Poetry is not a luxury.

                               Audre Lorde



       Parachute Literary Arts created the first Parachute Poetry Library in the YWCA Teen Empowerment Program inside Coney Island's Rachel Carson High School for Coastal Studies. Parachute was in residence there,  leading a weekly writing workshop for teenage girls since 2011. In 2013, (after Superstorm Sandy) Parachute Literary Arts conducted a crowd-sourcing book drive, through Facebook, Twitter and word-of-mouth via our network of poets, for brand new poetry books. We noticed that not only did the high school's library lack poetry books reflecting the multicultural diversity of the students, but the high school lacked books, period. All in all, we counted two poetry books, both of which had pictures in them. The teenagers in the workshop really enjoyed reading and poetry, so why were there no books in their school’s library? The Parachute Poetry Library initiative received over 250 books from poets and independent small presses worldwide!  Poets from as nearby as Red Hook and Crown Heights and as far away as Amman, Jordan and Madrid, Spain heard our call and sent their poetry books signed with a personal inscription for a teenage reader in Coney Island.

      Everyday, more boxes arrived at the high school. Small hand addressed boxes came from  various parts of the country with handmade zines and chapbooks inside their yellow envelopes. Large boxes came from such independent presses as Wave Books in Seattle, Belladonna Collective in Brooklyn and Least Weasel in Massachusetts. The teenage girls in the YWCA  writing group enjoyed digging in, reading the notes and discovering new poetry voices. All of the books are new and donated directly by the book's author or publisher.

   A small selection of additional titles was curated by Parachute Literary Arts staff specifically for this library to reflect the rich multicultural and multilingual diversity of the Coney Island neighborhood. The library boasts titles in Spanish, Russian and English. It is now the only library in the entire school. 



   After the success of the first Parachute Poetry Library in 2013, we went on to pursue a second Parachute Poetry Library in Coney Island's NYCHA's Surfside Gardens in 2014 with an accompanying 8 week teen workshop led by poet, Lynn Melnick (author of If I Should Say I Have Hope).



Parachute Literary Arts would like to extend our gratitude to the generosity of the following publishers and authors who contributed to making the libraries possible:

Wave Books, Richard Hugo House, Least Weasel, Belladonna Collective, Best American Poetry and David Lehman, Tin House, Coconut Books, Pascale Lore Schyns, Matthea Harvey, Patricia Spears Jones, Lynn Melnick, New York Writers Coalition, Bloof Books (and innumerable individual authors who sent their book to the school).


 The YWCA Teen Library 

(A selection of books from Parachute Literary Arts Poetry Library in Rachel Carson High School For Coastal Studies.)

