October 2015

Thursday, 10/1

Lunch with novelist Naomi Jackson

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 573-9748


Photo credit: Lola Flash

Naomi Jackson is the author of The Star Side of Bird Hill, published by Penguin Press in June 2015. She studied fiction at the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Jackson traveled to South Africa on a Fulbright scholarship, where she received an M.A. in Creative Writing from the University of Cape Town. A graduate of Williams College, her work has appeared in literary journals and magazines in the United States and abroad. She is the recipient of residencies from the University of Pennsylvania's Kelly Writers House, Hedgebrook, Vermont Studio Center, and the Camargo Foundation.


BreakBeat Poets: Qurayash Ali Lansana and José Olivarez

Rothstein Oral Poetry Program

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

The BreakBeat Poets features 78 poets, born somewhere between 1961-1999, All-City and Coast-to-Coast, who are creating the next and now movement(s) in American letters. This is the first poetry anthology by and for the Hip-Hop generation. It is for people who love Hip-Hop, for fans of the culture, for people who've never read a poem, for people who thought poems were only something done by dead white dudes who got lost in a forest, and for poetry heads. This anthology is meant to expand the idea of who a poet is and what a poem is for.

Quraysh Ali Lansana was born in Enid, Oklahoma and earned his MFA from New York University, where he was a Departmental Fellow. He is the author of the poetry collections mystic turf (2012), They Shall Run: Harriet Tubman Poems (2004), and Southside Rain (2000); his chapbooks include reluctant minivan (2014), bloodsoil (sooner red) (2009), Greatest Hits: 1995-2005 (2006), and cockroach children: corner poems and street psalms (1995). He has also written a children's book, The Big World (1999).

He is the editor of Glencoe/McGraw-Hill's African American Literature Reader (2001). Other editing projects include the anthologies I Represent (1996) and dream in yourself (1997), both from Chicago's award-winning youth arts employment program, Gallery 37. He is also co-editor of Dream of A Word: The Tia Chucha Press Poetry Anthology (2006) and Role Call: A Generational Anthology of Social and Political Black Literature and Art (2002). Our Difficult Sunlight: A Guide to Poetry, Literacy & Social Justice in Classroom & Community (with Georgia A. Popoff) was published in 2011 by Teachers & Writers Collaborative and was a 2012 NAACP Image Award nominee. Recent books include The Walmart Republic, with Christopher Stewart (2014) and The Breakbeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip Hop (2015).

Lansana has been a literary teaching artist and curriculum developer for over a decade and has led workshops in prisons, public schools, and universities in over 30 states.

He is a former faculty member of the Drama Division of The Juilliard School, and served as Director of the Gwendolyn Brooks Center for Black Literature and Creative Writing at Chicago State University from 2002-2011, where he was also Associate Professor of English/Creative Writing. Currently, Lansana is on faculty in the Creative Writing Program of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and the Red Earth MFA Creative Writing Program at Oklahoma City University.

Passage, his poetry video collaboration with Kurt Heintz, won the first ever Image Union/Bob Award from WTTW-TV (PBS). He is the recipient of other awards, including the 2006 Securing the Future Award from ETA Creative Arts Foundation; the 2000 Poet of the Year Award, presented by Chicago's Black Book Fair; the 1999 Henry Blakely Award, presented by Gwendolyn Brooks; and the 1999 Wallace W. Douglas Distinguished Service Award, presented by Young Chicago Authors, Inc.

José Olivarez is the co-author of the book of poems Home Court. He is a graduate of Harvard University, the Program Director at Urban Word NYC, and an editor at Painted Bride Quarterly. A winner of a 2015 Bronx Recognizes Its Own award from the Bronx Council on the Arts, his work has been published or is forthcoming in The BreakBeat Poets, The Acentos Review, Specter Magazine, Union Station Magazine, and Luna Luna Magazine among other places. His work has also been featured on Yahoo’s Ball Don’t Lie basketball blog, Chicago Public Radio, and on Mass Poetry’s PoeTry on the T program. He is from Calumet City, IL, and he lives in the Bronx. You can purchase Home Court at homecourtpoems.tumblr. com/purchase & follow him on social media at @jayohessee.

Friday, 10/2

Saturday, 10/3

Sunday, 10/4

Monday, 10/5

Lunch with Sheila Weller

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Dick Polman
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 573-9748

Sheila Weller is a bestselling author and multiple-award-winning magazine journalist specializing in women’s lives. She writes frequently for Vanity Fair and Glamour, she is a former Contributing Editor to New York and Self and Redbook, a reviewer for The New York Times Book Review, a feature writer for The New York Times Styles Section, and has written and writes for (among others) Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Rolling Stone. Her seventh book, The News Sorority: Diane Sawyer, Katie Couric, Christiane Amanpour – and the Triumph of Women in TV News, was in 2014. Her sixth book, in 2008, was Girls Like Us: Carole King, Joni Mitchell, Carly Simon - And The Journey of a Generation. She has won 10 major magazine awards. A California native, she lives in New York City.

