The Block Island Times

Block Island Poetry Project gets a boost

10th year for the event
By Lars Trodson | Mar 21, 2013

Ten years into running the Block Island Poetry Project, founder Lisa Starr said the project had become a “real time and financial drain” for her, so she turned to the Tourism Council for a little help. The council voted to the support the project with a $500 donation.

“We’re 10 years into it and every year we run at a deficit. I’m really bad at asking for funding so I’m reaching out to this organization and the community to help us,” said Starr. She said that the Poetry Project had a $3,000 deficit last year, which was headlined by the poet Billy Collins.

Starr said that the project helped support the local economy. “Hundreds and hundreds of people have come to the island from all over the world [to attend the poetry festival]. They come back and rent hotel rooms and cottages,” she said. “They’re repeat customers.”

“I think it’s a valuable thing for the island. It’s a different aspect of the tourism season. I would be in favor of supporting some amount of money,” President Zena Clark said.

“It’s wonderful to see another kind of culture coming to the island,” said member Shirley Kessler. “I strongly support this project.”

Vice President John Cullen suggested supporting the project with a $1,000 donation. “Can we afford that? I’m just putting it out there because we have to start somewhere,” he said.

Second Vice President Brad Marthens said the council was facing a number of funding requests and suggested $500, to which the council unanimously agreed.

The Block Island Poetry Project is held in April, which is also National Poetry Month.

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