October 2018

Monday, 10/1

A Reading by Jennifer Egan

Bob Lucid Fiction Program

6:30 PM at Perry World House (3803 Locust Walk)

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM
Co-sponsored by: the English Department

Jennifer Egan’s 2017 novel, Manhattan Beach, has been awarded the 2018 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction. Egan was born in Chicago and raised in San Francisco. She is also the author of The Invisible Circus, a novel which became a feature film starring Cameron Diaz in 2001, Look at Me, a finalist for the National Book Award in fiction in 2001, Emerald City and Other Stories, The Keep, and A Visit From the Goon Squad, won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, and the LA Times Book Prize. Her short stories have appeared in The New Yorker, Harpers, Granta, McSweeney’s and other magazines. She is a recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction, and a Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Fellowship at the New York Public Library. Also a journalist, she has written frequently in the New York Times Magazine. Her 2002 cover story on homeless children received the Carroll Kowal Journalism Award, and “The Bipolar Kid” received a 2009 NAMI Outstanding Media Award for Science and Health Reporting from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Photo credit: Pieter M. van Hattem


Tuesday, 10/2

Wednesday, 10/3

Thursday, 10/4

Friday, 10/5

Saturday, 10/6

Sunday, 10/7

Monday, 10/8

A meeting of the Writers House Planning Committee

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp: jalowent@writing.upenn.edu

Join us for a meeting of the Writers House Planning Committee (also know as “the Hub”) — the core group of engaged students, staff, faculty, 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, 10/9


Wednesday, 10/10

XFIC information lunch

Creative Writing Program

12:00 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

hosted by: Jay Kirk
RSVP: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 746-POEM

Students interested in joining Penn's new Experimental Nonfiction journal, XFIC, are invited to an information lunch with faculty adviser, Jay Kirk. XFIC will count for course credit in ENG 145 (Spring 2019). Students must submit a story pitch to be admitted. The deadline for story pitches is October 25. For more details, check out XFIC.org

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, 10/11

A TALK BY NATE CHINEN

Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

sponsored by: RealArts@Penn and the Povich Journalism Program Fund

Hosted by: Anthony DeCurtis
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

NATE CHINEN is the author of Playing Changes: Jazz for the New Century (Pantheon, 2018). He has been writing about jazz for more than twenty years, notably for The New York Times, JazzTimes and the Philadelphia City Paper. As the director of editorial content at WBGO, he works with the multiplatform program Jazz Night in America and contributes a range of coverage to NPR Music. An eleven-time winner of the Helen Dance–Robert Palmer Award for Excellence in Writing, presented by the Jazz Journalists Association, he is also coauthor of Myself Among Others: A Life in Music, the autobiography of impresario George Wein. A former assistant coordinator at the Kelly Writers House, he now lives in Beacon, New York, with his wife and two daughters.


Friday, 10/12

Matthew Shepard Memorial Reading

12:00 PM - 1:15 PM in the Class of 1942 Garden

Co-sponsored by the LGBT Center and the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Program

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

On October 12th, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old gay college freshman died after having been attacked and tortured six days previous near Laramie, WY. His death catalyzed national conversations about anti-queer hate crimes, which led to the 2009 passage of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.

We will commemorate the 20th anniversary of the loss of Matthew Shepard with readings by Penn students, faculty, and staff of poems and essays written as a memorial to Shepard. The event is free and open to the public. Lunch will be served.

Saturday, 10/13

Sunday, 10/14

Monday, 10/15

Lunch with journalist Helen Ubiñas

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Dick Polman
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 746-POEM

Helen Ubiñas is an award-winning columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Daily News and Philly.com. Prior to coming to Philadelphia, Ubiñas was a longtime reporter and columnist for the Hartford Courant, Connecticut’s longest continuously published newspaper, where she was awarded numerous honors, including a team Pulitzer Prize for breaking news in 1999. Ubiñas was born in New York City. She received her bachelor’s degree from Boston University and her master’s degree from Trinity College. In 2000, she became the Courant’s first Latina news columnist. In 2007, she was one of 12 US journalists awarded the prestigious John S. Knight journalism fellowship at Stanford University. She’s also received several awards since becoming a columnist in Philadelphia, including first place in column-writing at the 2014 Keystone Press Award. In 2017, the National Society of Newspaper Columnists awarded her top honors for her columns.