Rodrigo Toscano

A poetry reading

5:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Rodrigo Toscano’s newest book of poetry is Deck of Deeds (Counterpath Press 2012). His previous collection, Collapsible Poetics Theater, was a 2007 National Poetry Series Selection. Forthcoming from Fence Books in 2016 is Explosion Rocks Springfield. He was the recipient of a New York State Fellowship in Poetry. His poetry has appeared in numerous anthologies, including Diasporic Avant Gardes, Angels of the Americlypse, and Best American Poetry. His poetics plays have been performed at the Disney Redcat Theater and Ontological-Hysteric Poet’s Theater Festival. His radio pieces have aired on WPIX FM, KAOS Public Radio, WNYU, and PS.1 Radio. His poetry has been translated into French, Dutch, Italian, German, Portuguese, Norwegian and Catalan. Toscano works for the Labor Institute in conjunction the United Steelworkers and the National Institute for Environmental Health Science. He lives in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Tuesday, 10/6

No Line Breaks: Student Prose Reading

Alina Grabowski, David Marchino, Kaitlin Moore, Meg Pendoley, and Ayont Young

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

On Tuesday October 6th, the Kelly Writers House hosted “No Line Breaks,” a program that allowed KWH-affiliated students a chance to read their prose in front of an audience. KWH director Jessica Lowenthal introduced each of the five students: Ayont Young (N’18), Meg Pendoley (C’16), Kaitlin Moore (C’18), David Marchino (C’16), and Alina Grabowski (C’16). Ayont, a sophomore who balances writing and her intense nursing schedule, read a poetic piece of personal fiction about family and religion called “Doublemint Gum.” Meg, an award-winning triple threat (she writes poetry, fiction and translations), read two fiction pieces - “Countersing” and “Stuck.” Kaitlin, a former Astrophysics major and author of two novels who includes her love of science in her writing, read two of her own pieces - a personal essay “Relativity” and a short story “A Million Broken Things.” David, a Philly native and “generous exhibitionist,” read two pieces on influential women in his life - one on Bubbles, an exotic dancer, and the other about his mother. Alina, an award-winning senior who “has a habit of being silent all class then being suddenly brilliant when she speaks up,” read an excerpt from her short story collection about set in Massachusetts and centered around a drowning. After the reading the students and their admirers ate a tasty reception that includes many trays of mac n cheese and bread pudding.

Alina Grabowski is a senior studying English and creative writing. She has received Penn's Clearman Cottage Residency and Phi Kappa Sigma prize for fiction, as well as a Grin City Collective Emerging Artist residency. Her stories have appeared in Peregrine and Cleaver Magazine.

David Marchino is a Philadelphia native, majoring in English with a concentration in Creative Writing. Since coming to Penn, he’s worked as the social media content manager at Symbiosis Magazine, a creative writing tutor as part of Write-On, and is currently working with Mentor for Philly in effort to help prepare graduating high school seniors for post-secondary education. In 2014, he was awarded honorable mention in the Gibson-Peacock Creative Nonfiction Contest for his essay “Like a Good Man Should”, and this past summer he managed his own bi-weekly column “Testing: One, Two” in The Daily Pennsylvanian. This year he will be working with Professor Beth Kephart on his honors thesis.

Kaitlin Moore is a sophomore in the College. Originally an astrophysics major, Kaitlin has since switched her focus to creative writing. As a result, Kaitlin likes stories that experiment with time, space, and superpositive cats that are both alive and dead. Kaitlin is the author of two novels and several short stories and essays. She has been published in 3Elements Review and Penn Filament, and was the featured speaker at the Penn Authors Forum last Spring. Kaitlin is part of a team of writers currently working on an officially—licensed Doctor Who short story anthology.

Meg Pendoley is a senior in the college majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing and a minor in Spanish. She is also Editor-in-Chief of DoubleSpeak, Penn's literary translation magazine.

Ayont Young is a sophomore in the School of Nursing. Though nursing has a strict schedule, she has been able to find different ways continue her love of writing through workshops and creative writing courses. She hopes to never lose her passion for writing in the chaos that can be college, and continue to produce pieces that shows her growth as a person, as well as a writer.

Wednesday, 10/7

Penn and Pencil Club 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

A reading of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry, written by members of the Penn and Pencil Club, a creative writing workshop for Penn staff from a variety of backgrounds and university departments.

