On Governors Island


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For the past three years, I’ve been a vendor and event host at the NYC Poetry Festival, held at Governors Island at the end of July. It’s been a nice opportunity to meet other poets and poetry organizations, and get the word out on Pluma, all for $50 (for two days). But this last time, it left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth.

Basically, sales weren’t the best. And I mean, I never sell out or anything, but this year sales were way low. And it was definitely directly related to the fact that we were assigned a table out of the way of foot traffic, very different from how it was before when tables were first come, first serve. Who had the foot traffic tables? You guessed it–the folks who paid hundreds of dollars for a tent.

Maybe if they’d told us this would happen ahead of time, I wouldn’t have been off-put by it. But to spring it on us day-of? That’s a bit rude.

So I decided: I won’t return in 2020 unless I’m there to promote my OWN poetry book, LIFE’S A SONG.

In better news, I did get to sit in on some great performances, our event—EN OTRA LENGUA—was a success, I had some bomb-ass Ethiopian food, and I got to spend time in the sun; not all was lost. I also picked up these lovely books at the Festival: 100 Days on Earth by Jonathan J. Azar and Sweat, Dance, Sing, Cut. by Elaine Nadal; grab your copies today, too!



Have any of you ever participated in a literary festival that left a little to be desired?

Raquel Ivelisse

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