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PoemQuest began as the response to an assignment in a class taught by Newest Americans co-founder Tim Raphael.

Students were asked to speak with people in Newark’s Riverfront Park to find out who was using the park and why. Dania Rohani, a physics major, shared what she had learned through poetry. We loved the idea and PoemQuest was born.

PoemQuest tells the story of Riverfront Park through the voices of local poets commissioned by Newest Americans to interview visitors and share their stories through poetry. The poets asked questions designed to understand how visitors are connected to the park and to New Jersey—Where did your family come from before settling in New Jersey? What brought you here? What brings you to this park? 

The Pokemon Go inspired game leads players through the park searching for poems that tell the stories of the people who visit it. Poems are “captured” by following the trail of photographs by photojournalist Ed Kashi that provide clues for discovering the poetry in and of Riverfront Park.Once the game is over players are prompted to share their own poem about the journey that led them to Newark and their connection to Riverfront Park.  PoemQuest connects art to history through an interactive game that peoples the park with poetry.

Teens hang out and smoke along the water in Riverfront Park in Newark, New Jersey on June 19, 2018.