Accepting Submissions for Dodge Poets

Poet Roberto Carlos Garcia visiting students at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in 2016.

Poet Roberto Carlos Garcia visiting students at Malcolm X Shabazz High School in 2016.

Beyond the Festival

You probably know that we host the largest poetry festival in North America, held every other year in the downtown arts district of Newark, New Jersey.

You may not know that we offer poetry programming throughout New Jersey between Dodge Poetry Festivals:

  • We bring poets into New Jersey high schools for poet visits and “mini-festivals” , with an increasing focus of our resources on some of our most economically-stressed districts and regions.
  • We produce poetry readings and community events open to the public, such as a summer reading series at Military Park in Newark, performances at NJPAC, and day-long gatherings focusing on specific themes, such as Poetry and the Body and Poetry and Democracy.
  • We organize poetry reading/immersion groups to practice “Giving Poems a Voice
  • We offer professional development opportunities to New Jersey teachers through Clearing the Spring, Tending the Fountain and other programs.
  • We offer an annual, free, week-long online poetry program called Spring & Fountain Online during National Poetry Month

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The Dodge Poet Roster

Dodge Poets play a pivotal role in helping us do this work, and their recommendations, innovations, feedback and participation have helped shape Dodge Poetry throughout its ongoing evolution. They visit high schools, facilitate groups, give readings, host events, and meet with us to review and discuss their experiences in the field and the impact of our programs.

In the past, when poets asked, “How do I become a Dodge Poet?” we’ve invited them to send poems and resumes for us to keep on file for review as needed. There was no formal submission process.  Some poets came to us through referrals or recommendations, but far more through our own reading of regional journals and anthologies, and attendance at poetry readings, festivals and other poetry events.

For the first time, we are opening a formal submission process for those who would like to apply to work with Dodge Poetry in New Jersey schools.  Why now?

Over the last decade, we have shifted away from the program’s earlier practice of engaging with school districts that reached out after learning about us, and turned toward a more proactive approach.  We are actively seeking to bring opportunities to economically stressed school districts and regions of the state. The Dodge Foundation’s new mission and vision inspire us to deepen our commitment to these efforts.

In the process, we have gained a clearer picture of how diverse New Jersey is, and how segregated.  To create a roster of Dodge Poets that more clearly reflects the diversity of New Jersey, we are initiating an open submissions process to invite poets of all backgrounds and orientations to submit.  We encourage submissions from groups that are often under-represented in the poetry traditionally taught in high schools, such as African-American, Latinx, Asian-American, Native-American, Middle-Eastern, and Indigenous writers; disabled writers; and writers from the LGBTQ community.

Applying to Join the Dodge Poet Roster: What You Need to Know

If you or someone you know is interested in applying to join our roster of Dodge Poets, there are a few important things that you should keep in mind:

  • Dodge Poets don’t receive full-time or even part-time work from the Dodge Poetry Program.

We value treating poets with professional respect and courtesy, working with schools to ensure visiting poets are not unduly burdened, and typically offer a per diem of $300 per day, with a small travel stipend when warranted. Opportunities for working with the Dodge Poetry Program, however, average out to just a few days of the year for most Dodge Poets.

  • Dodge Poetry school visits aren’t workshops.

We do not send Dodge Poets into schools to conduct writing workshops, give lectures or present academic lessons about poetry. The Dodge Poetry Program strives to celebrate poetry as a living, breathing, art, and to create encounters where students can experience a personal connection to poetry and poets. This may or may not include writing it themselves. It definitely includes sharing poems, reading aloud to each other, and engaging in Q & As and conversations with poets on a wide range of topics.

  • Poets who already are part of the Dodge Poet roster don’t need to apply.

We will still be working with the many wonderful poets who have been doing excellent work with us for years. This is simply an opportunity to expand and include more voices and perspectives from the communities that we seek to serve.

The Dodge Poet application is live now via Submittable. You can find it here. The deadline to apply is September 1, 2019. Once you apply, you will receive a confirmation that we received your application. By the week of December 9, every applicant will hear back from us regarding whether we will be inviting them to join the roster for the coming year.

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to us at or call (973) 695-1190.

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