Edible Books CONTEST

Creative Ventures program

6:30 PM throughout the first floor

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu

Held in honor of Blaze Bernstein, our annual Edible Book Contest celebrates edible works of art inspired by books and created in kitchens. Do you like to bake? Are you a master of literary puns? This event is for you.

Anyone is welcome to create and submit an entry for the Edible Books Contest. All entries should be edible (or made of food) and should, in one way or another, represent a book or book title. For example, past entries have included simple sheet cakes iced to look like a favorite book jacket — and also more punny (yet edible) interpretations, like: “Jane Pear” (a pear in a bonnet), “A Raisin in the Bun” (which was exactly as it sounds), “The Life of Pie” (depicting several pies in various states of being made), and “Fifty Shades of Earl Grey” (50 cups of tea, brewed to different shades). Puns of all kinds are welcome.

Prizes will be awarded in a variety of categories, including most book-like, most punny, and most creative.

If you plan to make a book, please email wh@writing.upenn.edu with the title of your entry so that we can include it on the ballot! You should plan to bring your edible book to Writers House by 6:00 PM, so that we can display it properly. All books will be eaten (unless there’s a reason not to eat yours!) starting around 7:00 PM.

Looking for inspiration? Check out party pics from 2017, 2016 , and 2015.

Tuesday, 10/16

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 Zine Rave, a collective zine-making event. Bring material to cut up and transform (magazine, printed material, other clip art). Organizers write: "The Zine Rave will feature tunes for the young ones, food for the hungry ones, and zines for the on-topic ones. We will also be creating the biggest zine ever, so bring magazine clip art if you harvest it. No exaggeration. This is not a marketing scheme."

Wednesday, 10/17

A poetry reading by Rae Armantrout

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Rae Armantrout’s most recent books, Versed, Money Shot, Just Saying, Itself, Partly: New and Selected Poems, and Entanglements (a chapbook selection of poems in conversation with physics), were published by Wesleyan University Press. In 2010 her book Versed won the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and The National Book Critics Circle Award. Armantrout was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2007. Reviewing Partly in The London Review of Books, Stephanie Burt describes Armantrout’s poems like this: “Replete with double and triple meanings, they describe chess moves and human institutions, computer code and dating rituals… Such multiple meanings, which occupy the foreground of her poems, lurk behind all human interactions, casting doubt on everything we intend.” Her poems have appeared in many anthologies and journals including Poetry, Lana Turner, The Nation, The New Yorker, Bomb, The Paris Review, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology, The New Anthology of American Poetry (Rutgers), The Open Door: 100 Poems, 100 Years of Poetry Magazine (Scribners), and several editions of the yearly anthology, The Best American Poetry (Scribners). Wobble, a new volume of her poetry, is forthcoming from Wesleyan in September of 2018. She is recently retired from UC San Diego where she was professor of poetry and poetics. While at UCSD she co-taught a course called Poetry for Physicists with physicist Brian Keating. She currently lives in the Seattle area.

Thursday, 10/18

Friday, 10/19

Saturday, 10/20

Sunday, 10/21

Monday, 10/22

A Reading by Douglas Kearney

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

Douglas Kearney has published six books, most recently, Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and silver medalist for the California Book Award (Poetry). BOMB says: “[ Buck Studies] remaps the 20th century in a project that is both lyrical and epic, personal and historical.” Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” His work has been exhibited at the American Jazz Museum, Temple Contemporary, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and The Visitor’s Welcome Center (Los Angeles). Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family west of Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.


