Every year on the last weekend in July, the New York City Poetry Festival unites the vast and diverse New York City poetry community on the idyllic summer paradise of Governors Island. 

The festival invites poetry organizations and collectives of all shapes and sizes to bring their unique formats, aesthetics, and personalities to the festival grounds, which are ringed with a collection of beautiful Victorian houses and tucked beneath the wide, green canopies of dozens of century old trees. By uniting the largest community of poets in the country and offering a unique setting for literary activity, the New York City Poetry Festival electrifies arts and literature and brings poetry to new light in the public eye. 

The 8th Annual New York City Poetry Festival

July 28th & 29th, 2018

11am-7pm on Saturday / 11am-5pm on Sunday

Colonel's Row, Governors Island

Free & Open to the Public

Download the FlyeR

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Get excited about our 2018 headliners! 

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An actor, author, podcaster, advocate, and dedicated champion of the LGBTAIA+ community, Nico Tortorella is a renaissance man for the modern day. Tortorella currently stars in the hit series, Younger, alongside Sutton Foster and Hilary Duff, and he previously co-starred on Fox’s The Following with Kevin Bacon. Tortorella began his journey with activism when he debuted his podcast THE LOVE BOMB in 2016. As an outspoken advocate for sexual and gender fluidity, he has been featured in national media outlets, in print, online, and on television. With his debut poetry collection all of it is you., Tortorella presents a singular voice colored with love, wonder, and endless curiosity. all of it is you. surveys trending themes such as identity, feminism, polyamory, gender expression, astrology, and self-care, creating an exceptional entry into the vibrant millennial poetry category. Nico recently married his longtime partner, Bethany Myers, and they reside in NY with their two dogs. Nico is reading on the White Horse Stage at 3pm on Sunday, July 29th. 



Terrance Hayes is one of the most compelling voices in American poetry. He is the author of six books of poetry; American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassins (2018); How to Be Drawn (2015), longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry; Lighthead (2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award in Poetry; Wind in a Box, winner of a Pushcart Prize; Hip Logic, winner of the National Poetry Series, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Award, and runner-up for the James Laughlin Award from the Academy of American Poets; and Muscular Music, winner of both the Whiting Writers Award and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He has been a recipient of many other honors and awards, including a 2014 MacArthur Foundation Genius Award, two Pushcart selections, eight Best American Poetry selections, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Guggenheim Foundation. Artist-in-residence at New York University, Hayes currently resides in New York City. Terrance is reading on the White Horse Stage at 3pm on Sunday, July 29th. 


Danielle Pafunda is the author of the new Beshrew (Dusie Press 2018), The Dead Girls Speak in Unison (Bloof Books, 2017), Natural History Rape Museum (Bloof Books, 2013), Manhater (Dusie Press, 2012), Iatrogenic: Their Testimonies (Noemi Press, 2010), My Zorba (Bloof Books, 2008), Pretty Young Thing (Soft Skull Press, 2005), and the forthcoming experimental memoir The Book of Scab (Ricochet Editions). Her chapbooks are Cram (Essay Press, 2015) and When You Left Me in the Rutted Terrain of Our Love at the Border, Which I Could Not Cross, Remaining a Citizen of this Corrupt Land (Birds of Lace, 2014). Her poems have appeared in three editions of The Best American Poetry and have been anthologized in Beauty is a VerbThe Poetics of Disability (Cinco Puntos Press, 2011),  Gurlesque: The New Grrly, Grotesque, Burlesque Poetics (Saturnalia Books, 2010), Not for Mothers Only: Contemporary Poems on Child-Getting & Child Rearing (Fence Books, 2007), Hick Poetics (Lost Roads Press, 2015) and Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation (Penguin, 2015). She sits on the board of directors of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts and lives in the Mojave desert with her children. Danielle is reading on the White Horse Stage at 3pm on Saturday, July 28th.


Ladan Osman is a Somali born artist whose work is a lyric and exegetic response to problems of race, gender, displacement, and colonialism. She is the author of The Kitchen-Dweller’s Testimony (2015), winner of a Sillerman First Book Prize, and the chapbook Ordinary Heaven, which appeared in the box-set Seven New Generation African Poets (Slapering Hol Press, 2014). Her next collection Exiles of Eden, a work of poetry, photos, and experimental text, is forthcoming with Coffee House Press in 2019. Her work has appeared in numerous publications and has been translated into over 10 languages. Osman’s work has appeared in Columbia Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Roar, Rumpus, Transition, and Washington Square Review. She is a contributing culture editor for The Blueshift Journal. Osman has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center, Cave Canem, and Luminarts Foundation, Michener Center for Writers Fellowship, among numerous other nominations. Osman currently lives in Brooklyn. Ladan is reading on the White Horse Stage at 3pm on Saturday, July 28th.

