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Monday, February 02, 2009
New York Times Profiles 92Y’s Poetry Center Schools Project

Junot Díaz jokes with Anhthao Nguyen, left, Farhana Chowdhury and Jonathan Espinosa. Credit: Kirsten Luce for The New York Times

The New York Times profiles one of the many inspiring community outreach programs that the 92nd Street Y is proud to offer, the Poetry Center Schools Project.

It was sort of like the Algonquin Round Table, that celebrated gathering of famed New York writers, but instead of martinis and Manhattans, ginger ale chasers followed slices of cheese pizza.

And the setting was not a Midtown hotel — the round table convened at the Algonquin — but the 92nd Street Y.

Still, the caliber of the writers was impressive: Jamaica Kincaid, the critically acclaimed novelist with roots in Antigua, and Junot Díaz, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author who was born in the Dominican Republic.

They were sharing a meal as well as their life stories and their literary insights with a group of 40 New York City high school students who, along with the two established writers, believe that striving to string together the right words is a worthy endeavor.

The dinner last week was part of a project sponsored by the 92nd Street Y that for more than 20 years has introduced writers like Tom Wolfe, Joan Didion and Harold Pinter to public school students, who are free to ask anything they want. Over the years, more than 6,000 public high school students have met more than 300 writers.

Read the full article and explore more outreach programs at the Y that help bring the arts and educational enrichment in the sciences to New York City public schools.

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