Tuesday, 10/23

City Planning Poetics 6: Urban Revitalization

Brian Goldstein and Douglas Kearney

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

curated by: Davy Knittle
sponsored by: Creative Ventures

Curated by Davy Knittle, City Planning Poetics is a semesterly series that invites one or more poets or more planners, designers, planning historians, or others working in the field of city planning to discuss a particular topic central to their work, to ask each other questions, and to read from their current projects.

Brian D. Goldstein is an architectural and urban historian and an assistant professor of architectural history at Swarthmore College. His research focuses on the intersection of the built environment, race and class, and social movements, especially in the United States. His writing includes the 2017 book The Roots of Urban Renaissance: Gentrification and the Struggle Over Harlem and articles appearing in the Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, and the edited volumes Reassessing Rudolph; Affordable Housing in New York; and Summer in the City: John Lindsay, New York, and the American Dream. He is the recipient of fellowships and awards from the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts, Society of Architectural Historians, Society for American City and Regional Planning History, Center for the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History. Goldstein received his PhD from Harvard University and has taught previously at the University of New Mexico and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Douglas Kearney has published six books, most recently, Buck Studies (Fence Books, 2016), winner of the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, the CLMP Firecracker Award for Poetry, and silver medalist for the California Book Award (Poetry). BOMB says: “[ Buck Studies] remaps the 20th century in a project that is both lyrical and epic, personal and historical.” Kearney’s collection of writing on poetics and performativity, Mess and Mess and (Noemi Press, 2015), was a Small Press Distribution Handpicked Selection that Publisher’s Weekly called “an extraordinary book.” His work has been exhibited at the American Jazz Museum, Temple Contemporary, Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions, and The Visitor’s Welcome Center (Los Angeles). Raised in Altadena, CA, he lives with his family west of Minneapolis and teaches at the University of Minnesota–Twin Cities.


Wednesday, 10/24

Lunch with journalist Jay Rosen

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Dick Polman
rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 746-POEM

Jay Rosen, who teaches journalism at New York University, is the author of PressThink, a weblog about journalism that he created in 2003. Two years later, PressThink won the Reporters Without Borders Freedom Blog award for outstanding defense of free expression. In 1999, Yale University Press published his book, What Are Journalists For? As a press critic and reviewer, he has published in The Nation, Columbia Journalism Review, the Chronicle of Higher Education, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, Newsday and others. Online, he has written for Salon.com, TomPaine.com, Poynter.org, and The Huffington Post. In 1994 he was a fellow at the Shorenstein Center on the Press, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University, and in 1990-91 he held a fellowship at the Gannett Center for Media Studies at Columbia University. He has a Ph.D. from NYU in media studies (1986).

Crafting Compelling Narratives With Audio

Curated by the Philadelphia Chapter of the Asian American Journalist Association

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

If you’ve ever wondered about what it's like to produce a podcast or tell audio stories, consider joining Neena Pathak of the New York Times' Still Processing, Kathy Tu of WYNC's Nancy, and Laura Starcheski of Reveal at a panel discussion about how they produce compelling narratives through this medium. A Q&A will follow.

Laura Starecheski is a senior reporter and producer for Reveal at The Center for Investigative Reporting, where her work has won a National Edward R. Murrow award, among others. She previously reported on health for NPR’s Science Desk and was a staffer at State of the Re:Union (SOTRU) with host Al Letson. Her Radiolab story “Goat on a Cow” won a Third Coast Silver Award for Best Documentary, and SOTRU’s “The Hospital Always Wins” won a Murrow award and Third Coast Director’s Choice. Laura was a 2012 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism and 2014 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan. All of her work is archived here for easy listening. She serves on the board of AIR (The Association of Independents in Radio) and lives in Philly with her wife and two dogs.


Kathy Tu is the co-host and co-managing editor of Nancy, a podcast about the LGBTQ experience today. Prior to Nancy, Kathy worked on The Memory Palace, The Mortified Podcast, Masterpiece Studio, Radiolab, and others. And prior to that she was an EMT and law school grad. It's been a trip. Kathy's on twitter @_kathytu.


