September 2015

Tuesday, 9/1

Wednesday, 9/2

Kelin Loe and Luke Bloomfield

with Excelano poet Kendall Finley

Whenever We Feel Like It series

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Luke Bloomfield is a poet based in Northampton, Massachusetts where he teaches in the English department at Smith College. His book of poems, Russian Novels, was published in 2014 by Factory Hollow Press, which also published his chapbook, The Duffel Bag, in 2011. James Tate once described Bloomfield's poetry as a "writhing monster of well-being," and Publisher's Weekly writes that his poems "retain a bizarre tenderness that tap at the mystery of existence." Bloomfield's poems have been featured in jubilat, Barrelhouse, LIT, iO Poetry, Souvenir, The Poetry Society of America, and elsewhere, and have been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. He is a graduate of the MFA Program for Poets and Writers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he also received his BA in French and Philosophy.

Thursday, 9/3

Mapping with Light

Creative Ventures program

8:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

To the naked eye, there is no way to distinguish which bright objects in the sky are stars or galaxies, near or far. As a result, we often forget how shockingly far or massive some objects in space really are. Even your favorite constellation is most likely a hodgepodge of different types of galaxies, galaxy clusters, and colors of stars. Our eyes sometimes trick us into thinking the extent of space is just a surface, because we cannot grapple with such disparate distances and sizes. This immersive demonstration — created by Therese Paoletta with the the help of a Creative Ventures Capital Grant — will play on our preconceptions of what lies beyond our immediate surroundings, space. Featured will be images supplied by the Dark Energy Survey.

Friday, 9/4

Kelly Writers House Open House

12:00 PM - 4:00 PM throughout the house

The Kelly Writers House Open House is an opportunity for new and returning students to explore the House. We'll have t-shirt and book giveaways, writing stations, and plenty of ways for you to meet student leaders of various writing initiatives (literacy outreach, Penn magazines, writing exchange groups, and more).

Saturday, 9/5

Sunday, 9/6

Monday, 9/7

Tuesday, 9/8

Writers Without Borders

Reina Maria Rodríguez with translator Kristin Dykstra

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

Reina María Rodríguez was born in Havana in 1952 and lives there still. In Cuba she is recognized as a major poet and also as an advocate for non-governmental cultural spaces. Her rooftop home, informally known as la azotea de Reina, has served as a salon for the Cuban literary community for many years. English translations of her work include La Detencion del Tiempo/Time’s Arrest (Factory School 2005), and Violet Island and Other Poems (2004) and The Winter Garden Photography (2009), both from Green Integer.

Wednesday, 9/9

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, 9/10

Jerome Rothenberg

A 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

Jerome Rothenberg is an internationally celebrated poet with over ninety books of poetry and twelve assemblages of traditional and avant-garde poetry such as Technicians of the Sacred and Poems for the Millennium, volumes 1-3. Recent books of poems include Concealments & Caprichos, A Cruel Nirvana, A Poem of Miracles, and Retrievals: Uncollected & New Poems 1955-2010. His most recent big book is Eye of Witness: A Jerome Rothenberg Reader, and Barbaric Vast & Wild: An Assemblage of Outside & Subterranean Poetry from Origins to Present has just been published as volume 5 of Poems for the Millennium. Scheduled for 2016 is A Field on Mars: Poems 2000-2015, to be published in simultaneous English and French editions by Presses Universitaires de Rouen et du Havre.

Friday, 9/11

Saturday, 9/12

Sunday, 9/13

Monday, 9/14

Tuesday, 9/15

Wednesday, 9/16

Celebration of Julia Bloch

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Julia Bloch is the author of Letters to Kelly Clarkson (a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award) and Valley Fever, and is the recipient of the Joseph Henry Jackson Literary Award and the William Carlos Williams Prize for poetry. Along with poetry in numerous journals and anthologies, she has published essays and reviews in Journal of Modern Literature, Tripwire, The Volta, and elsewhere. She spent several years as an editor in the Bay Area before earning an MFA in poetry at Mills College and a PhD in English at the University of Pennsylvania, and for two years taught literature at the Bard College Master of Arts Teaching program in Delano, California. In 2011, she returned to Philadelphia to work as associate director of the Kelly Writers House, and in fall 2015 she became director of the Creative Writing program at Penn.

