March 2019

Friday, 3/1

Saturday, 3/2

Sunday, 3/3

Monday, 3/4

Tuesday, 3/5

Wednesday, 3/6

Thursday, 3/7

Friday, 3/8

Saturday, 3/9

Sunday, 3/10

Monday, 3/11

Lunch with novelist Madeline Miller

Hosted by Avery Rome

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

co-sponsored by: The Creative Writing Program
RSVP to: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM

Madeline Miller grew up in New York City and Philadelphia. She attended Brown University, where she earned her BA and MA in Classics. She has taught and tutored Latin, Greek and Shakespeare to high school students for the past twenty years.

She has also studied at the University of Chicago’s Committee on Social Thought, and in the Dramaturgy department at Yale School of Drama, where she focused on the adaptation of classical texts to modern forms.

The Song of Achilles, her first novel, was awarded the 2012 Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Bestseller. It has been translated into over twenty-five languages including Dutch, Mandarin, Japanese, Turkish, Arabic and Greek. Madeline was also shortlisted for the 2012 Stonewall Writer of the Year. Her second novel, Circe, was an instant number 1 New York Times bestseller, and won the 2018 Elle Big Book Award. Madeline's essays have appeared in a number of publications including the Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Telegraph, Lapham's Quarterly and NPR.org. She currently lives outside Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Hub Meeting

5:00 PM

rsvp: jalowent@writing.upenn.edu

Join us for a meeting of the Hub, the core of engaged faculty, students, staff, and volunteers who help make things happen at Writers House. Anyone is welcome to become a Hub member by participating in Hub activities and helping out. Members of the Hub plan programs, share ideas, and discuss upcoming projects.

Tuesday, 3/12

Lunch with Nova Ren Suma

Creative Writing Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
hosted by: Beth Kephart

Nova Ren Suma is the author of A Room Away from the Wolves and the #1 New York Times bestselling The Walls Around Us, a finalist for an Edgar Award. She also wrote Imaginary Girls and 17 & Gone and is co-creator of FORESHADOW: A Serial YA Anthology. She has an MFA in fiction from Columbia University and teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She grew up in the Hudson Valley, spent most of her adult life in New York City, and now lives in Philadelphia.

Photo by Alison Cherry


Zine Rave

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Join ALYSON DEL PINO (C’21) and JACOB KIND (C’20), curators of the Writers House Zine Library, for the second Zine Rave, a collective zine-making event. After a quick workshop on single-sheet book forms, participants can spend all night making zines to their heart’s desire. Bring material to cut up and transform (magazine, printed material, other clip art). Organizers write: "This is not a marketing scheme.”

Wednesday, 3/13

Speakeasy Open Mic Night

7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

Our student-run open mic night welcomes all kinds of readings, performances, spectacles, and happenings. Bring your poetry, your guitar, your dance troupe, your award-winning essay, or your stand up comedy to share.

Thursday, 3/14

A conversation with Tamara Jenkins

Hartman Screenwriting Symposium

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Kathy DeMarco Van Cleve
RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 746-POEM

Tamara Jenkins is the writer/director of The Savages, Slums of Beverly Hills and several award-winning short films. The Savages premiered at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival and it received two Academy Award nominations (Best Actress and Best Original Screenplay), the Best Screenplay award from both the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the Film Independent Spirit Awards, and many other honors. Jenkins lives in NYC with her husband and daughter.

Friday, 3/15

Saturday, 3/16

Sunday, 3/17

Monday, 3/18

LIVE at the Writers House

7:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

LIVE at the Writers House is a long-standing collaboration of the people of the Kelly Writers House and of WXPN (88.5 FM). Six times annually between September and April, the Writers House airs a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, along with one musical guest -- from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN. "LIVE" is broadcast on WXPN. "LIVE" is made possible through the generous support of BigRoc and is produced by Alli Katz.


Tuesday, 3/19

Your Language My Ear: Readings

Polina Barskova, Dmitry Kuzmin, Elena Mikhailik, Galina Rymbu, and Leonid Schwab

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Supported by: CEC ArtsLink, The Department of English, The Department of Russian and East European Studies, The Program in Comparative Literature, The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, Ugly Ducking Presse, and Writers Without Borders
Organized by: Kevin Platt
watch: a video recording of this program via PennSound
listen: to an audio recording of this program

Your Language My Ear is a translation symposium that brings together Russian and American poets, along with American scholars, translators and students of Russian poetry, for intensive translation of contemporary poetry from Russian to English and vice versa at the University of Pennsylvania. The third YLME symposium is scheduled for March 13-March 20 and will include events at Princeton University, our partner institution. Our guests for this iteration of the symposium include: Polina Barskova, Dmitry Kuzmin, Elena Mikhailik, Galina Rymbu, and Leonid Schwab. For more information, visit the project website.

