BAS is a non-profit organization that was formed in 1995. We are dedicated to the preservation and enhancement of the oral tradition of poetry via live readings, media documentation and creation, and to elevating the status of poetry to that of its sister arts. Our mission includes a strong educational component, introducing all manner of poetries to students of all ages; the preservation of endangered languages via the valuation of the poetry of these cultures; and the infusion and integration of poetry with other arts and into the daily life of the citizenry.
We annually produce over 1,200 poetry, music, folk arts and theater events at the Bowery Poetry Club, New York City, reaching an audience of over 72,000 and serving over 3,600 artists. Our education-through-the-arts programs annually serve over 2,500 adolescents. Our live web streamed programs serve an indirect audience of 100,000, and our Bowery Books publications reach a national audience.
BAS programming includes the “Alzheimer’s Poetry Project,” where we bring professional poets into assisted living and adult day care centers to use poetry with people living with Alzheimer’s disease. Our “World of Poetry” series allows the community to hear poetry from around the world both in its native language and in translation as read by the translator. The theme of our “Griot in New York” series is to reveal the connections between urban hip-hop and spoken word, and their shared roots in the oral tradition of poetry. We produce the Summer Institute of Social Justice and Applied Poetics with Urban Word NYC, series has six master classes and 15 workshops for serving over 500 underserved, at-risk New York City youth.