Thursday, 10/8

Friday, 10/9

Saturday, 10/10

Sunday, 10/11

Monday, 10/12

A meeting of the Writers House Planning Committee

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: jalowent@writing.upenn.edu

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, 10/13

Ayad Akhtar in Conversation with Fariha Khan

Sponsored by: Asian American Studies Program, Platt Performing Arts House, Writers Without Borders, Cinema Studies, and the Penn English Department

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215)-746-POEM

Ayad Akhtar was born in New York City and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He is the author of American Dervish, published in over twenty languages worldwide and a 2012 Best Book of the Year at Kirkus Reviews, Toronto's Globe and Mail, Shelf-Awareness, and O (Oprah) Magazine. He is also a playwright and screenwriter. His stage play Disgraced played at New York's LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater in 2012, and won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. His latest play, The Who & The What, premiered at La Jolla Playhouse in February 2014, and will be opening in New York at LCT3/Lincoln Center Theater in June 2014. As a screenwriter, he was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best Screenplay for The War Within. He has been the recipient of fellowships from MacDowell and Yaddo, as well as commissions from Lincoln Center Theater and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. He is a graduate of Brown and Columbia Universities with degrees in Theater and Film Directing.

Novelist Daniel Torday

A Creative Writing program reading

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Daniel Torday's debut novel, The Last Flight of Poxl West, was published this spring by St. Martin's Press. It was reviewed on the cover of the New York Times Book Review, and in the daily Times Michiko Kakutani said the novel “announces Torday's emergence as a writer deserving of attention.” Esquire Magazine called the novel's ending “the best 149 words published this year.” Torday's novella, The Sensualist, won the 2012 National Jewish Book Award for debut fiction. He is the Director of Creative Writing at Bryn Mawr College.


Wednesday, 10/14

Lunch with Tom Ferrick

Kauders Lunch Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Tom Ferrick, Jr. is an editor, reporter and columnist long active in print and web journalism in Philadelphia. Until 2013, Ferrick served as senior editor of Metropolis, a local news and information site based in Philadelphia that he founded in 2009. Prior to that, Ferrick worked as a reporter, editor and columnist with the Philadelphia Inquirer (1998-2008). The Philadelphia native has spent nearly 40 years as a journalist, focusing mostly on government.

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, 10/15

MODPO WEBCAST

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Taught by Writers House Faculty Director Al Filreis, ModPo is a fast-paced introduction to modern and contemporary U.S. poetry, with an emphasis on experimental verse, from Dickinson and Whitman to the present. Participants (who need no prior experience with poetry) will learn how to read poems that are supposedly "difficult." Anyone — including people new to ModPo — is welcome to join us at KWH for this live webcast, which comes halfway through the course.

Friday, 10/16

Saturday, 10/17

Sunday, 10/18

Monday, 10/19

A reading by Nick Montfort

5:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Nick Montfort develops computational art and poetry and has participated in dozens of writing collaborations. He is the principal of the naming firm Nomnym, is on the MIT faculty, and serves as a director of the Electronic Literature Organization. Montfort wrote the books of poems #! and Riddle & Bind, co-wrote 2002: A Palindrome Story, and developed more than forty digital projects. The MIT Press has published four of his collaborative and individual books: The New Media Reader, Twisty Little Passages, Racing the Beam, and 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10, with Exploratory Programming for the Arts and Humanities coming soon.


Tuesday, 10/20

Edible Books Contest

6:00 PM throughout the first floor

Our Edible Book Contest will celebrate works of art inspired by books and created in kitchens. Past entries have included (somewhat) literal depictions of literary characters or scenes, punny interpretations of book titles, or cake-sculptures of actual books. Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories (such as best pun, most literary, most literal, yummiest, most architectural, least appetizing). All are welcome to join the festival, to browse the library of edible titles, or to contribute their own.

Wednesday, 10/21

Chris Matthews and Paul Hendrickson in conversation

Povich Journalism Program

7:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Event Canceled

Chris Matthews, a native Philadelphian, is a political commentator who appears nightly on the MSNBC talk show Hardball with Chris Matthews. He first became interested in politics as a teenager observing the rivalry between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon. Matthews began his career working in the Peace Corps and the US Senate. After serving as the Washington Bureau Chief for the San Francisco Examiner, Matthews started to work in journalism full-time, covering historic world events like the fall of the Berlin Wall. For eleven years, he hosted a weekend roundtable program on NBC called The Chris Matthews Show, which ended in 2013. Matthews has appeared on various other MSNBC and NBC programs and has authored six best-selling books, including Tip and the Gipper: When Politics Worked (2013), Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero (2011), and Life's a Campaign: What Politics Has Taught Me About Friendship, Rivalry Reputation, and Success (2007).