Polina Barskova is an associate professor of Russian Literature at Hampshire College. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. She is the author of twelve collections of poetry in Russian, including her latest volume of selected poems Solnechnoe utro na ploshchadi (A Sunny Morning on the Square, 2018), and author of a collection of short stories entitled Zhiviye kartiny (Living Pictures, 2014), for which she was awarded the Andrei Belyi Prize (2015). Three collections of her poetry have appeared in English translation: This Lamentable City (2010), Zoo in Winter (2011) and Relocations (2013). She edited the anthology Written In The Dark, named Best Literary Translation into English for 2017 by the American Association of Teachers of Slavic and Eastern European Languages, and of two scholarly works in Russian: a reader on the Siege of Leningrad Blokada: svidetel’stva o leningradskoi blokade (2017) and a collection of conference papers Blokadnye narrativy (2017). Her first English monograph, Besieged Leningrad: Aesthetic Responses to Urban Disaster, was published in 2017.

Dmitri Kuzmin is a poet, translator, editor and organizer of literary projects. He was born in Moscow in 1968. He has taught at various Russian educational institutions, and in 2014 was visiting professor of Russian poetry at Princeton University. Kuzmin co-authored the first Russian textbook of poetry. He is the founder of the publishing house Argo-Risk (1993), the site Vavilon (1997), and the journal Vozdukh. He has been editor of a number of anthologies, including one of contemporary Russian LGBT poetry. He headed the first almanac of Russian haiku, Triton, and the first journal of LGBT literature in Russia, RISK, and also created the online directory New Map of Literary Russia and the gallery Faces of Russian Literature. He was honored for his organizational work in 2002 with the Andrei Bely Prize. His 2008 collection of poetry and translations was recognized with the Moskovskii schet prize for best debut book of the year. His own poetry has been translated into fourteen languages. Kuzmin has translated into Russian Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s Southern Mail, the works of the American poets e.e. cummings, Auden, Charles Reznikoff, C. K. Williams, as well as the works of Ukrainian, French, Belarusian, German, and Polish poets. Due to his opposition to the Russian political regime he has lived since 2014 in Latvia, where he has founded the Literature Without Borders project—an international poetry foundation and residency for translators of poetry. Since 2017, the project has been funding the Poetry Without Borders festival in Riga.

Elena Mikhailik was born in Odesa in 1970. She graduated from Odesa State University, where she studied literature. In 1993 she emigrated to Australia and since that time resides in Sydney. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of New South Wales with a dissertation on “Varlam Shalamov: The Poetics of the ‘New Prose.’” She teaches translation at the University of New South Wales as well as at Macquarie University. She is the author of one collection of poetry, Ni snom ni oblakom (Not by dream or cloud, 2008), and her poems have been published in Vozdukh, Volga, Deti Ra, Arion, and other journals. Her scholarly monograph, Nezakonchennaia kometa. Varlam Shalamov: opyt medlennogo chteniia (Incomplete Comet: Varlam Shalamov, an Exercise in Close Reading), on the poetics and rhetoric of the Kolyma Stories, was recently published in Moscow.


Galina Rymbu is a poetess, literary critic, curatrix, and philosopher from Lviv, Ukraine. Born in 1990 in Omsk, Siberia, Rymbu graduated from the Gorky Institute of Literature in Moscow and received a Masters in socio-political philosophy from the European University at Saint Petersburg. She is the co-foundress and curatrix of the Arkady Dragomoshchenko Poetry Prize for young Russian-language poets. She teaches at the St. Petersburg School of New Film and has organized seminars dedicated to feminist literature and the theory of “F-writing.” She is on the editorial board of the poetry series Novye stikhi (Poriadok Slov Publishing House). Her poetry has been translated into English, German, Spanish, Swedish, Italian, Polish, and Latvian, and has been published in the journals Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, Vozdukh, Translit, Snob, n+1, Arc Poetry, The White Review, Berlin Quarterly, Music&Literature, Asymptote, and Powder Keg among others. She has published five books of poetry, including one in English translation. She was the 2017 poet laureate of the Poetry Without Borders festival in Riga, and participates in festivals, conferences, and seminars all over Europe.

Leonid Schwab was born in Bobruysk, Belarus in 1961. He graduated from Moscow State Technological University and has lived and worked in Orenburg and Vladimir. Since 1990 he has lived in Jerusalem. His work has been published in the journals Zerkalo, Solnechnoe spletenie, Dvoetochie, and in the anthology Vse srazu. He is the author of the poetry collections Poverit’ v botaniku (Believing in Botany, 2005) and Vash Nikolai (Your Nikolai, 2015). Schwab has been recognized with the Andrei Bely Prize (short-listed in 2004, laureate in 2016).


