March 3, 2024

J. Chester Johnson Named To Board of Advisors For Poetry Outreach Center

J. Chester Johnson, poet and nonfiction writer, has been named to the Board of Advisors for CCNY’s Poetry Outreach Center, which encourages poetry activities in New York City and beyond through workshops, an annual poetry festival, contests, and an annual anthology (Poetry in Performance), containing a range of poets – from student to established.

The Center’s best-known event is the Annual Spring Poetry Festival, which began in 1972 and has often been dubbed New York City’s “Woodstock of the Spoken Word”. The 52nd Annual Spring Poetry Festival will be held on May 10, 2024.

The principal poetry organizations located in New York are all involved in various ways with the Festival, which culminates a year-long series of activities meant to encourage the act of writing poetry among the broadest range of people. Over the years, the Festival has attracted approximately 10,000 elementary school children, an equal number of high school students, college students, and unknown and well-known poets.

The list of honored guest poets reads very much like a Who’s Who of American Poetry.

J. Chester Johnson is the author of several books of poetry, including St. Paul’s Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems and Now And Then: Selected Longer Poems.

Poet and critic, Lawrence Joseph, says of Now And Then: “It provides its readers with the same amplitude of intelligence, passion and formal achievement as our great American epics – Melville’s Moby Dick, Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, and Ginsberg’s Fall of America.

Poet and critic, Major Jackson, offers this opinion of St. Paul’s Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems: “Undoubtedly, this is a work headed for literary permanence in our collective ear.” The American Book Review has written about the signature poem of this volume: “Johnson’s ‘St. Paul’s Chapel’ is one of the most widely distributed, lauded, and translated poems of the current century.”


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