Watch live readings by two poets in Shantell Martin’s The May Room

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Raquel Salas Rivera reads a poem in The May Room

Intimate and expansive at the same time, the atmosphere inside Shantell Martin’s immersive installation, The May Room, lends itself particularly well to celebrations of the written and spoken word.

The May Room has hosted a variety of public poetry reading events since opening in September, three of which were presented by the Poetry Society of America showcasing poets from diverse backgrounds through partner organizations including CantoMundo and Kundiman.

The last Poetry Society of America-produced event, Puerto Rico en mi corazón, celebrated the poetry collection of the same name published this year in response to Hurricane Maria and the storm’s profound effects on Puerto Rico and its people. Featuring works by 40 poets in both Spanish and English, Puerto Rico en mi corazón provides a human perspective on the disaster while its proceeds benefit hurricane relief efforts.

For the event, Puerto Rican poets Raquel Salas Rivera and Ricardo Alberto Maldonado, both co-editors of the eponymous collection, performed live readings of works of theirs included in the book. See videos of the readings below and on the Poetry Society of America’s Youtube page.


Shantell Martin’s The May Room enlivens the interior of Our Lady Star of the Sea, a deconsecrated former chapel, into a modern site for reflection, contemplation and connection. The May Room and its lineup of programs like Puerto Rico en mi corazón breathe new life into the structure, making use of it for the first time in over 20 years.

The May Room will be open for special viewing hours on Wednesday 10/30 and Thursday 10/31, 1-4pm both days, before the end of Governors Island’s 2019 public access season.

Read more about The May Room and Puerto Rico en mi corazón.