1985

Poets House is established in a New York City public high school.

1986

1986

Poets House opens to the public with core collection of 600 books from Paul Zweig shelved in an abandoned home economics classroom

April 16

First public program with poet Tomas Tranströmer, now a Nobelist

1987

1987

Signature program series developed: Passwords,
in which a poet reads and discusses the work of another poet

1989

Poets House appoints Lee Briccetti as its executive director

1990

1990

Poets House moves to 72 Spring Street, a 2,200 square foot loft space

1990

1990

Stanley Kunitz becomes
president emiritus

1990

Margo Viscusi becomes
board president

1991

1991

First Annual Poets House Showcase features the year's new poetry books & discusses future of poetry publishing

1993

1993

Axe-Houghton Multimedia Archive established

1995

Poetry in The Branches (PITB) is established in partnership with The New York Public Library

1995

1995

First Summer Reading Series in Rockefeller Park in partnership with Battery Park City

1996

1996

First Annual Poetry Walk Across the Brooklyn Bridge Benefit is held

1999

1999

PITB is in nine metropolitan public library sites

1999

First People’s Poetry Gathering, with City Lore
(8,000 attend)

2000

2000

Poets House website launched

2001

2001

Poets House expands to 4,500 square feet at 72 Spring Street

2001

2001

First Children’s Room opens in a converted storage closet

2004

2004

Designated by Battery Park City as one of three rent-free non-profits in a 11,000 square-foot space in a new green building

2004

Capital campaign commences

2004

First pilot poetry installation opens in Central Park Zoo

2008

2008

Poets House construction in Battery Park City begins

2008

Poetry in the Zoos project begins in 5 US cities

2009

2009

The Invention of Farewell – The poetry community says farewell to 72 Spring Street

2009

September 24 – 26
Poets House Grand Opening at 10 River Terrace

2009

2009

Margo Viscusi becomes president emerita; Martín Gómez becomes board president

2010

Poets House and the Battery Park City Authority presented Poetic City: A Celebration of the Poetry & Music of Haiti

2011

2011

Attendance more than doubles, reaching 40,000 in the fiscal year ending June 30th

2011

2011

Emily Dickinson at Poets House: From the Donald and Patricia Oresman Collection opens at Poets House featuring rare manuscripts, books, letters and fragments.

2012

2012

Poets House website redesigned

The History of Poets House Timeline

Early 1980s

  • Betty and Stanley convene a series of meetings with poets and lovers of the art to discuss the formation of Poets House

1985

  • Poets House, Inc. is established as a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization

  • Betty and Stanley organize The Poets Advisory Committee, a diverse group of poets representing all aesthetic approaches to poetry, to advise on program initiatives

  • Stanley Kunitz becomes Poets House Board President, Rachel Bellow its first executive director

1986

  • Poets House opens to the public with core collection of 600 books from Paul Zweig

  • April 16

  • Poets House presents its first public program, a reading and conversation with Tomas Transtromer

1987

  • Passwords, the signature Poets House program series, which features one poet reading and discussing the work of another, is developed by Didi Goldenhar, first program director

1989

  • Poets House appoints Lee Briccetti as its executive director

1990

  • Poets House moves to 72 Spring Street, a 2,200 square foot loft space

  • Margo Viscusi begins her long tenure as Board President

  • Stanley Kunitz becomes president emiritus

1991

  • First Annual Poets House Showcase features the year’s new poetry books & discusses future of poetry publishing

1993

  • Axe-Houghton Multimedia Archive established

1995

  • Poetry in The Branches (PITB) established in partnership with The New York Public Library; Philip Levine presents first public PITB event

  • First Summer Reading Series in Rockefeller Park in partnership with Battery Park City

1996

1999

  • Poetry in The Branches in nine metropolitan library sites

  • First People's Poetry Gathering co-sponsored with City Lore, exploring the relationship between oral traditions and literary texts; 8,000 attend

2000

  • First Poets House website launched

2001

  • Poets House expands to 4,500 square feet at 72 Spring Street

  • First Children's Room opens in a converted storage closet

2004

  • First poetry installation opens in Central Park Zoo

  • Designated by Battery Park City to receive a 11,000 square-foot space in a new green building

  • Capital campaign commences

2008

  • Poets House construction in Battery Park City begins

  • Poetry in the Zoos project begins in 5 US cities

  • The Invention of Farewell – The poetry community says farewell to 72 Spring Street

2009

  • Margo Viscusi becomes president emerita; Martín Gómez becomes board president

  • September 24 – 26

  • Poets House Grand Opening at 10 River Terrace

2010

2011