Wednesday, 3/20

Your Language My Ear: Discussion

Polina Barskova, Dmitry Kuzmin, Elena Mikhailik, Galina Rymbu, and Leonid Schwab

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Supported by: CEC ArtsLink, The Department of English, The Department of Russian and East European Studies, The Program in Comparative Literature, The Sachs Program for Arts Innovation, Ugly Ducking Presse, and Writers Without Borders
Organized by: Kevin Platt
watch: a video recording of this program via PennSound
listen: to an audio recording of this program

Your Language My Ear is a translation symposium that brings together Russian and American poets, along with American scholars, translators and students of Russian poetry, for intensive translation of contemporary poetry from Russian to English and vice versa at the University of Pennsylvania. The third YLME symposium is scheduled for March 13-March 20 and will include events at Princeton University, our partner institution. Our guests for this iteration of the symposium include: Polina Barskova, Dmitry Kuzmin, Elena Mikhailik, Galina Rymbu, and Leonid Schwab. For more information, visit the project website.

Ahmad Almallah and Tom Sleigh

A reading and conversation

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by Al Filreis

Tom Sleigh's many books include Station Zed, Army Cats, (John Updike Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters), and Space Walk (Kingsley Tufts Award). He has also received a Guggenheim Fellowship, an American Academy in Berlin Fellowship, and two National Endowment for the Arts grants. He is a Distinguished Professor at Hunter College and works as a journalist in the Middle East and Africa. His most recent books, published as companion pieces, are The Land Between Two Rivers: Writing In an Age of Refugees, and a volume of poems, House of Fact, House of Ruin, both published by Graywolf in 2018. Sleigh has published in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, VQR, APR, Poetry, Threepenny, and elsewhere, and has been widely anthologized in publications such as The Best of the Best American Poetry, the Best American Poetry, The Pushcart Prize, and the Best American Travel Writing.

Ahmad Almallah grew up in Bethlehem, Palestine and moved to NYC when he was 18 years old. During his time in the US, he obtained a PhD in Arabic and Comparative literature from Indiana University in Bloomington. He received the 2018 Edith Goldberg Paulson Memorial Prize for Creative Writing, and his set of poems “Recourse,” won the 2017 Blanche Colton Williams Fellowship. Some of his poems appeared in Jacket2, Track//Four, All Roads will lead You Home, Apiary, Supplement, SAND and in the Michigan Quarterly Review and forthcoming in the anthology Making Mirrors: Righting/Writing by Refugees. He obtained his MFA in poetry from Hunter College, and his book of poems Bitter English is forthcoming in the Phoenix Poets Series from the University of Chicago Press.

Thursday, 3/21

City Planning Poetics 7: Carceral Justice

Emily Abendroth and Nina Johnson

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by: Davy Knittle
Sponsored by: Creative Ventures
watch: a video recording of this program via PennSound
listen: to an audio recording of this program

Emily Abendroth is a poet, teacher, and anti-prison activist. Much of her creative work investigates state regimes of surveillance, force, and power, as well as individual and collective resistance strategies. Her books include ]Exclosures[ from Ahsahta Press and The Instead, a collaboration with fiction writer Miranda Mellis, from Carville Annex. Her works are often published in limited edition, handcrafted chapbooks by small and micropresses such as Belladonna, Horse Less Press, Little Red Leaves, Albion Press, and Zumbar.She has been awarded residencies at the MacDowell Colony, the Millay Colony and the Headlands Center for the Arts, and was named a 2013 Pew Fellow in Poetry. She is an active organizer with the Coalition to Abolish Death By Incarceration (a grassroots campaign working to end life without parole sentencing in Pennsylvania) and is co-founder of Address This! (an education and empowerment project that provides innovative, social justice correspondence courses to individuals incarcerated in Pennsylvania) and the media project LifeLines: Voices Against the Other Death Penalty.

Nina Johnson is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the Coordinator of the Program in Black Studies at Swarthmore College. Consistent with her previous study in Urban Studies (BA, Penn), African-American Studies(BA, Penn) and Culture, Communication and Criticism (MA, New York University), her research interests lie in the areas of inequality, politics, race, space, class, culture, stratification and mobility. She has recently published papers on issues of community and residential choice relative to the experience of upward mobility (A Long Way From Home: Race, Community, and Educational Opportunity) and a sociology of Black Liberation and contributed to a documentary (Turning A Corner, Beyondmedia Productions) on the legal, economic, and social barriers to exiting prostitution. She has done work on a project that looks at representations of race, class and place in mid century black novels, including the work of James Baldwin, Richard Wright, and Zora Neale Hurston and a community video project on the impact of Islam on black religious, social and political life in Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley. Based on her dissertation research (PhD Sociology, Northwestern University), her book project revisits Du Bois’ and Frazier's classic works and considers issues of identity and meaning making processes among the black elite, its relationship to the larger black population, and its role in any projects of collective racial advancement. Her current research is a multi-method study of the impacts of mass incarceration at the neighborhood level, which is complimented by her teaching courses in Urban Sociology, Race and Public Policy in State Correctional Institutions in Pennsylvania. She wholeheartedly endorses every word of James Baldwin, but finds the following particularly prescient in shaping and informing her work, “The time has come, God knows, for us to examine ourselves, but we can only do this if we are willing to free ourselves of the myth of America and try to find out what is really happening here.”

