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Walk in the park: Grand opening celebration for first poetry path on Long Island slated for July


by Joanne Kountourakis | Fri, May 24 2024
James Wagner’s “Heaven has a Dock,” one of 12 poems featured on the Northport Village Poetry Path. Artwork is by Emily Eisen.

James Wagners Heaven has a Dock, one of 12 poems featured on the Northport Village Poetry Path. Artwork is by Emily Eisen.

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Long Island’s first poetry path is officially in Northport. Installed in Northport Village Park on May 7 and 8, the path celebrates the original work of Long Island poets, with a portion of the exhibits dedicated to Northport authors.

A committee of professional poets from all over Long Island adjudicated almost sixty submissions to be considered for inclusion in this, the poetry path’s inaugural year, said NAC Executive Director Amy Connor. 

The path started many years ago as a dream of Linda Dickman, NAC's poetry, literature and spoken word coordinator, Connor said. Dickman visited a path in Bellingham, Washington and thought Northport would be a perfect place for one. “Then I saw one that my university had created and brought the idea to the NAC board,” Connor explained. “Linda and I worked together on the project and are so excited now that it's actually here.”

The first of its kind on Long Island, the Northport Village Poetry Path is the result of a partnership between the Northport Arts Coalition and the Village of Northport.

“I was thrilled to work on the installation of the beautiful poetry path,” said Northport Village Trustee and Commissioner of Parks, Meghan Dolan. “Amy Connor and the Northport Arts Coalition chose such beautiful, meaningful poems and art for this walk. It is a lovely and special addition to the park and we’re very grateful for all the hard work that went into making this happen, especially from the Northport Village Parks Department.”

Featuring 12 poems, the path travels along the walkway from the park flagpole, to the rear of the gazebo, ending at the steps up to Bayview Avenue. The simple and streamlined black stands were designed to coordinate with the park’s beauty and history; some stand alone, while others are tucked neatly into the park’s landscaping. An additional stand containing information about the project and its sponsors is also on the path.

Northport’s path is unique in that it pairs art with poetry. Once the 12 winning poems and three honorable mentions were chosen, fifteen artists created work specifically for each piece. 

“The Northport Arts Coalition is dedicated to collaboration both within the community and between the arts,” said Connor. “It was important to us to use this public space to showcase the abundance of creative talent we have. We’re very proud of the amazing work of both our poets and our artists, and of the additional depth they give each other when viewed together.”

Those who can’t make it to Northport to walk the harborside park path can purchase the book that accompanies the project, “Poetry Path: A Walk in the Park,” on Amazon or at The Firefly Artists at 90 Main Street in Northport. The full-color book includes the three honorable mention poems in addition to the 12 winners whose work is showcased along the path. It will also be available for purchase at a grand opening celebration in Village Park on July 14.

The path is supported by grants from the Huntington Arts Council, New York State Council on the Arts, and PSEGLI as well individual sponsors including Linda and David Dickman, Mary Sheila Morrisey, James P. Wagner, Lauren and Dan Paige, and Nolan Funeral Home.

The poets and artists of the Northport Village Poetry Path are (poet is listed first, then artist): Joan Amato/Oksana Danziger; Luke Briner/Deidre Elzer-Lento; Paula Curci/Kate Kelly; Jesse Curran/Nayyar Iqbal; Tara Lamberti/Marilyn Barker; Diana Poulos-Lutz/Jan Guarino; Kelly J. Powell/Mary Jane Tenerelli; Emily-Sue Sloane/Virginia Mallon; Barbara Southard/Silvia Maria Rey; Douglas G. Swezey/Vivien Pollack; James P. Wagner/Emily Eisen; and George Wallace/Nancy Panicucci-Roma. Honorable mentions available for viewing in the book are Nicole Baccon/Mariann Megna; Kristen Memoli/Joan Martorana; and Darren Sardelli/Sebastian Ramirez.

A competition will be held each year and 12 new poems/art will replace the current inaugural ones.

A grand opening celebration of the Northport Village Poetry Path will take place on Sunday, July 14 at 1pm in Northport Village Park. The event, which is open to the public, will mark the official dedication of Long Island’s very first poetry path.

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