April 2016

Friday, 4/1

Saturday, 4/2

Sunday, 4/3

Monday, 4/4

Hub Meeting

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

From the time of its founding in 1995-1996, the Kelly Writers House has been run more or less collectively by members of its community. Our original team of intrepid founders—the group of students, faculty, alumni, and staff who wanted to create an independent haven for writers and supporters of contemporary writing in any genre—took for themselves the name "the hub." "Hub" was the generic term given by Penn's Provost, President, and other planners who hoped that something very innovative would be done at 3805 Locust Walk to prove the viability of the idea that students, working with others, could create an extracurricular learning community around common intellectual and creative passions. To this day, the Writers House Planning Committee refers to itself as "the hub"—the core of engaged faculty, student, staff, and alumni volunteers from whom the House's creative energy and vitality radiates.

Tuesday, 4/5

Anna Maria Hong and Jason Zuzga

A Creative Writing program poetry reading

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Anna Maria Hong is the winner of the 2014 Clarissa Dalloway Prize from the A Room of Her Own Foundation for her novella H & G. A former Bunting Fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and the recipient of Poetry magazine's 2013 Frederick Bock Prize, she has stories and poems recently appearing in The Iowa Review, Boston Review, The Nation, Harvard Review, Conduit, Great River Review, China Grove, Fence, Bone Bouquet, The Volta, Verse Daily, Drunken Boat, Green Mountains Review, Unsplendid, Southwest Review, 250 Poems, Best New Poets, and The Best American Poetry. A Contributing Editor at The Offing, she teaches creative writing at Ursinus College, where she is the Visiting Creative Writer, and at the UCLA Extension Writers' Program. Her chapbook Hello, virtuoso! was published by the Belladonna* Collaborative.

Jason Zuzga was born in Camden, NJ, in 1972 and grew up in Cherry Hill. During a year off from college, he interned at the Ecco Press, lived in Montreal, sailed on a tall ship, did marine biological research, and drove a horse-drawn carriage around Independence Hall. After college, he lived in New York City, where he was employed in a number of publishing jobs. He completed an MFA in poetry and nonfiction at the University of Arizona and has been awarded residential fellowships at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the James Merrill House. His work has appeared in The Yale Review, The Paris Review, and Tin House, among many other publications. He is currently a graduate student at the University of Pennsylvania, working on a dissertation about nature documentary and media. He is the Other/Nonfiction Co-Editor of FENCE. His book of poetry, HEAT WAKE, will be published by Saturnalia Books in March 2016.


Wednesday, 4/6

Speakeasy Open Mic Night

7:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

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, 4/7

About Bernie Sanders

A conversation with Jonathan Tasini and Dick Polman

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 573-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Jonathan Tasini is a strategist, organizer, activist, commentator and writer, who primarily focuses on the topics of work, labor and the economy. Tasini is the author of five books, including The Essential Bernie Sanders and His Vision for America (2015) and has been widely published, including in the Wall Street Journal, CNBC, Business Week, Playboy Magazine, the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times. He is the founder, editor, and publisher of Working Life, a leading progressive blog on work and the economy. He served as president of the National Writers Union (UAW Local 1981) for thirteen years.

Brave Testimony: Terrance Hayes

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Sponsored annually by the Center for Africana Studies at Penn, the Brave Testimony series celebrates poetry of the African Diaspora. Featured readers have included Nikky Finney, Brenda Marie Osbey, Tracy K. Smith, and Kevin Young.

Terrance Hayes is the author of Lighthead (Penguin 2010), winner of the 2010 National Book Award and finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. His other books are Wind In a Box (Penguin 2006), Hip Logic (Penguin 2002), and Muscular Music (Tia Chucha Press, 1999). His honors include a Whiting Writers Award, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a United States Artists Zell Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship. How To Be Drawn (Penguin 2015), his most recent collection of poems, was a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award.

Friday, 4/8

Saturday, 4/9

Sunday, 4/10

Monday, 4/11

Tuesday, 4/12

Charles Bernstein: Pitch of Poetry Book Launch

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Pitch of Poetry (just out from University of Chicago Press) is Charles Bernstein's irreverent guide to modernist and contemporary poetics. Subjects range across Holocaust representation, Occupy Wall Street, and the figurative nature of abstract art. Detailed overviews of formally inventive work include essays on—or "pitches" for—a set of key poets, from Gertrude Stein and Robert Creeley to John Ashbery, Barbara Guest, Larry Eigner, and Leslie Scalapino. Bernstein also reveals the formative ideas behind the magazine L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E. The final section, published here for the first time, is a sweeping work on the poetics of stigma, perversity, and disability that is rooted in the thinking of Edgar Allan Poe, Emily Dickinson, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and William Blake. Pitch of Poetry makes an exhilarating case for what Bernstein calls echopoetics: a poetry of call and response, reason and imagination, disfiguration and refiguration.

