About two years ago Hoboken poet Danny Shot, now poet in residence at the Hoboken Historical Museum, and I hatched a plan to run a reading to celebrate the 350th birthday of New Jersey in 2014. I remember the two of us sitting in a bar and trying to come up with a name for the event. Since we had already decided to mix the work of iconic (old) and contemporary (new) poets, we were playing with “Something Old, Something New.” Suddenly Danny said, “’Something Old, Something New Jersey’and we’ll put Jersey in parentheses.” Once we found the name of the reading, we found its format: ten contemporary NJ poets reading the poems of iconic NJ poets and their own poems. We also decided that two of the readers would be “living legends” who would read only their own work. With support from the Hoboken Historical Museum, CavanKerry Press, and a grant from the NJ Historical Commission, we set out to put on a show.
Danny and I will be the first to admit that we had no idea how successful the reading would be. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in April, an overflow crowd turned up to hear ten poets read poetry. Let me repeat that: on a beautiful Sunday afternoon in April an overflow crowd turned up to hear a poetry reading. We were exhausted, elated and gratified by this response. Right after the reading finished, Bob Foster, the executive director of the Hoboken Historical Museum, said to us, “Let’s celebrate NJ’s birthday every year with a reading.”
So here we are, getting ready to celebrate New Jersey’s 351st birthday with Something Old, Something New (Jersey) II. Not only have we invited a new group of contemporary NJ poets to read but we’ve also chosen a new group of iconic poets to honor. We hope you’ll join us on Sunday, April 19 at 3pm. It’s sure to be one hell of a reading!
-Teresa Carson, Associate Editor