beats Out Montclair for Poetry Festival

Monday, October 5, 2009

Newark, New Jersey has beaten out Montclair, New Jersey to host the 2010 Dodge Poetry Festival. This is ironic, because the Dodge Foundation had originally canceled the festival because of the expense. 

Montclair residents had fought for the festival to be in their town, which makes sense because Montclair is an "artsy" town, and holding it on in the central business district on Bloomfield Avenue, but festival organizers, including David Grant, president and CEO of the Foundation, have elected to hold it in Newark instead. 

The last festival was at Waterloo Village in rural Stanhope and having it in Newark is certainly about as different as you can get.

Now I think that's it is wonderful that Newark is attempting becoming a place for writers, as the recent development of an ambitious M.F.A. program in creative writing at Rutgers-Newark attests, and I'm all for working hard to improve Newark. 

Eight towns showed interest in saving the festival and having it in their towns. However, the second article clearly states:
All were extraordinary in their openness and imagination," said Grant, adding that Montclair’s interest prompted the foundation to approach the project in a new way. Grant said Montclair helped spur Dodge to consider working with a partner to share costs and thus reduce the foundation’s subsidy. That’s what will happen with NJPAC and the city of Newark, he said.

"We will always be grateful to Montclair for changing the conversation and making us believe that we could go through this process."
So Montclair's ideas helped save the festival, and and then they were snubbed. Hopefully, the next Poetry Festival will be held in Montclair.


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