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Goldwater Hospital Benefit Reading

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The New York University Goldwater Hospital Writing Project, started 24 years ago by NYU professor and acclaimed poet Sharon Olds in conjunction with Ambassador Jean Kennedy Smith, Rose Styron and Very Special Arts, is a collaborative workshop which brings together the talented residents of Goldwater Memorial Hospital and teaching fellows from the NYU Creative Writing Program. The heart of the project is a weekly creative writing workshop led by graduate student fellows for the Golden Writers, a group of long-term Goldwater residents with severe disabilities. The program also includes weekly one-on-one tutorials, three public readings each year and the biannual Golden Writers’ Anthology.  


The essence of this project is the powerful certainty that creative talent can be nourished regardless of traditional boundaries and that the process of self-expression through the written word is healing. While some patients cannot vocalize their ideas and must communicate via computerized devices and others, unable to physically write, must dictate their drafts and revisions, they all create poems that are vital and meaningful, enriched by their triumphs, frustrations and self-reflection. The workshop welcomes everyone, regardless of our challenges, into the creative writing community and permits a wonderful validation of the human spirit.
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The Goldwater Memorial Hospital is a municipal hospital committed to caring for the people who live there by recognizing and supporting individuals’ needs.  The hospital focuses on respecting patients’ rights by helping each individual reach his or her highest practicable level of function in an atmosphere and environment that enhances self-image, fosters independence and preserves human dignity. Goldwater Hospital continues its tradition of flexibility and innovation to continuously improve the quality of care and quality of life of its patient-residents, families and staff.  
komunyakaa.jpg The Jean Kennedy Smith NYU Creative Writing Award of Distinction was established to recognize important writers for their lifelong contributions to American letters. Past recipients are Lucille Clifton, Toni Morrison, Galway Kinnell, Stanley Kunitz, Philip Levine, Jean Valentine, Tomas Tranströmer and Russell Banks. The award has been named for Jean Kennedy Smith for her ongoing support of the Goldwater Writing Project. NYU congratulates the 2009 award recipient, Yusef Komunyakaa.