Friday, 3/22

Saturday, 3/23

Sunday, 3/24

Monday, 3/25

A reading by Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp required: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu

Poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, born 1947 in Beijing, is known for her poems' long, deceptively prose-like line, which she uses to navigate through many interconnected topics, including the natural world and the inner realm of human thought and perception.  

Berssenbrugge is the author of The Heat Bird (1983), winner of the American Book Award; Empathy (1989), winner of the PEN West Award; Sphericity (1993); Endocrinology (1997), a collaboration with the artist Kiki Smith; Four Year Old Girl (1998), winner of the Western States Book Award; Nest (2003); I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems (2006); and Hello, the Roses (2013). She received a BA from Reed College and an MFA from Columbia University. Berssenbrugge has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and honors from the Western States Art Foundation and the Asian American Writers Workshop, and has taught at both the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and in New York City. She resides in New Mexico.

Tuesday, 3/26

A brunch conversation with Mei-mei Berssenbrugge

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

10:00 AM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp required: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu

Poet Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, born 1947 in Beijing, is known for her poems' long, deceptively prose-like line, which she uses to navigate through many interconnected topics, including the natural world and the inner realm of human thought and perception.  

Berssenbrugge is the author of The Heat Bird (1983), winner of the American Book Award; Empathy (1989), winner of the PEN West Award; Sphericity (1993); Endocrinology (1997), a collaboration with the artist Kiki Smith; Four Year Old Girl (1998), winner of the Western States Book Award; Nest (2003); I Love Artists: New and Selected Poems (2006); and Hello, the Roses (2013). She received a BA from Reed College and an MFA from Columbia University. Berssenbrugge has received two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and honors from the Western States Art Foundation and the Asian American Writers Workshop, and has taught at both the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM and in New York City. She resides in New Mexico.

34th Street Poets Reading

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event.
listen: to an audio recording of this event.

The 34th Street Poets, founded in 1992, is one of the region’s longest continuously running poetry workshops. The group includes poetry book and chapbook authors, a Montgomery County poet laureate, a Leeway Foundation award winner, and recipients of grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and NJ State Council on the Arts. Members of the group are Alyson Adler, Deidra Greenleaf Allan, Sandra Chaff, Barb Daniels, Minna Duchovnay, Betti Kahn, and Nina Schafer.

Wednesday, 3/27

lunch with Emily Jane Fox (C’11)

Alumni Authors Series

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Dick Polman
supported by: the Povich Journalism Program Fund
rsvp required: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event.
listen: to an audio recording of this event.

Emily Jane Fox is a senior reporter for Vanity Fair, and author of the 2018 book Born Trump: Inside America’s First Family. Fox graduated from the University of Pennsylvania in 2011. In the summer between her junior and senior year she worked as an intern at the White House. She went on to study at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. After graduation from Columbia she started her journalism career as a business reporter for CNN. In addition to her work for Vanity Fair, Fox is a contributor to both NBC News and MSNBC.

Thursday, 3/28

Bottoms on Top: A DP Podcast

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event.
listen: to an audio recording of this event.

Join us for a public recording of the podcast Bottoms on Top. Regularly recorded in the Wexler Studio, Bottoms on Top is a queer watering hole in the dry savanna of the University of Pennsylvania, in which Andreas and Prakash talk about LGBTQ+ issues with sass and sensibility every other Sunday.

RealArts@Penn presents a conversation with Eric Andersen

Hosted by Anthony DeCurtis

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event.
listen: to an audio recording of this event.

Eric Andersen is a singer-songwriter who, along with the likes of Bob Dylan and Phil Ochs, helped launch the folk-music revival of the 1960's. His songs, including "Thirsty Boots," "Close the Door Lightly When You Go," "Is It Really Love At All" and "Violets of Dawn," have been recorded by innumerable artists, including Dylan, the Grateful Dead, Judy Collins and Johnny Cash. His musical collaborators include Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Bob Weir and Lou Reed, among many others. Andersen continues to record and perform, and Songpoet, a feature-length documentary about his life and career, will be released later this year.

Friday, 3/29

Saturday, 3/30

Sunday, 3/31