Bernstein is the Donald T. Regan professor of English and Comparative Literature at Penn, where he co-directs PennSound with Al Filries. Along with Pitch of Poetry, his other books from the University of Chicago Press include Recalculating and Attack of the Difficult Poems.

Wednesday, 4/13

Rob Fitterman and Katie Price, with Michael Sosnick

Whenever We Feel Like It

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Robert Fitterman is the author of 14 books of poetry including Nevermind (forthcoming Wonder Books, Spring 2016), Rob's Word Shop (Ugly Duckling Press, forthcoming, 2016), No Wait, Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself (Ugly Duckling Press, 2014), Holocaust Museum (Counterpath, 2013, and Veer [London] 2012), now we are friends (Truck Books, 2010), Rob the Plagiarist (Roof Books, 2009), war, the musical (Subpress, 2006), and Metropolis—a long poem in 4 separate volumes. He has collaborated with several visual artists, including: Serkan Ozkaya, Nayland Blake, Fia Backström, Tim Davis and Klaus Killisch. He is the founding member of the international artists and writers collective, Collective Task. He teaches writing and poetry at New York University and at the Bard College, Milton Avery School of Graduate Studies.

Katie L. Price's is the author of two chapbooks – BRCA: Birth of a Patient (2015) and Sickly (2015) – both from above/ground press. Her writing – critical, creative, and other –has appeared in such venues as Fence, the Journal of Medical Humanities, Canadian Literature, and Jacket2, and with such presses as No Press, above/ground press, and Manchester UP. She serves as Interviews Editor for Jacket2, and co-directs the Philadelphia Avant-Garde Studies Consortium.

Thursday, 4/14

7up on Spirit

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Seven knowledgeable speakers (a lexicographer, a Miyazaki buff, a craft distiller, a medium, and a pastor among them) will have seven minutes each to discuss some of the most fascinating permutations of the word "spirit," including teen spirit, booze, Hegel, and spirits from beyond, with Dean Browne on alcohol and spirits, Zach Carduner on Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," Pastor Michael Chen on the spiritual/religious, Nick DeFina on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit, Ayla Fudala on Miyazaki's Spirited Away, Deidra Solis on spirit mediums and psychics, and Kory Stamper on the etymology of "spirit."

Dean Browne is the owner/distiller for Rowhouse Spirits - one of Philadelphia's first craft distilleries. Rowhouse Spirits is located in the East Kensington section of Philadelphia and produces award winning Gin, Whiskey, Rum, and unique herbal concoctions.

Zach Carduner is the Wexler Studio Coordinator at Kelly Writers House. He was born and raised in Philadelphia and graduated from Penn in 2013 with majors in French and English. He is left-handed, like Kurt Cobain.

Rev. Michael S. Chen spent his formative years growing up on the icy tundra of Minnesota. Voted most likely "To be beamed up by aliens" in high school, he was an eccentric fellow who was getting all A's but realized that he was flunking life. The mystery and beauty of a more compelling figure than himself set him on a new path. He calls West Philadelphia home where he lives with his one wife, Sonja, and two sons, Jamison and Silas.

Nick Defina is a senior in the College, graduating this May with a BA in Philosophy. A Philadelphia native, Nick began his career at Penn studying English, but switched during the fall of his junior year after taking a course on Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. He is both humbled and excited by the opportunity to speak with the KWH community about Hegel, his second-favorite German Idealist.

Ayla Fudala is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania double-majoring in English and Environmental Studies. Her one dream is for her cat Sebastian to grow as large as a horse so that she can ride him to work at the Writers House every day.

Psychic medium Deidra Solis offers insight and guidance for people seeking advice and knowledge. Being a psychic medium allows her to deliver messages of love, hope and peace from loved ones who have passed on, and to help people understand their gift of free will and their abilities to change their own realities. Deidra has had the honor to study under a few of the world's best mediums from the prestigious Arthur Findlay College in England. She has also studied Psychic Investigations and worked on missing persons and cold case files. Deidra is also certified in Reiki, yoga instruction, and hypnosis therapy.

Kory Stamper is a lexicographer with Merriam-Webster, where she has defined everything from "mosh" to "Monophysite." In addition to defining, she writes and appears in the popular "Ask the Editor" video series on Merriam-Webster.com, as well as travels the country talking about the history of English. She's an author; her first book on language will be released by Pantheon in Spring 2017.


