Our Progress

A journey is made from many small steps. Here are some of the steps we’ve taken to reach our preservation destination:

  • Gathered an extensive collection of recordings of slam poems, performances and ephemera
  • Met with several university library curators and archivists to reconnoiter partnership possibilities
  • Sought and received support from major slam leaders and organizations
  • Applied for an NEH grant and dissected the results
  • Received a significant donation to underwrite administrative costs
  • Examined federal copyright law and established our rights and responsibilities
  • Formalized our collection's accession and access policies
  • Contracted with an academically-based firm to help create our collection's search taxonomy
  • Built this baseline website from which to launch access to our collection's contents
  • Hired a half time Executive Director, in charge of creating a fundraising plan and moving other P4 initiatives forward
  • Launched our first fundraising drive, fall 2016, based on a year long fundraising plan
  • Launched a practical, real-time tool for searching the contents of the P4 collection
  • Signed an agreement with Dartmouth College Rauner Library to become our Repository Partner for the P4 Collection.

Critical Next Steps

Our plans are substantial and many will take extensive time and energy to complete. Here are some of our critical priorities as we move forward:

  • Gather many more recordings of slam poems, performances and ephemera to expand the P4 collection
  • Catalog our collection media to reveal its baseline contents
  • Digitize the media to preserve its poetry performance content and to prepare it for Internet access
  • Examine our collection’s metadata and determine the optimal means to index the content for ready online access
  • Attract volunteers to help us build an online archive of performance poetry
  • Explore partnership possibilities that would share P4's objectives, workload and achievements 

Events timeline

The Performance Poetry Preservation Project's primary mission is to collect, preserve, and provide access to material from the first 25 years of the Poetry Slam movement (1987 through 2012). The following is a brief listing of significant events and milestones in P4's history:

Year Event

As part of our ongoing evolution, and to reduce unneccessary overhead, P4 elects to end the organization's non-profit, 501(c)(3) status.  Read more about this decision here.


Signed an agreement with Dartmouth College Rauner Library to become P4's Repository Partner, and transfered the bulk of our existing collection into their secure and climate-controlled facility.


Geoff Kagan Trenchard joins the P4 Board of Directors.  The P4 Catalog goes live for public searching of our collection.  Search begins for a repository institution to hold and manage the P4 collection.


P4 hires Wess Mongo Jolley as our first Executive Director.  Launches our first fundraising drive.  Migrates all cataloging data into our web-based catalog management system.


Marty McConnell and Karen Garrabrant join the P4 Board of Directors; the new P4 website goes live.


P4 intellectual property confab held at American University, Washington, DC. Susan Somers-Willett and Scott Woods consult; Gerry Stacy leaves Board of Directors; P4 hires MKWriting, Inc. to redesign website.


Phil West donates over 100 chapbooks and books; P4 holds mission clarification meeting in Boston. Susan Somers-Willett, Kurt Heinzelman and Michael Frisch (Randforce) consult; Tom Bouliane donates 88 more CDs and tapes from Gabrielle's collection.


Mongo Wess Jolley donates large sets of CDs to P4 collection; Tom Bouliane donates 266 items from Gabrielle Bouliane's CD and tape collection, including raw NPS footage; Mongo also donates 1,000 IndieFeed podcast shows on hard drive.


P4 incorporated in Massachusetts. P4's initial Board of Directors: Wess Mongo Jolley, Thomas Bouliane, Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz; Aptowicz donates 156 CDs; P4 granted 501(c)(3) status by U.S. Internal Revenue Service; P4 issued permission to solicit tax-exempt funding by Massachusetts Attorney General; Mongo leads presentation to Dan Meyers, Special Collections Curator, University of Chicago, and staff. PSi also represented; first NEH grant applications filed; P4 elects Gerry Stacy to Board of Directors; Taylor Mali donates one box of CDs.


Initial P4 "Concept and Goals" statement completed; PoetryPreservation.org domain secured; met with Michael Basinski, Curator, University of Buffalo Poetry Collection and staff; met with Doug Lambert, Director of Technology, Randforce Associates, LLC, regarding P4 collection metadata; Taylor Mali donates Urbana 2001 season on 51 minidisks, and two players.