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A choice of New Year’s Day poetry marathons

BY THE VILLAGE SUN | You can take a literary leap into the new year at either of two Downtown marathon poetry readings on Jan. 1.

The Poetry Project’s 49th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon will be happening at St. Mark’s Church, at 131 E. 10th St., from 2 p.m. until 1 a.m. on Jan. 2, and will also be livestreamed. The event will be in two sections: 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are $30 “per section” at the door.

The money raised at the marathon is crucial to the Poetry Project for funding its other events throughout the year, including weekly poetry readings, plus publications and workshops.

“In 2021 and 2022 we did virtual marathons,” said Laura Henriksen, the Poetry Project’s program director. “Those were also super-special. We welcome viewers from all over the world — literally from every continent except Antarctica — but we are so glad to be back at St Mark’s this year. And we’ll still be livestreaming the day, so those who can’t be with us in person still have a way to join the celebration!”

More than 150 readers and other peformers are lined up for this year’s event. Past luminaries who have participated include the likes of Kathy Acker, Amiri Baraka, Jeff Buckley, John Cage, Steve Cannon, Jim Carroll, Keith Haring, Gary Indiana, Hettie Jones, Lenny Kaye, Gordon Matta-Clark, Bernadette Mayer, Jonas Mekas, Thurston Moore, Eileen Myles, Precious Okoyomon, Akilah Oliver, Rene Ricard, Patti Smith, Anne Waldman, David Wojnarowicz and John Zorn.

For more information, see the Poetry Project’s Web site.

Meanwhile, over on the West Side, the 26th Alternative New Year’s Day Poetry Marathon will be held in the Westbeth Community Room, at 463 West St., from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.

According to Linda Kleinbub, one of the organizers, “This was a last-minute effort to have a New Year’s Day poetry reading after the committee that normally organizes the reading announced that there would be no event this year. Big Mike Logan was able to get Westbeth for a fee and several poets in the community donated money to secure the location.”

The event’s hosts are Phillip Giambri, Puma Perl, Madeleine Artenberg, Faux Maux Kelly Nolan, Ellen Lytle, Didi Champagne, Big Mike Logan and Kleinbub.

“We are all eager to get this event off the ground after COVID,” Kleinbub said. “We feel that a gathering of our community of poets is essential to start the new year.”

There is no admission fee. Bottled water and snacks will be provided. For more information, check the event’s Facebook page.

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