Too many student & mentor poets today are missing each other. We have this thing called the internet to connect them, but no network getting it done.
Until now. For the past year Brooklyn Poets has been designing and laying the groundwork for such a network. In homage to Hart Crane, we call this The Bridge. And you can help build it.
TWO KEY THINGS THE BRIDGE WILL DO
- Help student poets find mentor poets to get critiques of their work without having to go through a workshop structure or writing program.
- Help mentor poets find student poets by offering critiquing services — at their own prices.
Students find mentors for less money than a workshop or writing program would cost, and mentors get paid without having to land one of those hard-to-find teaching jobs. It's that simple.
Students choose mentors based on price, services offered, location and other factors such as skills and stylistic influences. If they like, they can sign up for workshops proposed by mentors--workshops not governed by the mandates of any institution, for however long mentors want, with however many students, at whatever price, online or on site.
AND THAT'S NOT ALL
You'll have Readers, not Followers.
You'll create new work. Each week on The Bridge we’ll feature a poetry assignment proposed by a mentor in our community.
Sharing your work will be a creative process. You can choose images to represent your poems and captions to go with them—like book covers for your individual poems. Add tags so readers can find your poems based on similar interests.
When a reader clicks on one of your poems, a lightbox
will open up featuring the text of the poem in a clean layout. Readers can
comment on your work, like it or star it for safekeeping in their own catalogue of favorite poems, quotes, words and books on The Bridge.
Awesome, right? You can share your favorite quotes and words on the Bridge as well as your books in the same beautiful format as your poems. You can include photos of your writing space and library along with your bio, skills and influences and links to other sites.
All this to put more attention on reading and the written word than ever before, to create a deeper, more dynamic community of readers and writers.
STILL GOT QUESTIONS?
Check out the FAQ at the bottom of this page for more details on how mentorship on The Bridge will work. Scroll through all those awesome perks on the way!
WHY WE NEED YOUR SUPPORT
Worstofalldesign, the design team behind the new Brooklyn Poets website, has already designed The Bridge—we’ve covered that expense. And we've already paid our programming team to build the invite portion of the site so you can create an account right now and reserve your username for only a $10 donation. But the cost to develop the entire Bridge is steep; after all, this is a social networking site with an e-commerce platform built in.
We could wait, and try to accrue the funds ourselves--but that could take years. Help us fund The Bridge now and we can have it up and running by the beginning of next year. Help pay for something that will pay you back. If you’re looking for mentors and workshops, finding them on The Bridge will cost you far less than enrolling in a graduate writing program—and you’ll have hundreds of mentors and workshops to choose from! If you’re a published poet looking for work, you can make money from the expertise that is not currently being rewarded on the job market.
We've set our fundraising goal at $20,000 but the total cost of development is $28,000. Help us meet our initial goal and we can begin development of The Bridge but will take on debt. Remember, even if we hit our initial goal, we lose 7% to Indiegogo and credit card fees and must also take out the cost of producing & shipping our perks--and that ain't cheap. If we don't hit our goal, we lose 12%!
Our stretch goal is $40,000. Help us hit that goal and we can cover all the fees and production & shipping costs and fund the complete development of The Bridge.
As Jay-Z might say, We invented swag. We're gonna hook you up with something awesome for your money.
Brooklyn Go Hard: 3-Pack of Brooklyn Poets Wristbands
White: "My Word I Poured" (Hart Crane)
Black: "We Go Hard" (Jay-Z)
Grey: "I Contain Multitudes" (Walt Whitman)
Lemon Andersen Straightrazor Book-Launch
(for STRAIGHTRAZOR and VOYAGER and higher perks)
On Thursday, November 21, the final night of this campaign, Brooklyn Poets will present a book-launch benefit performance by Tony Award winner Lemon Andersen at the Irondale in Fort Greene. Andersen will read from his new collection of poems, Straightrazor, and all ticket holders will receive a signed copy of the book. Doors open at 7, performance at 7:30.
Raised in Brooklyn, Lemon Andersen watched his mother, father and stepfather die from heroin abuse and AIDS complications, leaving him and his brother to grow up alone and impoverished. But his passion for poetry, hip hop and acting led him to gifted mentors who recognized his talent and encouraged him to develop as an artist and a performer. As a poet he appeared the greatest number of times on HBO'S Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry--eight times in six seasons. He won a Tony award for his writing and performance as an original cast member of Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry Jam on Broadway, for which he was also nominated for a Drama Desk Award. His staged memoir County of Kings: The Beautiful Struggle, produced by Spike Lee, premiered at the Public Theater in 2009 to rave reviews from the New York Times, New Yorker and Brooklyn Rail, among others. Since then, he has toured the one-man show--which took the grand prize at the 2010 New York Book Festival--at campuses and theaters across the U.S. and on three continents. More recently, Andersen was the feature of the internationally acclaimed documentary Lemon, screened in 2012-2013 at film festivals and performing arts centers across North America.
Brooklyn Poets Tees
All our tees are screen printed locally at Pete's Print Shop in Williamsburg using water-based ink on super-soft, eco-conscious Alternative Apparel tees. Click on the individual t-shirt links for product details, close-up images and size chart.
Brooklyn POets Graffiti Tee
Just in time for the PO
Nets season, this shirt is printed on a black Alternative Apparel organic crewneck tee (unisex 2XS, XS, S, M, L, XL) with the same fit and feel as our organic Yawp and Baseball tees below. Only available now through this campaign!
Organic "Crane #24" Baseball Tee
Free Admission to Brooklyn Poets Yawp (for VOYAGER and higher perks)
Touted as the "best poetry event in the borough" by Brooklyn Magazine, the Brooklyn Poets Yawp is a monthly poetry workshop & open mic held at 61 Local in Cobble Hill on the second Monday of every month from 7-9 PM. $5 admission, but Brooklyn Poets members get in free!
Brooklyn Poets Level I or II Workshop (for GENIUS and higher perks)
Brooklyn Poets offers small, intensive poetry workshops (4-8 students) taught by award-winning poets in their own homes to foster closer mentoring, peer feedback and attention to craft than traditional graduate workshops offer—at a fraction of the price. Free Level I Foundational Forms or Level II Contemporary Practice workshops in 2014 are available for GENIUS and higher perks.
Signed Book by Brooklyn Poets Faculty Member
Museum-Quality B.I.G. Print
Brooklyn Poets Retreat in the Hamptons (for J-HOVA and higher perks)
Enjoy poetry classes, workshops and readings next May in a beautiful house in the Hamptons within walking distance of the Peconic Bay, with nine ocean beaches nearby and a swimming pool, tennis court, beach volleyball court and hot tubs all on-site. Lodging in a private room, food and drinks for the entire weekend are included with this perk!
OTHER WAYS YOU CAN HELP
If you want to contribute and like one of our tees but prefer to buy it individually, visit our swag store and get it there--though you're getting a deal and saving on shipping through these perk packages. Or come to one of our upcoming events (YAWP or Reading Series) and get some swag or make a donation there. Or visit our Memberships & Donations page and contribute that way. Or just spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, etc, or by writing an article or blogging about The Bridge. Every little bit helps.
Will The Bridge be free?
Yes. Anyone can use The Bridge for free. If you'd like to request a critique from a mentor or take a workshop, you'd pay whatever price was set by the mentor; but there is no requirement to do that. If you're simply interested in sharing your work on The Bridge and exploring others', that's all you have to do!
Why do I have to pay at all?
We'd love to make everything free on The Bridge. But the fact is, mentor poets are already underpaid and overworked, and we're trying to help them as much as the students--we're trying to help them help each other. We're trying to change the culture of poetry education in this country, not contribute to the problem. You'd be paying a mentor because you value his or her particular expertise (that, say, your mom who loves all your poems can't offer), because that mentor is taking time out of what's likely a very busy schedule to give your work the sustained, focused attention it deserves.
How many poems can I have critiqued and what will it cost?
You can submit any number of poems for critique based on the bundles offered by the mentor you choose. Brooklyn Poets will recommend several bundles to mentors at what we think are reasonable prices--and let the mentors decide what's right for them. For example:
- 1 poem (1 pg) $15
- 1-2 poems (2 pgs) $20
- 3-5 poems (3-6 pgs) $40
- Writing sample (10-12 pgs) $70
- Chapbook (24-32 pgs) $100
- Full-length book (48-64 pgs) $145
But what if I can't afford a mentor?
Here's the cool part: you can get free critiques. You can submit individual poems to the free critiques queue on The Bridge, which a prospective mentor will critique as part of the application process--you just wouldn't know the mentor's work or skills/influences or how long it would take to get your feedback.
Can mentors choose which poems they want to critique?
Yes. We don't think mentors should have to critique work they're not the best judge of--this doesn't serve the student or the mentor. Mentors can preview student work submitted for critique and accept or decline it. If declined a critique, students can move on to find other mentors without wasting their time or money on a mentor who's not excited about their work.
Can students provide feedback on mentors' critiques?
Yes. After receiving a critique or taking a workshop, students can leave feedback about a mentor's work, which only we and the mentor will see. Mentors can earn stars based on the number of positive ratings they receive. The better the critiques, the more stars a mentor can earn, attracting more students. Too many negative ratings of a certain kind and a poet can be stripped of mentorship privileges.
Is a comment on a poem the same thing as a critique?
No. Anyone is free to comment on a poem on The Bridge, including mentors, but that is not what we mean by a critique. A critique would be, at the very least, a rigorous written response to a student's work that a mentor would return to a student's inbox on The Bridge. A mentor might offer more critiquing services than that for a higher price, including off-site phone or video conferencing or in-person meetings, but that is up to each mentor.
How will mentors get paid?
Students will pay mentors for critiques and workshops through our secure e-commerce platform. Mentors will get paid by direct deposit into the bank account they've linked to the site. Brooklyn Poets will take a small percentage of the payment for setting up, handling and securing the transaction.
When will I get my perks?
We're planning to have any material perks to you by Christmas (wristbands, tees, books, etc.), so you can enjoy your holiday season in style and/or give someone else the gift of swag. You can get The Bridge perk right now for any $10-and-above contribution--we'll send you an invite so you can reserve your username before the network opens to the public. Straightrazor, Voyager, Bard and Lemon's Crew perks can be picked up on November 21, the night of Lemon Andersen's performance at the Irondale in Fort Greene, provided we already have them in stock. If your perk includes a Brooklyn Poets membership, the membership begins the date you make your contribution and is good for one year; so if you purchase the Voyager perk, for instance, you'll get free admission to the next Yawp on our calendar.
How do I choose what I want if my perk includes options?
Once we've received your contribution, we'll contact you to find out which t-shirt color/style/size you want, or which faculty book or B.I.G. photo, etc.
Is my contribution tax-deductible?
Not yet. We’re incorporated as a 501(c)(3)-type nonprofit in New York, but are still in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status from the IRS, so contributions are not yet tax-deductible but hopefully will be soon.
Founded on Walt Whitman's birthday, May 31, in 2012, Brooklyn Poets is a nonprofit literary organization celebrating and cultivating the poets, poetry and literary heritage of Brooklyn through workshops, readings, open mics, walking tours and writing retreats, as well as the popular Poet of the Week feature on our website. But from the beginning our mission has been to connect the poets of Brooklyn to poets everywhere by building The Bridge.