While the organization is overjoyed to see the growing popularity of events like the Jazz Poetry Concert, Reese says it is critical that they don’t overshadow why City of Asylum was first founded.

“It’s really important that our programs don’t lose sight of why we exist, which is to protect the writers and highlight the threats to creative expression.”

Asked about the name “Alphabet City,” Reese says it is at once a nod to the Alphabet City neighborhood in New York but also, more importantly, symbolic of the collective symbols from which all works of literature and written language are based.

“We think of this as a way for the community to write its future, together.”