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The Future of Queens Poetry

Three Queens based poets were honored at a benefit for Newtown Literary on March 18th in Forest Hills. Presented by the board of directors of Newtown Literary, the fundraiser drew an appreciative crowd of readers, writers and supporters who came for the poetry and stayed for book signings, food and wine, and conversation.

Richard Jeffrey Newman, author of Words for What those Men Have Done, introduced the poets.

Jared Harel, author of the newly published

Go Because I Love You, read poems that explored his life as a young father. Looking back on his own childhood and how he was raised, the poems reflected the new perspective this gave him on his parents and being Jewish, and celebrated the deep love he has for his wife.

Omatara James' recently published Chapbook Daughter Tongue chronicles the process by which this British-born daughter of Nigerian and Trinidadian immigrants finds and asserts her voice. In poems that take on a wide range of experiences—from the complexities of the mother-daughter relationship, of racism, of sexual violence, of being a woman who openly loves women—James affirms the value of always being true to oneself and refusing the many temptations to do otherwise.

The poems in Sokunthary Svay’s Apsara in New York navigate the experience of surviving a genocide, fleeing her home country (Cambodia), immigrating to the United States, learning a new language, constructing a new self that is also a reconstruction of what she had to leave behind—and, through all of that, to thrive, to grow into a future filled with art and beauty, friendship and love.

Newtown Literary is devoted to the literary arts, and the literary artists of Queens. Our flagship project is the publication of a semiannual literary journal featuring new work by writers living in or originally from the largest borough in New York City. We also hold free writing classes for adults, teens, and kids around the borough, and a biennial writing contest for kids and teens. Throughout the year, all over Queens, we hold readings, workshops, and other literary events.

An organization by artists for artists, our work would not be possible without the generous donations of our supporters Please consider joining them by using the donate button at the top of our website.

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