City Lore was inspired to create the People’s Poetry Project because, while many groups are dedicated to traditional music and literary poetry, no other organization is systematically presenting the diverse oral poetry traditions of New York City, the U.S. and beyond. The People’s Poetry Project grew out of the People’s Poetry Gathering, held in 1999, 2001, 2003 with Poets House, and in 2006 with Bowery Arts + Science, to bring together folk, ethnic, inner city, and literary poets.

Poetry plays a key role in New York’s ethnic and cultural communities. For many immigrant communities, poetry is the most accessible and profound way for people to express themselves. Every community we have researched has its poets. City Lore is committed to finding ways to give these poets voice, finding the venues and formats for them to convey their artistry to their own communities and to the city at large, often finding new and innovative ways to communicate across languages.

Since the Gathering, the People’s Poetry Project has featured New York’s manifold traditions in the Poetry Dialogues; the Poetry Dinners; and, most recently, with the POEMobile, a wildly decorated box truck designed to project poems on the sides of buildings in tandem with live readings in diverse urban neighborhoods. Click on the images to read more.