Getting to the Festival

Governors Island is accessible by three ferries, one leaving from Manhattan ($3 roundtrip), one leaving from Brooklyn ($3 roundtrip), and one that makes several stops along the East River ($2.75 each way).

The Manhattan and Brooklyn ferries are both operated by Governors Island, and you can find the complete, up-to-date ferry schedules for each route on their website

The Manhattan Ferry departs from the Battery Maritime Building at 10 South Street, New York, NY. The Ferry landing is immediately east of the Staten Island Ferry (but not the same building). It is at the very southern tip of Manhattan and easily accessible from the 1,4,5,N,R,J or Z trains.

The Brooklyn Ferry disembarks from Pier 6 in Brooklyn Bridge Park, located at the foot of Atlantic Avenue (corner of Columbia Street). It is accessible via the R,2,3,4,5 trains and the B23, B65, B61 buses.

The East River Ferry is operated by NYC Ferry. A complete, up-to-date ferry schedule listing the locations of all stops is available on their website.

Here is a link to a downloadable PDF map of Governors Island that shows you the walking routes from each of the ferry landings on the island to Colonel's Row. 

See you on the island!

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General Questions

  • I want to read at the Festival. How do I book a reading?

The New York City Poetry Festival is programmed entirely by the organizations that make poetry readings happen in this city. If you would like to read at the festival, we suggest that you contact your publisher, collective, reading series, or other organization with which you are associated and encourage them to apply to host a reading at the event. ***Submissions for the 2018 event are now closed.*** If you aren’t a part of a larger poetry organization or submission to host a reading are closed, we suggest that you bring some poems to the event and read at the Ring of Daisies open mic, which you can sign up for on site at the Information table before 2pm each day!

  • Do I need tickets to attend?

Nope, it’s free! However, if you register on Eventbrite, you’ll be entered to win a New York City Poetry Festival tote bag filled with signed copies of books by the festival’s 2018 headliners. You'll also find options for our various levels of Admission Packages. 

  • Is the festival all ages?

Yes! The festival is child-, teen-, and adult-friendly. There is a beer and wine garden that is 21+, but the rest of the festival is open to all ages. We even have a youth program for the kids and young adults!

  • How do I get to Governors Island?

Directions to the island and the festival grounds are available here.

  • Is the ferry free?

The Governors Island ferries are not free, except at 10am and 11am on Saturdays and Sundays. The rest of the ferry times require a payment of $3 roundtrip. You can also take the NYC Ferry for $2.75 each way. Please check out directions to the island for more details.

  • What happens if it rains?

The festival will happen RAIN OR SHINE! There is no rain date or plans for rescheduling. If the forecast looks particularly dismal, we'll do everything in our power to move activities inside or onto covered porches, and we'll rent some extra tents. We may also get wet! But with a decent happiness... :)

  • What's the best time to arrive?

Ferries leave exactly at their scheduled times, so please plan to arrive a few minutes early to board. The ferry rides from Brooklyn and Manhattan take about 10-15 minutes. The walk to the festival grounds from the ferry landings takes an additional 10-15 minutes. The first performance begins at 11am. The last performance each day finishes at 6pm. We recommend that you come early and stay all day!  But certainly plan to arrive at the ferry at least 30 minutes before you would like to arrive at the festival.

  • Will you be posting set times in advance?

Yes, a list of set times is posted on our Readings page.

  • Who are the featured poets for 2018?

We're so excited to feature Nico Tortorella, Terrance Hayes, Danielle Pafunda, and Ladan Osman! Learn more about them here

  • How do I join your mailing list?

If you’d like to hear from The Poetry Society of New York from time to time and stay up to date on the latest from The Poetry Brothel, The Typewriter Project, and the New York City Poetry Festival, you can sign up for our mailing list by clicking here.

  • How can I help support the festival?

