In recognition of a generous gift from the Amber Walker Estate in memory of Christopher Lightfoot Walker, the Poetry Center’s Schools Project has been renamed the 92Y Christopher Lightfoot Walker Literature Project.
Chris was a longtime volunteer at the Poetry Center, making transcriptions of audio recordings from our archive that were models of their kind. This gift honors his commitment to the belief that widespread access to great literature can change young people’s lives.
This long-running program inspires New York City public high school students to connect with contemporary and classic literature by attending Poetry Center readings and meeting with featured authors. Founded in 1987, the Project engages approximately 1,500 students each year from 15 high schools and is free-of-charge for students and their schools. Prior to events, the Project coordinator visits participating schools to introduce students to the work of the authors they will meet via reading excerpts and creative-writing exercises. Students and teachers are provided free transportation to 92Y for informal dinners and discussion with the authors they have studied in school and then attend the authors’ readings. The students also receive souvenir copies of the authors’ latest books. The Project conducts a free weekly writing workshop for participating students that meets at 92Y throughout the school year. Authors who have participated in the Project over the years include Junot Díaz, Salman Rushdie, Patti Smith, Jamaica Kincaid, Tony Kushner, Adrienne Rich, Zadie Smith, David Mitchell, Nadine Gordimer, Sandra Cisneros, Grace Paley, Mario Vargas Llosa, August Wilson, Arthur Miller, Lucille Clifton, E. L. Doctorow and many, many others.
For more information, contact Project coordinator Wendy Salinger at 212.415.5764 / email
Donor support allows 92Y to bring the resources of the Unterberg Poetry Center to more than 1,500 students from 15 New York City high schools each year. Readings by acclaimed authors animate the written word while classroom training and 92Y workshops provide a forum for students to transform their own thoughts into words on a page.