Mission & History


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. The society is now in the process of further refining its programs and core team.