Your attendance is all that really matters, but if you are feeling extra generous, there are a few different ways you can support the festival. You can make a fully tax-deductible donation to The Poetry Society of New York. You can sponsor the festival. You can purchase one of our premium packages on Eventbrite! You can also volunteer for us. Thank you so much for your interest!

  • How hot will it get in the day?

The average high in New York City on July 28th since 1974 has been 84 degrees F. Luckily, Colonel's Row has lots of shady nooks and crannies. 

  • What should I bring to the festival?

We recommend that you bring sunscreen, a blanket to lounge on, an appetite for food and books and cash to satiate it, a bag big enough to carry your books home, and some of your own poetry to read at our open mic Ring of Daisies! Parasols, tote bags, tee-shirts, and journals will also be available for sale! 

  • How do I submit art for the Festival?

Submit your art here!

  • Are you hiring volunteers at the event?

Yes, apply to be a volunteer here!

  • Can I pass out flyers inside? Outside?

Please do not pass out flyers in or outside the event.  If you would like to be a vendor/exhibitor and distribute flyers at your table, apply to become a vendor here.

  • How do I become a food vendor? 

Food trucks and carts may apply to be vendors here!

  • How do I become a non-food vendor? 

Apply to become a non-food vendor here!

  • Are there any places to rent a bicycle nearby?

Yes. Bikes, quadracycles and tandems can be rented on Governors Island. Rental rates and details are available on the Governors Island website.

  • Can I ride my bike to the Festival? Where do I park my bicycle?

Yes. The free public ferries to Governors Island take bicyclists and pedestrians to Governors Island during its public hours. You may park and lock your bike wherever you can find a spot, but Governors Island and the New York City Poetry Festival cannot be held responsible for lost or stolen bikes.  Motorized bikes of any kind are not permitted.

  • Can I bring my own alcohol?

No. And the Governors Island ferry staff will check your bags before you board the ferry.  However, we do have a bar where you can purchase beer and wine for as low as $6 each. In NYC, that’s a steal!

  • Can I bring cigarettes?

Yes. But it is against the law to smoke them on the festival grounds. Smokers, bring your e-cigarettes along!

  • Can I bring my pet?

No. Sadly, pets are not allowed on Governors Island. 🙁

  • Will there be vegetarian/vegan food offered? Kosher? Gluten Free?

We do our best to bring in food carts that can accommodate every diet, but if you can't find what you're looking for inside the festival, there are food trucks for every diet just outside the festival grounds at Liggett Terrace.

  • Can I bring my own food and water?

Absolutely. Governors Island currently does not have potable water, so no drinking fountains will be available. Water and food are available for purchase, but visitors can bring their own water as well.

  • Will there be flushable toilets and sinks available?

Indoor bathrooms with sinks and flushable toilets are located in Building 110 at Soissons Landing, about a 5-10 minute walk from the festival grounds. There are also trailer bathrooms and port-a-sans located on the festival grounds.

  • Is the event/venue wheelchair accessible?

Yes! The ferry, festival grounds, and restrooms are all wheelchair accessible.

  • Will I be able to find security if needed? Will there be First Aid on site?

There are security and emergency services on Governors Island when it is open to the public. EMTs are available to respond to medical emergencies. Two security guards will be on the festival grounds at all times responding to any kind of emergency.

  • Will there be ATMs?

Yes. ATMs are located in Building 110 at Soissons Landing, about a 5-10 minute walk from the festival grounds.

  • Will there be a Lost & Found? 

The Trust for Governors Island operates a lost and found. Please call 212-809-3299 if you lost something on-site. However, The New York City Poetry Festival and Governors Island cannot be held responsible for lost or stolen items. Please try to hold onto your things!

  • Will there be a sunglasses / visors or hats / sunscreen sold?

Possibly! Check out our list of vendors. The festival itself does not sell those items, but parasols will be available for sale!

  • Can I buy festival merchandise online?

If you would like to order some festival merchandise, you can email nycpofest@gmail with your request, and someone will be in touch with you to place your order. 

  • Will there be a festival map available ahead of time so we can see which poets will be at which stages? And see locations of food and bathroom areas?

Maps will be handed out for free at the festival entrance. We will also post the map on our website a few days before the festival. 

  • Will there be cell phone charging in the venue?

Nope. Please bring a backup battery pack if you'd concerned about your cell phone's battery life. 

  • I have another question!

That's cool! Email us at nycpofest@gmail.com, and we'll be happy to answer it!