Thursday, 10/22

A reading and conversation with Rahimeh Andalibian

RealArts@Penn

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

Rahimeh Andalibian is the author of The Rose Hotel: A Memoir of Secrets, Loss and Love From Iran to America, which tells the story of her family's harrowing journey -- both geographical and psychological -- out of Iran after the 1979 revolution to the United States. The book has been compared to The Kite Runner, House of Sand and Fog and Reading Lolita in Tehran. Dr. Andalabian holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and practices in New York City, with specialties in family therapy and trauma.

Friday, 10/23

Saturday, 10/24

Sunday, 10/25

Monday, 10/26

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.

Tuesday, 10/27

34th Street Poets Reading

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

A collective of poets who gather weekly to read and critique each other's work and discuss the craft of poetry, 34th Street Poets, founded in 1992, may be the City's longest continuously-running "poetry workshop." The group, with minor variation in membership over the years, has been meeting for much of its existence at the University of Pennsylvania, most recently at the Kelly Writers House. Members Deidra Greenleaf Allen, Alyson Adler, Sandra Chaff, Barbara Daniels, Minna Duchovnay, B.E. Kahn, and Cindy Savett have performed their work, together and individually, at universities, bookstores, parks, motorcycle conclaves (that would be Barb), synagogues, and just about any place good poetry can be found. The group includes full length book and chapbook authors, a Montgomery County poet laureate, Leeway Foundation award winner, Pushcart Prize nominee, and recipients of grants from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and NJ State Council on the Arts. Works by the group have appeared in numerous print and online journals including American Poetry Review, West Branch, Adirondack Review, Mad Poets Review, Passager, and Poet Lore.

Wednesday, 10/28

Multilingual Poetics: Peter Cole

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Ariel Resnikoff
sponsored by: The Wexler Fund at KWH
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV
listen: to an audio recording of this event

Peter Cole has been called “an inspired writer” (The Nation) and “one of the most vital poets of his generation (Harold Bloom). He is the author of four books of poetry, most recently The Invention of Influence and Things on Which I've Stumbled. Cole's many translations from Hebrew and Arabic include The Poetry of Kabbalah: Mystical Verse from the Jewish Tradition and The Dream of the Poem: Hebrew Poetry from Muslim and Christian Spain, c. 950-­1492, which received the National Jewish Book Award and the American Publishers Association's Award for Book of the Year. He has also translated So What: New & Selected Poems, 1971-­2005 by Taha Muhammad Ali and three volumes by Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, including War & Love, Love & War. He has received numerous honors for his work, including a Guggenheim Foundation fellowship, an American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature, the PEN Translation Prize, and, in 2007, he was named a MacArthur fellow. Born in Paterson, New Jersey, Cole now divides his time between Jerusalem and New Haven.

Thursday, 10/29

Thoreau Hates Museums: Lunch with Christine Nelson

Drue Heinz Curator of Literary and Historical Manuscripts, the Morgan Library & Museum, New York

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Al Filreis
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

"I hate museums; there is nothing so weighs upon my spirits. They are the catacombs of nature." Curator Christine Nelson discovered these words in Henry David Thoreau's journal and now finds herself organizing a major museum exhibition featuring that very volume. Ironic? Perhaps! Christine works with the Morgan Library & Museum's extraordinary collection of manuscripts and letters of Dickens, Austen, Thackeray, Steinbeck, Bob Dylan, and many others. She joins us for a lunchtime conversation about the challenges of presenting books and manuscripts in a museum setting and will discuss her planning process for upcoming bicentenary exhibitions about Charlotte Brontë and Henry David Thoreau.

Christine Nelson is the author (with Adam Gopnik) of Drawing Babar: Early Drafts and Watercolors (2008) and has curated exhibitions on such topics as the history of diary keeping, American women's philanthropy during World War I, and Saint-Exupéry's composition of The Little Prince. For more about her work with manuscripts and historic letters, follow @cnlibrarian on Instagram. This past summer she and her colleagues hosted two RealArts@Penn interns, Gina DeCagna and Nick DeFina.

A reading by J. Robert Lennon

Co-sponsored by the Creative Writing Program

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

J. Robert Lennon is the author of two story collections, Pieces For The Left Hand and See You in Paradise, and seven novels, including Mailman, Familiar, and Happyland. He holds an MFA from the University of Montana, and has published short fiction in The New Yorker, Harper's, Playboy, Granta, The Paris Review, Electric Literature, and elsewhere. He has been anthologized in Best American Short Stories, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and Prize Stories: The O. Henry Awards, and his story "The Rememberer" inspired the detective TV series Unforgettable. He co-hosts the podcast Lunch Box, with poet Ed Skoog. His book reviews have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Guardian, The Globe and Mail, and The London Review of Books, and he lives in Ithaca, New York, where he teaches writing at Cornell University.

Friday, 10/30

Saturday, 10/31