Friday, 4/15

Saturday, 4/16

Sunday, 4/17

Monday, 4/18

Brodsky Gallery Opening

The Symbiosis Project

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event


Tuesday, 4/19

A conversation with Ambassador Robert P. Finn

Tiptoe through the Tulips: A Brief Excursion in the Turkish Novel

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

co-sponsored by: The Middle East Center
RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Ambassador Robert P. Finn will give a brief sketch of the development of the Turkish novel from its origins in the late nineteenthcentury to to the present, followed by discussion of a few of the major modern worksthat are available in English translation.

Ambassador Finn is a Non-Resident Fellow of the Liechtenstein Institute at the Woodrow Wilson School of International Affairs of Princeton University. He was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University from 2012-2014 and Principal Investigator of The Century Foundation's Pakistan Project 2012-2015. From 2005-2012, he was a Senior Research Associate in the Liechtenstein Institute of the Woodrow Wilson School of international Affairs and Lecturer in the Woodrow Wilson School. From 2005-2008 he was also a lecturer in the Department of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University. Prior to this he was the Ertegün Visiting Professor of Turcology at Princeton University from 2003-2005. He served as the first U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan in more than 20 years, from March 2002 until August 2003. Previously, he had also been the Ertegün Professor at Princeton, after serving as U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan, 1998-2001. His other diplomatic postings include Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, Turkey; Lahore, Pakistan; and Zagreb, Croatia. He opened the U.S. Embassy in Azerbaijan in 1992. He has received numerous awards from the USG, including two Presidential Meritorious Service Awards and one for heroism.

Ambassador Finn is the author of the book The Early Turkish Novel, which has been published both in English and Turkish. His poems and translations have appeared in the United States, Turkey, France and Pakistan. The University of Texas press published his translation of the Turkish author Nazli Eray's novel, Orpheus in 2006 and will publish his translation of Eray's The Black Rose of Halfeti in 2016. Syracuse University Press published his translation of Eray's The Emperor Tea Garden in 2013. He co-edited Building State and Security in Afghanistan. (LISD-WWS-2007 and 2010). He translated Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk's The Silent House , (Alfred Knopf, 2011) and Pamuk's Cevdet Bey and Sons (Publication forthcoming).

Ambassador Finn holds a B.A. with honors in American Literature and European History from St. John's University, an M.A. in Near Eastern Studies from New York University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University. He was a Peace Corps volunteer in Turkey and a Fulbright scholar at Istanbul University. He reads in more than ten languages.

Joan Wickersham

A Fiction Reading

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Joan Wickersham's most recent book, The News from Spain (Knopf) was named one of the year's best fiction picks by National Public Radio, Kirkus Reviews and The San Francisco Chronicle. Her memoir The Suicide Index (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was a National Book Award finalist. Her work has appeared in One Story, Agni, Glimmer Train, Ploughshares, The Best American Short Stories, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and many other publications. Joan has been a regular op-ed columnist for The Boston Globe and her pieces have run in The International Herald Tribune and on NPR. She has a BA in art history from Yale, has taught writing at Emerson and Harvard, and currently teaches in Bennington's MFA program.

Wednesday, 4/20

Stand-Ups Sitdown

First Annual Handwerker Comedy Program

Johnathan Katz and Amy Miller, with host Lew Schneider

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

"Stand-Ups Sitdown" is a brand new annual series that will feature stand-up comedians in conversation with eminent TV comedy writer (and Penn alumnus) Lew Schneider. For this year's event, Lew Schneider will interview Jonathan Katz and Amy Miller about their stand-up careers and will discuss writing stand-up and other comedy.

Lew Schneider (C'83) began his career as a stand-up comedian. At a time when any stand-up who could work clean got a shot at television he booked his first on camera job as a Nickelodeon game show host. This lead to two sitcoms and eventually an HBO comedy special and then…nothing. Nothing gave way to years of TV writing on numerous shows including, The New Adventures of Old Christine, American Dad, Men of a Certain Age (for which he got a Peabody Award and no one watched) and Everybody Loves Raymond for which he won two Emmy awards and more people watched. He is now writing, producing and occasionally directing the ABC comedy The Goldbergs on ABC.

Jonathan Katz has been doing Stand-Up for over 30 years. He has appeared on the Tonight Show Late Night with David Letterman and in Movies including Things Change and Daddy Day Care. Jonathan has an Emmy and a Peabody Award for Dr. Katz: Professional Therapist, an animated TV show in which he played the title role. For more about Jonathan go to OmniPop.com

Amy Miller is a fast-rising talent on the West Coast and national scene. Originally from Oakland, California Amy found her comedy chops in the Bay Area scene and is still a favorite at the San Francisco Punch Line and Cobb's Comedy Club. After a move to Portland, Amy quickly rose to the top of that scene, winning Portland's Funniest Comedian in Helium Comedy Club's contest, as well as being voted Portland's Funniest 2013 and 2015 in the Willamette Week. Amy was a breakout favorite in Season 9 of Last Comic Standing. Roseanne Barr called her "a star" and a "contender for next alpha female comedian." Keenen Ivory Wayans said she had one of the "fiercest jokes he had ever heard." Amy is currently in Portland being alpha and fierce and getting rained on, but works comedy clubs and festivals around the country, working with headliners from Norm Macdonald to Arsenio Hall to singer Ryan Adams.

Thursday, 4/21

Patricia Spears Jones

Eva and Leo Sussman Poetry Program

7:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Introduced by: Charles Bernstein
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Arkansas born and raised, resident of New York City for more than three decades, Patricia Spears Jones was named by Essence.com as one of its "40 Poets They Love" in 2010. She is author of the poetry collections Painkiller and Femme du Monde from Tia Chucha Press and The Weather That Kills from Coffee House Press and five chapbooks including Living in the Love Economy. Her fourth full collection of poetry A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems is out from White Pine Press (White Pine Press Distinguished Poets series). Her work is widely anthologized. Spears Jones has been a culture maven for four decades. She was the first African American programmer as Program Coordinator at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church where two decades later she served as Mentor for Emerge, Surface, Be, a new fellowship program. She ran the esteemed New Works Program for the Massachusetts Council of Arts and Humanities (1989-1991) and was Director of Planning and Development at The New Museum of Contemporary Art (1994-96). She is also actively involved in a variety of formal and informal organizations involved with progressive politics, social justice, feminism, the environment, and multi-culturalism, best seen in her appointment as Senior Fellow for The Black Earth Institute. She curates WORDS SUNDAY, a literary and performance series focused on Brooklyn based writers and artists. She teaches for CUNY.

photo credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths


Friday, 4/22

Saturday, 4/23

Sunday, 4/24

Monday, 4/25

Matthew Weiner

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp required: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 573-9749
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Matthew Weiner is a screenwriter, director and producer born in Baltimore, Maryland and raised in Los Angeles, California. His first major writing and producing breakthrough was with the HBO series The Sopranos, where he was a co-executive producer on the sixth season in 2006 and an executive producer in the sixth season in 2007, and received solo or joint writing credit for twelve episodes. Weiner completed the pilot spec script for the show Mad Men in 2000, and it was picked up by AMC network for its first of seven seasons in 2007. Under Weiner's direction as head writer, showrunner and executive producer, Mad Men went on to win four Golden Globe awards and fifteen Emmy awards before its final episode aired in spring of 2015. Over its seven years the show received consistent critical acclaim for, seemingly, every aspect of its production -- from costumes and set design to acting and writing across several seasons. Weiner has also been a professor of screenwriting, at USC's prestigious School of Cinematic Arts.

Tuesday, 4/26

brunch with Matthew Weiner

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

10:00 AM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp required: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 573-9749
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Funded by a grant from Paul Kelly, the Kelly Writers House Fellows program enables us to realize two unusual goals. We want to make it possible for the youngest writers and writer-critics to have sustained contact with authors of great accomplishment in an informal atmosphere. We also want to resist the time-honored distinction — more honored in practice than in theory — between working with eminent writers on the one hand and studying literature on the other.

An Evening of Poetry, Fiction, Short Films, and Performance Art

Creative Projects from the Junior Research Seminar

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Join this year's participants in ENGL 200: The Junior Research Seminar as they share their creative final projects from the course. Students will present their poetry, fiction, short films, and performance art based on their independent and original research agendas developed in the course. Featuring performances by Nolan Boyer, Rachel Dinh, Peter LaBerge, and Connie Yu.

Wednesday, 4/27

Creative Writing Thesis Writers Reading

Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

watch: Part 1 and Part 2 of a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Join our celebration of this year's writers of the Thesis in Creative Writing. Selected students working in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, and screenwriting complete a thesis in the spring for consideration of Honors in English. These students envision and complete a substantial project that serves as the capstone of their writing careers at Penn.

Thursday, 4/28

Friday, 4/29

Saturday, 4/30