Neena Pathak produces the Still Processing podcast at The New York Times. She used to produce the Another Round podcast at BuzzFeed, and worked in public radio and education before that. She lives in New York.


Thursday, 10/25

A conversation with Mehrsa Baradaran

Weber Symposium

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP: mingo@writing.upenn.edu or (215) 573-0299
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Mehrsa Baradaran is Associate Dean and the Robert Alston Professor of Law at the University of Georgia where she teaches Contracts Law, Banking Law and Race and Capitalism. She is the author of two books (How the Other Half Banks with the Harvard University Press and The Color of Money: An History of Black Banking (Harvard University Press) and various articles dealing with banking law and inequality, including “Regulation by Hypothetical” in the Vanderbilt Law Review, "It's Time for Postal Banking" in the Harvard Law Review Forum, "Banking and the Social Contract" in the Notre Dame Law Review, "How the Poor Got Cut Out of Banking" in the Emory Law Journal, "Reconsidering the Separation of Banking and Commerce" in the George Washington Law Review, and "The ILC and the Reconstruction of U.S. Banking" in the SMU Law Review. Of note, her article "The New Deal with Black America" was selected for presentation at the 2017 Stanford/Harvard/Yale Junior Faculty Forum. In 2018, The Color of Money was awarded the PROSE Award Honorable Mention in the Business, Finance & Management category. Baradaran was also selected as a finalist at the 2018 Georgia Author of the Year Awards for the book in the category of history/biography. Baradaran and her books have received significant national and international media coverage and have been featured in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Slate, American Banker, and Financial Times; on National Public Radio’s “Marketplace,” C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” and Public Broadcasting Service’s “NewsHour;” and as part of TEDxUGA.

Friday, 10/26

Saturday, 10/27

Sunday, 10/28

Monday, 10/29

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.

Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, JOSHUA DEMAREE received his MFA in creative nonfiction from Rutgers University-Camden and is co-director of Blue Stoop, a community-run hub for literary life in greater Philadelphia. His criticism has appeared in the Los Angeles Review of Books and EXPO Chicago's The Seen. He lives and works in West Philadelphia.

THOMAS DEVANEY is the author YOU ARE THE BATTERY, out from Black Square Editions in January. His books include, Runaway Goat Cart (Hanging Loose Press), The Picture that Remains with photographer Will Brown (The Print Center), and GETTING TO PHILADELPHIA, which will be published by Hanging Loose, spring 2019. Devaney’s work has appeared in The Brooklyn Rail, Hyperallergic, The Philadelphia Inquirer, and BOMB Magazine. Between 2001 and 2005 he was program coordinator of the Kelly Writers House and producer of LIVE. Devaney is a 2014 Pew Fellow and he teaches at Haverford College.

BOSTON GORDON is a poet and writer living in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They run the You Can't Kill A Poet reading series - which highlights queer and trans identified poets in Philadelphia. Boston earned their MFA in Poetry through Lesley University. They are a winner in the Free Library of Philadelphia’s Inaugural Cultureshare. They received a Leeway Foundation Art & Change grant in 2017. They have previously been published in The Fem, Bedfellows, Tinderbox, Guernica and more.

BERRY GRASS is a trans writer who lives & teaches writing in Philadelphia (previous to this: Tuscaloosa and Kansas City). Their first book, Hall of Waters, is forthcoming in 2019 from The Operating System. Their essays and poems appear in The Normal School, Barrelhouse, Sonora Review and Phoebe, among other publications. When they aren't reading submissions as the Nonfiction Editor of Sundog Lit, they are embodying what happens when a Virgo watches too much professional wrestling.