Thursday, 9/17


Al Filreis and Patrick Bredehoft in Conversation about Bob Dylan

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: or (215) 573-9748
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

After more than five decades, Bob Dylan continues his enduring presence as one of the greatest American songwriters. Join us for a lunchtime discussion of his writing, politics, and influence, with a special focus on the album Bringing it All Back Home. Dylan has sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling artists of all time; he has received numerous awards including Grammies, a Golden Globe, and an Academy Award; he has been inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Minnesota Music Hall of Fame, Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Songwriters Hall of Fame. The Pulitzer Prize jury in 2008 awarded him a special citation for "his profound impact on popular music and American culture, marked by lyrical compositions of extraordinary poetic power." In May 2012, Dylan received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

Poetry and the art of the book

Brodsky Gallery opening

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe and throughout the first floor

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

This exhibition will showcase a selection of exciting contemporary small press and hand made and printed work from four small, poetry-focused presses -- Belladonna*, Fact-Simile Editions, Nightboat Books and the Portable Press at Yo-Yo Labs. The show will explore the ways in which scale, color, texture, construction, choice of materials and more come together with the text when poetry is represented as a two-dimensional art object. Members of each press represented in the show -- Rachel Levitsky of Belladonna*, Travis and JenMarie MacDonald of Fact-Simile Editions, Stephen Motika of Nightboat Books and Brenda Iijima of Portable Press -- will speak at this exhibition opening event, both about the works in the show generally and about their specific printing and design processes. Afterward, we'll continue the conversation in the gallery with a reception, and time to read and view all of the small press works on display.

This show is a collaboration between the Writers House and the PHILALALIA annual small press, hand made poetry and art fair, with special thanks to Kevin Varrone who helps organize PHILALALIA and to Brian Teare for his help in organizing the gallery show.

Friday, 9/18

Saturday, 9/19

Sunday, 9/20

Monday, 9/21

Writers House Planning Committee 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, 9/22

Wednesday, 9/23

Thursday, 9/24

Feminism/s presents Asali Solomon

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

Asali Solomon received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award for the stories later collected in Get Down, her first book, which was a finalist for the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Debut Fiction. In 2007 she was named one of the National Book Foundation’s “5 Under 35.” Her novel Disgruntled (FSG 2015) is a coming-of-age story set in Philadelphia. Solomon teaches English literature and creative writing at Haverford College. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and two sons.

Friday, 9/25

Saturday, 9/26

Sunday, 9/27

Monday, 9/28

LIVE at the Writers House

7:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

LIVE at the Writers House is a long-standing collaboration between the people of Kelly Writers House and WXPN (88.5 FM). Six times annually between September and April, the Kelly Writers House hosts a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, all from our Arts Cafe onto the airwaves at WXPN. LIVE is made possible by generous support from BigRoc.

Ras Mashramani lives and writes in West Philadelphia and is a founding member of the Philly grown science fiction collective, Metropolarity. She has served as new media editor at APIARY magazine, and completed an online erotica series with writer Carolyn DeCarlo, entitled DOWN. You can also find her work at the Painted Bride Quarterly, Bedfellows Magazine, and Metropolarity's Journal of Speculative Vision and Critical Liberation Technologies.

Alex Smith is a queer black activist, poet, DJ, actor, musician, afro punk/afro-futurist chronicler of the naughty universe. Smith’s work speaks to the edge, to the post-fringe dystopia slowly creeping upon us. He is the founder and curator of the queer-empowered Laser Life sci-fi reading series. Alex also has a short story collection titled Gang Stalk Oprah. You can also find him in the recently released Samuel Delany tribute anthropology, Stories for Chip.

A Philadelphia native, M.Eighteen writes and performs speculative fiction about bodies, objectification, intimacy, class, neighborhood, land, community and the violence in relying binaries to order the world. Eighteen writes All That's Left, an episodic post-binary dystopian cyborg anime type jawn. It can be seen online for free at They are a 2014 recipient of Leeway Foundation Art and Change Grant and featured reader in the 2015 Trans Literary Salon.

Rasheedah Phillips is a public interest attorney, author, mother, Afrofuturist and Aries living and working in Philadelphia. She is the creator of The AfroFuturist Affair, a grassroots community formed to celebrate, strengthen, and promote Afrofuturistic and sci-fi concepts and culture through creative events and creative writing. She recently published her first speculative fiction collection, Recurrence Plot (and Other Time Travel Tales), an anthology of experimental essays from Black visionary writers titled Black Quantum Futurism: Theory & Practice. Phillips was recently a 2015 artist-in-residence with Philadelphia Neighborhood Time Exchange.

Based in Philadelphia, Camae Defstar is a community activist, a curator, and a poet and plays music under the name Moor Mother Goddess. She draws inspiration from experimental, punk, rap, and noise to make songs. She describes her music as low fi/dark rap/ chill step/ blk girl blues/ witch rap/ coffee shop riot gurl songs and much more. She works with the groups Black Quantum Futurism and Afrofuturist Affair and is one of the driving forces behind the Philly show series ROCKERS that are held on Lancaster avenue at Lava Space.

