The Poetry Society of New York (PSNY) is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization based in New York City that is dedicated to promoting poetry within our culture. More specifically, the society focuses on finding innovative ways of delivering poetry to the public and on strategic community building within the poetry world. Founded by Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski, PSNY began programing events in late 2007 with the fiscal sponsorship of Fractured Atlas. PSNY’s activities heavily emphasize event production and interactive art installations with additional activities in the fields of publishing and digital media. PSNY’s geographical focus is on New York City and the surrounding areas, but its efforts also ripple nationally and internationally. In the future, PSNY plans to offer grants, residencies, and awards to working poets and other poetry promoters and community organizers. Currently, its primary projects are The Poetry Brothel, The New York City Poetry Festival, The Typewriter Project, and The Atlas Review.
The Poetry Society of New York has a simple, three-fold mission:
a) to create new models for the presentation of poetry
b) to redefine poetry’s position in the culture-at-large
c) to bring the works of New York City poets to the world
The New York City poetry world has largely isolated itself to a small & fragmented circle. The Poetry Society of New York moves through & opens up that circle to unite the community of makers with the community of appreciators in new and mysterious ways.
The Poetry Society of New York first emerged under the guise of The Poetry Brothel at The Living Theater in 2007. The Poetry Brothel was conceived as a performance art event aimed at fostering intimacy, urgency and exaltation within the New York poetry community, and at expanding that community to include a more diverse population of artists. At that time New York City, the place perceived by thousands of young writers to be the epicenter of the contemporary poetry world, felt boring. Allen Ginsberg, Frank O’Hara and Edna St. Vincent Millay had quit running amok decades earlier, and a clear vitalizing alternative was required. The Brothel provided one cure: a pastiche of back-alley history and literary revelry, The Poetry Brothel remedied the monotony of the slam poetry reading’s endless bravado, and charmed patrons of the one-note, one-format academic poetry readings out of their fold-up chairs into back rooms for private readings.
But it wasn’t enough. The Poetry Brothel bridged difficult social and sociological gaps between individuals, but soon, The Poetry Brothel’s founders, Stephanie Berger and Nicholas Adamski, felt the need to cross literal borders. They created The Translation Project in the hopes of opening the lines of communication between New York poets and poets living abroad, but in order to get funding for such a project, it was time to get legal and form a business entity. When the state of New York rejected the business name “The Poetry Brothel,” citing it as “lewd and illegal,” Berger and Adamski requested “The Poetry Society of New York,” and much to their surprise, they got it. Since forming The Poetry Society of New York in 2010, they have produced The New York City Poetry Festival, The Typewriter Project, The Ear Inn Series, Quartier Rouge, and Brothel Books, and they have brought The Poetry Brothel to dozens of cities around the world. In 2015, thanks in part to B. Carter Edwards, The Poetry Society of New York was approved for 501(c)3 status by the IRS. In the same year, the society took on The Atlas Review, founded by Natalie Eilbert, and Mellow Pages Library, founded by Matt Nelson and Jacob Perkins, as new projects.