RAENA SHIRALI is a poet, teaching artist, and editor from Charleston, South Carolina. Shirali is the author of GILT (YesYes Books, 2017), winner of the 2018 Milt Kessler Poetry Book Award. The Indian American poet is the recipient of prizes and honors from VIDA, Gulf Coast, Boston Review, & Cosmonauts Avenue. Winner of a Pushcart Prize & a former Philip Roth Resident at Bucknell University, her poems & reviews have appeared or are forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Blackbird, Ninth Letter, Diode, The Nation, West Branch, Tupelo Quarterly, & elsewhere. Her work has been anthologized in Misrepresented People: Poetic Responses to Trump's America and Sundress Publications' Political Punch Anthology. Shirali lives in Philadelphia, where she recently co-organized We (Too) Are Philly, a summer poetry festival highlighting voices of color. She serves as Poetry Editor for Muzzle Magazine, Poetry Reader for Vinyl, & Poetry Instructor at Blue Stoop.


Tuesday, 10/30

A poetry reading by Norbert Lange

Writers Without Borders

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

hosted by: Charles Bernstein

Co-sponsored by: the Department of Germanic Languages and Literatures

Norbert Lange was born in Gdynia, Poland, in 1978 and came to Germany with his parents in 1981, where he grew up in the Rhineland. He studied Art History, Philosophy and Jewish Studies in Berlin, then Literature at the German Literature Institute in Leipzig. In his poems he seeks an “intensive exchange with the voices of the poetic tradition and the poetic energies of poetic predecessors. What emerges is enormous poetic friction heat” (Michael Braun).

Since 2008 Lange has been living in Berlin. He is a founder member of the ‘Lyrikknappschaft Schöneberg’ and was editor of the trilingual literary magazine radar. In 2009 and 2010 he led the poetry chat in eMultipoetry, a European project for collectively writing poems. He and the poet Léonce W. Lupette edit the magazine Karawa.net.

So far he published two books of poetry and a collection of essays as well as bilingual selections of british and north american poets, among them Charles Bernstein, Allen Fisher, Charles Olson, George Oppen and Jerome Rothenberg.

Wednesday, 10/31

Ammiel Alcalay and the Lost & Found initiative

Hosted by Jean-Christophe Cloutier

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Applebaum Editors and Publishers Program

rsvp: wh@writing.upenn.edu or 2215-746-POEM
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

Special guest Ammiel Alcalay — poet, novelist, translator, critic, editor, and scholar extraordinaire — will share his experiences as founder and General Editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative. For his work on the chapbook series, launched in 2010, Alcalay was given a 2017 American Book Award from The Before Columbus Foundation. Lost & Found is one of the most exciting and groundbreaking archival poetry projects today — recuperating and publishing unique original texts by a wide-ranging group of figures such as Audre Lorde, William Burroughs, Langston Hughes, Diane di Prima, Ted Joans, Kathy Acker, Amiri Baraka, Nancy Cunard, just to name a few. Combining scholarly exegesis with preservationist ethics, Lost & Found is fundamentally collaborative, bringing together poets and scholars, faculty and students, personal and institutional, past and future. In dialogue with Penn English faculty Jean-Christophe Cloutier, Alcalay will speak about the origins of the project, its vision, its accomplishments, and its future. Anyone interested in literary archives, editorial work, twentieth-century poetry, material text, and how scholars today can wrest poetic history from the gaping maw of historical and institutional entropy will be in for a treat. The lunchtime event will also invite questions from students and members of the audience. Copies of selected Lost & Found chapbook series will be available for sale.

Poet, novelist, translator, critic, and scholar Ammiel Alcalay teaches at Queens College and The Graduate Center, CUNY. His books include After Jews and Arabs, Memories of Our Future, Islanders, and neither wit nor gold: from then, from the warring factions, and a little history. Translations include Sarajevo Blues and Nine Alexandrias by Bosnian poet Semezdin Mehmedinović. He was given a 2017 American Book Award from The Before Columbus Foundation for his work as founder and General Editor of Lost & Found: The CUNY Poetics Document Initiative.