Tuesday, 9/29

Careers in Journalism and New Media

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

co-sponsored by: The Daily Pennsylvanian, The Nora Magid Mentorship Prize and The Povich Journalism Program
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen to an audio recording of this event

A star-studded alumni panel of journalists and media experts reveals what you need to know to get a job in print or broadcast journalism, book publishing, new media, and beyond.

Hoping to work in journalism or publishing after college? A knowledgeable panel of four Penn alumni — who have held every job in the business — will discuss the early trials, tribulations, and eventual bliss of working in the media. Come get the scoop, as these professionals will field your questions and advise aspiring writers and editors on the ever-changing landscape of new media.

David Borgenicht (C’90) is the CEO and owner of Philadelphia book publisher Quirk Books, co-author of the best-selling “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook.” Quirk publishes 25 books a year, including international best-seller Pride & Prejudice & Zombies.

Jessica Goodman (C’12) is a Digital News Editor at Entertainment Weekly, where she runs the music and books sections of Previously, she was an Entertainment Editor at The Huffington Post, and has written for the Village Voice, Mashable, and Noisey.

Maria Popova (C’07) is a reader and writer, and writes about what she reads on her Brain Pickings blog, which is included in the Library of Congress archive of culturally valuable materials. She has also written for Wired UK and The Atlantic, The New Yorl Times and Smithsonian Magazine. In 2012, she was named among the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company Magazine.

Stephen Fried (C’79) (moderator) is a best-selling and award-winning journalist who teaches non-fiction writing at Penn and the Journalism School at Columbia University. He is a former contributing editor at Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour and Philadelphia Magazine, his sixth book, “A Common Struggle” will be published in October.

Wednesday, 9/30

David Maraniss and Paul Hendrickson in conversation

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: or (215) 746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

David Maraniss is an associate editor at The Washington Post. In addition to Barack Obama: The Story, Maraniss is the author of five critically acclaimed and bestselling books, When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, First in His Class: A Biography of Bill Clinton, They Marched Into Sunlight – War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967, Clemente – The Passion and Grace of Baseball’s Last Hero, and Rome 1960: The Summer Olympics That Stirred the World. He is also the author of Into the Story: A Writer’s Journey Through Life, Politics, Sports and Loss, The Clinton Enigma and coauthor of The Prince of Tennessee: Al Gore Meets His Fate and "Tell Newt to Shut Up!"

David is a three-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and won the Pulitzer for national reporting in 1993 for his newspaper coverage of then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton. He also was part of The Washington Post team that won a 2008 Pulitzer for the newspaper's coverage of the Virginia Tech shooting. He has won several other notable awards for achievements in journalism, including the George Polk Award, the Dirksen Prize for Congressional Reporting, the ASNE Laventhol Prize for Deadline Writing, the Hancock Prize for Financial Writing, the Anthony Lukas Book Prize, the Frankfort Book Prize, the Eagleton Book Prize, the Ambassador Book Prize, and Latino Book Prize.

A poetry reading by Rob Halpern

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

After Julia Bloch introduced him as one of her “favorite humans,” poet Rob Halpern captivated an Arts Cafe audience with a reading of his evocative, surreal and sometimes humorous work. He shared poems based on dreams and autopsy reports, then moved into a series he described as “lyrical.” The evening concluded with Halpern fielding questions on political content in his work and his poems’ relationship to their audience. Halpern reassured the audience that it’s okay for them to laugh at his poetry, and described his poetics as outlining a “politics of love.”

Rob Halpern is the author of several books of poems including Rumored Place (Krupskaya 2004) and Disaster Suites (Palm Press 2009), which was recently translated into Dutch as Rampensuites as part of the Contemporary Poetry in Translation series published by Amsterdam’s literary arts foundation, Perdu. Music for Porn was published in 2012 (Nightboat Books) and Common Place just appeared from Ugly Duckling Presse. Together with Taylor Brady, Rob also co-authored the book length poem Snow Sensitive Skin (Atticus/Finch 2007, reissued by Displaced Press 2011). [———] Placeholder, a book length selection of his poetry and prose drawing from all these books, was recently published in the UK by Enitharmon. His critical essays can be found in Journal of Narrative Theory, Modernist Cultures, Chicago Review and online at The Claudius App. Currently, he’s translating Georges Perec’s early essays on aesthetics and politics, which appear in various publications, including Review of Contemporary Fiction and Paul Revere’s Horse. Rob lives between San Francisco and Ypsilanti, Michigan, where he teaches at Eastern Michigan University and Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility.