For 30 years, the Poetry Project has been hosting its annual New Year’s Day Marathon, an 11-hour epic that showcases some of America’s leading scribes. Whether you stick out the entire event or just duck in to graze, this is a great way to supercharge your new year, with an all-star lineup of 120 poets and performers, including Philip Glass, Patti Smith, Lenny Kaye, Anne Waldman, Eileen Myles, Judith Malina and Hanon Reznikov, Willie Perdomo, Dael Orlandersmith, Taylor Mead, Elliot Sharp, Marc Ribot, Christopher Stackhouse, Dana Bryant, Maggie Estep, and Tuli Kupferberg.
But New York is also riddled with poetry factions, so 10 years ago a rebel camp started up a free Alternative New Year’s Day Spoken Word/Performance Extravaganza to give voice to a more rambunctious cast of lesser-known ranters and scribblers—though you’ll find some of the St. Marks crowd straying over here too. This year’s alt roundup is themed “In From the Cold,” and features 150-plus performers, including Penny Arcade, Hettie Jones, John S. Hall, Tsaurah Litzky, Bingo Gazingo, Hal Sirowitz, Taylor Mali, Wanda Phipps, and Bob Holman, plus an open mic for those who sign up early. Bring donations of canned food for City Harvest and paperbacks for Books Through Bars, a prison literacy program.