Poetry pops up in five New York City parks

April 9, 2024

Trappings,” by Noelle Kocot at J. Hood Wright Park in Manhattan. All photos courtesy of NYC Parks

To celebrate National Poetry Month, poems are popping up in parks across New York City. The city’s Parks Department and the Poetry Society of America unveiled five new installations with poems in parks and playgrounds. The poetry is part of “Park Poems,” an annual initiative transforming poems into site-specific works of art.

Slam, Dunk, & Hook,” by Yusef Komunyakaa at 100% Playground in Brooklyn.

“With these beautiful, thought-provoking poetry installations, we’re enriching five parks throughout the city and helping New Yorkers engage with their favorite public spaces in new ways,” NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue said.

“These poems, carefully woven into the landscapes of these parks and playgrounds, invite visitors to reflect on life in the big city. This initiative builds on our commitment at Parks to creating and maintaining spaces for relaxation, wonder, and reflection, and I am so grateful to the Poetry Society of America for their great partnership on this initiative.”

Return to the City/ Regreso a la Ciudad,” by Manuel Ulacia in Jerome Slope Park in the Bronx.
Wish,” by Hoa Nguyen at Richmond Terrace Park on Staten Island.

You can find “Return to the City/ Regreso a la Ciudad,” by Manuel Ulacia in Jerome Slope Park in the Bronx, “Slam, Dunk, & Hook,” by Yusef Komunyakaa at 100% Playground in Brooklyn, “Trappings,” by Noelle Kocot at J. Hood Wright Park in Manhattan, “Wish,” by Hoa Nguyen at Richmond Terrace Park on Staten Island, and “Cut Shadows,” by Rob Padgett at Torsney/Lou Lodati Park Playground in Queens.

NYC Parks and the Poetry Society launched “Park Poems” last April, with poems featured in Clason Point Park, Valentino Pier, Sunken Playground, Clove Lakes Park, and Francis Lewis Park.

Cut Shadows,” by Rob Padgett at Torsney/Lou Lodati Park Playground in Queens.

Since then, the program has inspired similar partnerships, including Poet Laureate Ada Limón’s “You Are Here” project. The Poetry Society has partnered with Limón, the Library of Congress, and the National Park Service to create “You Are Here: Poetry in Parks,” an initiative to place site-specific poetry installations in seven national parks.

“The aim of the Poetry Society is to make poetry part of their daily life for every New Yorker by placing poems in the most inclusive and democratic public spaces,” Matt Brogan, executive director of the Poetry Society of America.

“Public parks are an essential part of this social fabric—places to walk, play, gather with family and friends, or simply breathe. These poetry installations offer park visitors the opportunity to commune with imaginative language in unexpected ways, inspiring moments of surprise, wonder, and reflection.”

The installation will be on view for about a year. Learn more about the initiative here.

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All photos courtesy of NYC Parks

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