A short film about the history of The Poetry Project, with Anne Waldman and Kay Gabriel

  • May 19, 2023
  • Ursula: Issue 8
  • Sanctuary (2023)

    A film by Rava Films

    Directed by Rafael Salazar Moreno

    Produced by Ava Wiland

Since its conception in 1966, The Poetry Project has been a sanctuary and platform for the poets of New York. Sitting together in The Poetry Project’s long-standing home, St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, Anne Waldman, one of the project's founders, and the poet Kay Gabriel, who helps run it now, talk about the project's heady early days and its deep roots in New York City's cultural landscape.

Ursula No. 8—our first-ever theme issue—celebrates time-honored affinities between poets and artists. A collaboration with The Poetry Project, organized by Nicole Eisenman, the issue features a chapbook filled with poets and artists: Bahaar Ahsan, Kimberly Alidio, Joss Barton, CAConrad, John Coletti, Renee Gladman, erica kaufman, Shiv Kotecha, Matt Longabucco, Ted Rees, Laurie Weeks, Simone White.

St. Marks in-the-Bowery Church, 2011. Photo: Eric Nathan. Courtesy Alamy

Anne Waldman and John Ashbery, ca. 1974. Courtesy the Poetry Project

Staffed entirely by poets, The Poetry Project has nurtured new and experimental poetry since 1966. Based at St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery, in New York’s East Village, the project has been an accessible resource and advocate for diverse, culturally rich poetry and art from its conception, offering reading series, writing workshops, a quarterly newsletter, a website and archives for poets and the wider reading community. Learn more about The Poetry Project.

Kay Gabriel is The Poetry Project's Media and Publications Coordinator. She is author to A Queen in Bucks County (Nightboat, 2022) and Kissing Other People or the House of Fame (Rosa Press, 2021; Nightboat, 2023). With Andrea Abi-Karam, Gabriel co-edited We Want it All: An Anthology of Radical Trans Poetics (Nightboat, 2020), a finalist for the Publishing Triangle and Lambda Literary Awards. She has been part of the editorial collective for the Poetry Project Newsletter since 2019.

Anne Waldman’s most recent books include Bard, Kinetic, a memoir with poetry, essays and interviews. She is co-editor with Emma Gomis of New Weathers: Poetics from the Naropa Archive. The Burroughsian opera Black Lodge, with music by David T. Little and libretto by Waldman, premiered at Opera Philadelphia in 2022. She collaborated with Pat Steir on Cry Stall Gaze and on Steir's Kairos catalogue. She is a founder of The Poetry Project and the Kerouac School, where she curates and teaches.