November 2018

Thursday, 11/1

Building on the archive: PennSound, poetry audio, and new scholarship in sound studies

Jason Camlot, Lytle Shaw, and Orchid Tierney

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP to: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM
Hosted by: Chris Mustazza

Please join us for a lunchtime panel discussion on some of the newest scholarship that makes use of recordings from our own PennSound archive. PennSound, founded in 2003, has grown into being the world’s largest archive of recordings of poets reading their own work. It sees millions of visits per year and is used for research and pedagogy in the vast majority of the world’s countries. This panel discussion highlights some of the newest poetry audio scholarship that builds upon the existence of PennSound and other poetry audio archives. PennSound is the archival response to Charles Bernstein’s call for the performed poem to be recognized as an entity in its own right, rather than as a simulacrum of a primary, printed text. The panelists will discuss their research and what it means to study the performed poem in practice, to take it seriously as an entity worth of study. Lunch will be served, and there will be a Q&A where you can ask questions of our panelists.

Chris Mustazza is the Associate Director of the PennSound archive, a Ph.D. candidate in English, and an IT director at the University of Pennsylvania. Chris’ work centers on the transatlantic history of poetic recordings, and his dissertation includes the publication of never-before-heard recordings of Robert Frost, Gertrude Stein, James Weldon Johnson, and others. His work has been published in Oral Tradition and Digital Humanities Quarterly, including his new digital tools for visualizing poets’ voices. His writings on these topics have earned him Penn’s Sweeten Prize for best essay in American Literature by a graduate student, and a Creative Grant from Harvard’s Woodberry Poetry Room.

Friday, 11/2

Saturday, 11/3

Sunday, 11/4

Monday, 11/5

A Meeting of The Writers House Planning Committee

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

RSVP to: jalowent@writing.upenn.edu

Join us for a meeting of the Writers House Planning Committee (also known as "the Hub")— the core group of engaged students, staff. faculty, and volunteers who help mmake 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, 11/6

Brodsky Gallery Opening: Liana Finck

6:00 PM

Liana Finck’s cartoons appear regularly in the New Yorker, and on her Instagram feed. Her latest graphic novel, Passing for Human, came out in September.


Wednesday, 11/7

The Future of Ecopoetics

Evelyn Reilly and Joshua Schuster

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

This lunch event features an informal discussion about the past, present, and future of ecopoetics. We will converse about the larger aims of such poetry-- to rediscover environments, to imagine a better world, to describe the world we have, and to push language to its limits. We will talk about some recent poems and some older poems that challenge ecopoetics to account for the world that comes before us and after us.

Evelyn Reilly's books of poetry include Styrofoam, Apocalypso, and Echolocation, all published by Roof Books. Her poetry has appeared in many antholgies, among them The Arcadia Project: Postmodernism and the Pastoral and The &NOW AWARDS 2: The Best Innovative Writing. Reilly's essays have been published in Omniverse, The Eco-language Reader and Interim, and are forthcoming in The Supposium (Litmus Press) and Buffalo Poetry and Poetics: A History of Innovative Writing (Lake Forest Press). She has taught poetics at St. Marks Poetry Project and has been a co-curator of the Segue Reading Series. She lives in New York City and works as a writer and exhibit developer for museums.

Joshua Schuster is an associate professor of English at Western University in Canada. He is the author of The Ecology of Modernism: American Environments and Avant-Garde Poetics (2015). Recent essays have appeared in Resilience, Antennae, Parrhesia, Critical Perspectives on Veganism, and After Derrida. He is currently working on two book projects, one on the cultural representations of animal extinction, and another on poetry and outer space.

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, 11/8

DESEGREGATION REMIX: 3 Women Sing the Borders

Text by Janice A. Lowe and Lee Ann Brown, Music by Janice A. Lowe

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Sponsored by: Creative Ventures, the Creative Writing Program, and a Sachs Visiting Artist Grant

Inspired by the choreopoems of Ntozake Shange, Desegregation Remix: 3 Women Sing the Borders (text by Janice A. Lowe and Lee Ann Brown, music by Janice A. Lowe) is a multimedia play with live music, a dj, poetry and projection that explores the well-meaning altruism of three friends, women of varied backgrounds who link up to renovate an apartment in Brooklyn for a family of recent immigrants. Emotional brambles surface and intersect when the women, all transplants to New York City, morph into their child/teen selves, meet in the surreal plane and negotiate their shared backgrounds of having lived in the American South in the late 1970s and early ‘80s, as court ordered busing to achieve integration of public schools was taking effect.

