Push Ups for Poetry
from Black Ocean founder: Janaka Stucky
What is Push Ups For Poetry?
Push Ups for Poetry is a fundraising project I began on Monday, August 10th 2009. I decided to set a goal for myself: in one month's time be able to complete 100 push ups without taking a break. This is not a herculean task by any stretch of the imagination, but it is also something decidedly difficult for most of us who aren't in solid athletic shape. On my first trial run, I was able to complete 40 push ups in a single set. I will train for the next four weeks, and plan on completing a single set of 100 push ups by the end of that time. All the money raised will then be donated to Poets House, in New York City.
Why a Fundraiser?
As I began setting this goal for myself, I started thinking about how I could turn my coming month of effort into something beneficial and productive for a larger community. I decided it would be fun to ask people to pledge on a per-push-up-basis, and promise to pay a final amount upon my completion--much like a charity walk. When I go through my final trial, on Labor Day, those who pledged will pay according to however many push ups I'm able to complete, whether that final number is 50 or 150. So for instance, if you pledge $1 per-push-up, and I'm able to complete 100 push ups, you'll donate $100 to the cause. My goal is to raise $5,000. If I can get 50 people to pledge $1 per-push-up, I can reach this goal--and redeem my faith in humanity at the same time. I need your help!
Why Poets House?
I've been following the work at Poets House for almost a decade now, and I've been extraordinarily impressed. They are a well-run foundation, with an exceptional amount of integrity, dedicated to completely archiving new volumes of poetry every year, as well as hosting and producing a variety of events aimed at increasing awareness and appreciation for poetry. In their own words: "Poets House is a national poetry library and literary center that invites poets and the public to step into the living tradition of poetry. Our poetry resources and literary events document the wealth and diversity of modern poetry, and stimulate public dialogue on issues of poetry in culture."
They have just moved into a new location in Battery Park City. Donating now will help ensure that the transition goes smoothly, and that they're able to really take advanatge of everything that this fantastic new space has to offer.
Why Push Ups?
Push ups are one of the most basic and most effective exercises for the human body. More importantly, push ups can be performed no matter where you are and they're completey free. You don't need a gym and you don't need any equipment. All you need is your body and the discipline to act. Additionally, I'm really drawn to the idea of using an aggressively physical activity to fundraise for an intensely cerebral cause. I love paradoxes and subversion, and this endeavor works against stereotypes in both directions; one can be big and strong and enjoy reading, or conversely one can be a bookworm and still kick ass.
Who Am I?
I'm a poet in my own right, as well as the publisher of a small press called Black Ocean. Although I've always had a large physical stature, I've never really enjoyed team sports or a particularly athletic lifestyle. I indulge in a variety of recreational vices and often find myself lapsing into daydreams of anarchist utopias. Feel free to google my name to see me as other strangers do.
To read more about the past several weeks go to:
If you'd like to donate, just send me an email to:
There are only 48 hours left to pledge! Any pledge of $100 or more will recieve a FREE COPY of the LIMITED EDITION (signed and numbered of 200) of Zachary Schomburg's Scary, No Scary to any pledge of $100 or more. That's a $30 value right there. Your contributions are tax-deductible as well.
Donations are made on the honor system because I won't be collecting any money until I've completed my final trial. Please consider pledging even 10 or 25 cents per push up, but if you're in no position to donate at lest help me get the word out and share this information with someone who might be able to contribute!