The Mimic Sea- Erica Bernheim
A Hotel Lobby at the Edge of the World- Adam Clay
Little Apocalypse- Wendy Battin
Sad Little Breathing Machine- Matthea Harvey
Modern Life- Matthea Harvey
Cecil the Pet Glacier- Matthea Harvey
Traveling through Glass- Beth Copeland Vargas
Transcendental Telemarketer- Beth Copeland
Injecting Dreams Into Cows- Jessy Randall
The Spider Sermons- Robert Krut
Sudden Dog- Matthew Pennock
Necessary Silence- Lisa C. Taylor
Insufficient Thanks- Lisa C. Taylor
Wayworn Wooden Floors- Mark Lavorato (Ontario, Canada ) 
Bliss Crisis- Jules Gibbs
If I Should Say I Have Hope- Lynn Melnick
Blood Almanac- Sandy Longhorn
The Coast Starlight: Collected Poems 1976-2006, Hans Ostrom
Clear a Place for Good – Hans Ostrom
The Haunted House- Marisa Crawford
One Bedroom Solo- Sheila Maldonado
Orange Fruits Grow On Rose Trees- Pascale Lore Schyns (Madrid, Spain) 
Tulips, Water, Ash- Susan
Bloodcoal and Honey- Dan Gutstein
Heredity-Patricia Storace
Song I Want a Witness- Michael S. Harper
Dangerous Music- Jessica Hagedorn
Nocturnes- Kathleen Kirk
Selected Roles- Kathleen Kirk
Disposable Camera- Janet Foxman
Whelm- Dawn Lonsinger
Portuguese- Brandon Shimoda
Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House
Tin House Spring 2013
Best American Poetry: (various volumes)
Great American Prose Poems : from Poe to the Present ed. David Lehman (2)
Columbia Poetry Review no. 25
Ugly Duckling Presse 6x6 25
KGB Bar Book of Poems Ed David Lehman and Star Black
32 Poems
A Gringo Like Me- Jennifer L. Knox
The Mystery of the Hidden Driveway- Jennifer L. Knox
Warsaw Bikini- Sandra Simonds
TINA- Matt Hart
Poetry!Poetry!Poetry! - Peter Davis
My Zorba- Danielle Pafunda
Down Spooky- Shanna Compton
Brink – Shanna Compton
For Girls and Others- Shanna Compton
The Alphabet of Desire- Barbara Hamby
The Needle- Jennifer Grotz
She Didn’t Mean to Do It- Daisy Fried
Good Hope Road- Stuart Dischell
Muscular Music- Terrance Hayes
Climbing Down- Carl Dennis
The Alphabet in the Park – Adelia Prado ( Translated by Ellen Watson and signed by her)
Jab-Mark Halladay
Sweet Jesus: Poems About the Ultimate Icon Edited by Nick Carbo and Denise Duhamel
A Book of Luminous Things: An International Anthology of Poetry Edited by Czeslaw Milosz
Sonata Mulatica- Rita Dove
The Girl in the Midst of the Harvest- Kathryn Stripling Byer
Sonnets from the Portugesese and Other Poems- Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Gardening in the Dark- Laura Kasischke
Homesick- Roger Fanning
Complete Poems of Marianne Moore
Letters to a Young Poet- Rainier Maria Rilke
Shroud of the Gnome- James Tate
Twerk- Latasha N. Nevada Diggs
Area- Marcella Durand
Looking Up Harryette Mullen- Interviews between Barbara Henning and Harryette Mullen
Everywhere Here in Brooklyn - Kristan Prevallet
Prime Time Writers- NY Writers Coalition
Once You Were Set Free- NY Writers Coaltion (Ali Fourney Center)
The Upside of Survival- NY Writers Coalition
I Feel Surreal- NY Writers Coaltion (The Ridge Kids)
Ridge Girls 2007- NY Writers Coaltion
Blossom Review- NY Writers Coalition
The Hidden Chorus- NY Writers Coalition
Learning to Make Fire- NY Writers Coaltion



The NYCHA Surfside Teen Center Library

(A Selection of books from Parachute Poetry Library in  NYCHA Surfside Gardens.)

Falling in Love - Sheila E. Murphy
Greatest Hits - Sheila E. Murphy
Proof of Silhouettes - Sheila E. Murphy
Great American Prose Poems
Best American Poetry 1999
If these streets could talk- fiction and poetry from ny writers coaltion
Journey to Wisconsin: African American Life in Haiku -  by Fabu
Karma’s Footsteps - Mariahadessa Ekere Tallie
One Bedroom Solo - Sheila Maldonado
Selected Poems - Gwendolyn Brooks
Tulips Water Ash -  Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet
Women Write Resistance -  Ed. Laura Madeline Wiseman
The Annual Brevitas Festival of Short Poems 6
Dark Season - Mark Weiss
Ancient Celebrity Tune Rot -  Elizabeth Treadwell


During the 2011-2013 academic year, Ms. Deutch recognized the lack of access to books in Rachel Carson High Schools’ library. In addition, the closest public Brooklyn library was still inoperable due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Ms. Deutch was determined to give students access to poetry books and began a campaign through her network of poets and writers. With their support, Parachute Literary Arts was able to establish a poetry library for not only the students in the YWCA of the City of New York, but also the entire school!
— Rosana Shields Director Emeritis, YWCA Teen Empowerment Program, Rachel Carson High School Coney Island