The second half of the piece is an audience participatory and in-the-moment sound installation interacting with the question: Do you remember a time when you were the only one? Performers include the band Janice Lowe & Namaroon, DJ Manny Ward and vocalist Olithea Anglin.

Janice A. Lowe is the current Fellow in Poetics and Poetic Practice at the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at University of Pennsylvania. Lowe is a composer, poet and vocalizing pianist who creates music-text hybrids. In 2017, she opened the Cleveland INKubator fest with a performance by her band, Namaroon. She is the author of Leaving CLE: Poems of Nomadic Dispersal (Miami University Press) and the chapbook SWAM, a short play (Belladonna Series). Her poems have been published in Callaloo, Best American Experimental Writing, The Poetry Project Online, (Pre) Conceivable Bridges, American Poetry Review, Resist Much/Obey Little, Radiant Re-Sisters, The Hat, and In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers, and on a digital album with Drew Gardner’s Poetics Orchestra. She participated in the Renga for Obama project, the Broadside Series at Center for Book Arts, Words and Music at Word Up Bookshop, and as a writer-in-residence with Melted Away’s American Dream installation at Transformer Station. Lowe composed the opera Dusky Alice as well as the musical Lil Budda (text by Stephanie L. Jones), which was presented at the Eugene O’Neill Musical Theater Conference and in the National Alliance for Musical Theater Festival of New Works. She is also composer of the musicals Sit-In at the Five & Dime (words by Marjorie Duffield), Somewhere in Texas, and Langston & Zora (book & lyrics by Charles E. Drew, Jr.). She was commissioned to compose musical settings of the Millie-Christine poems from the Pulitzer Prize-awarded collection Olio by Tyehimba Jess, and has composed music for plays including Liza Jessie Peterson's Chiron’s Homegurl Healer Howls, Jenni Lamb's 12th and Clairmount, and Nehassiau DeGannes's Door of No Return. Lowe performs internationally and is currently recording the album Leaving CLE: Song Cycle-Songs of Nomadic Dispersal. A cofounder of both the Dark Room Collective and absolute theater co., she has taught multimedia composition at Rutgers University, sound art and writing in the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics Summer Writing Program at Naropa University, and poetry and performance at Purchase College. Lowe is a longtime mentor of youth creative writing and music programs in New York City. She earned an MFA in musical theater writing from New York University and has received residencies from the Dramatists Guild, New Harmony Project, Voice and Vision, the Millay Colony, and the Rockefeller Fund at Pocantico.

Lee Ann Brown is a poet, curator, editor, teacher and singer of neo-hymns and ballads. She has published over six books of poetry including Polyverse (Sun & Moon, 1999) which won the New American Series Award, The Sleep That Changed Everything (Wesleyan University Press, 2003), and In the Laurels, Caught (Fence, 2013) which won the Fence Modern Poets Series Award. Brown was born in Japan in 1963. After growing up in the North Carolina, she attended Brown University for both graduate and undergraduate degrees in Creative Writing. She in active in the New York City and North Carolina poetry worlds and has taught and performed her work internationally. She was the 2017-2018 Judith E. Wilson Poetry Fellow at the University of Cambridge. Brown teaches poetry at St. John’s University and since 1989, runs Tender Buttons Press to publish innovative women’s poetry: https://www.TenderButtonsPress.com/. Updates can be found at https://LeeAnnBrownPoet.com/.

Friday, 11/9

Kristallnacht: 80 years later

A conversation co-presented by Penn Hillel and Kelly Writers House

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Supported by: The Wexler Family Endowed Fund for Programs in Jewish Life and Culture

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

Holocaust testimony is typically associated with the oldest among us. This program asks us to do something counterintuitive: to listen to young people and hear—and respond to—how they find or at least seek hope amid tragedy. Let’s take some time to discuss how the youngest generations are affected by the atrocities of the Holocaust by listening as they bespeak their relationship to the events of the past. How have they have grown up encountering the responsibility (or “response”-ability) to keep intact the long chain of witness. During this intergenerational conversation, we invite our elders to listen to young people as they learn how to connect with their ancestors’ history.

Saturday, 11/10

Rediscovering Benjamin Rush

A conversation with bestselling author Stephen Fried (C’79)

Arts at Homecoming Event

4:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Stephen Fried's new book, RUSH: Revolution, Madness and the Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father, brings a whole new perspective to the birth of our nation — as well as the founding of Penn (where Dr. Rush was the first famous professor and writer.) In honor of Homecoming, we’ll host a talk with Fried about how and why he rediscovered this forgotten and controversial signer, patriot and medical visionary — joined by some of the Penn alumni who worked on the book as undergraduates.

Stephen Fried (C ’79) is an award-winning journalist and New York Times bestselling author who teaches at Penn, and at Columbia (in the departments of journalism and psychiatry.) He is the author of seven acclaimed nonfiction books, most recently RUSH: Revolution, Madness and Benjamin Rush, The Visionary Doctor Who Became a Founding Father (Crown). A two-time winner of the National Magazine Award, his work has appeared in Smithsonian, Vanity Fair, GQ, Glamour, and Philadelphia magazine. Fried lives in Philadelphia, with his wife, author Diane Ayres.

Sunday, 11/11

Monday, 11/12

Writing About TV: Magic

Featuring Jamie Albrecht, Erin Cross, Rodney Dailey,Torinn Fennelly, Mikey Ilagan, and Heidi Kalloo

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

sponsored by: Creative Ventures

This annual program features personal essays, critical analysis, and smart talk about TV. For this year’s event, six people will present about six different television shows, using the concept of “magic” as a shared theme to guide their discussion.

Tuesday, 11/13

Wednesday, 11/14

Lunch with Eugene Ostashevsky

A reading and conversation

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

co-sponsored by: Writers Without Borders, the Russian and East European Department, and the Comparative Literature and Theory Program
RSVP to: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM

Eugene Ostashevsky works on writing that wrongs the borders of language, culture, and nation. His latest book of poetry, The Pirate Who Does Not Know the Value of Pi, published by NYRB Poets, discusses migration, translation, and second-language writing as wrought by pirates and parrots. For the Italian newspaper Il Manifesto, The Pirate “transforms the absurdity of Russian Futurism into a postmodern poetics of immigration, as it mixes puns, jokes, specialist jargon, early modern exploration and colonial narratives, Socratic dialogue, Wittgensteinian language games, and the allegorical fable.” A German reviewer writes that “when the pirate and the parrot are stranded on a deserted island, they deconstruct the strategies of linguistic exclusion hiding in the terms native, refugee, and mother tongue. This book is contemporary, border-crossing, and deeply humane.” For an American reader, “Ostashevsky’s original American poetry seems ready-made to discuss the multiple mutating filters of translation.” Ostashevsky is also the author of The Life and Opinions of DJ Spinoza, a book of poetry about the irrationality of rationality, and a translator specializing in zaum’, or the meaningless language of the Russian avant-garde.


Weike Wang: Cheryl J. Family Fiction Reading

With student opener Daniel Finkel (C’18)

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Weike Wang is a graduate of Harvard University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in chemistry and her doctorate in public health. Her first novel, Chemistry, received the PEN/Hemingway Award for Debut Fiction, Ploughshares' John C. Zacharis Award, and a Whiting Award. A “5 Under 35” honoree of the National Book Foundation, Weike currently lives in New York City.


Daniel Finkel is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing. He is currently the head editor of The Penn Review and is conducting CURF-supported research on the early poetry of Ezra Pound.

Thursday, 11/15

Lunch with Dana Milbank

Povich Journalism Program

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Dana Milbank is a nationally syndicated op-ed columnist at the Washington Post. He also provides political commentary for various TV outlets, and he is the author of three books on politics, including the national bestseller Homo Politicus. Milbank joined the Post in 2000 as a Style political writer, then covered the presidency of George W. Bush as a White House correspondent before starting the column in 2005. Before joining the Post, Milbank spent two years as a senior editor at the New Republic, where he covered the Clinton White House, and eight years as a reporter with the Wall Street Journal, where he covered Congress and was a London-based correspondent.

A poetry reading by Al Young

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Al Young is a writer and teacher whose many books include novels, collections of poetry, essays, memoirs, and anthologies. His work has appeared in Paris Review, Ploughshares, Essence, the New York Times, Chicago Review, Seattle Review, Brilliant Corners: A Journal of Jazz & Literature, Chelsea, Rolling Stone, Gathering of the Tribes, the Norton Anthology of African American Literature, and the Oxford Anthology of African American Literature. Young has taught poetry, fiction writing, and American literature at Stanford, U.C. Berkeley, U.C. Santa Cruz, U.C. Davis, Bowling Green State University, Foothill College, the Colorado College, Rice University, the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, the University of Arkansas, San José State University, where he was appointed the 2002 Lurie Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing, and Charles University in the Czech Republic under the auspices of the Prague Summer Programs. In the spring of 2003 he taught poetry at Davidson College (Davidson, NC), where he was McGee Professor in Writing. In the fall of 2003, as the first Coffey Visiting Professor of Creative Writing at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, he taught a poetry workshop. From 2003-2006 he served on the faculty of Cave Canem‘s summer workshop retreats for African American poets. His honors include Wallace Stegner, Guggenheim, Fulbright, National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, the PEN-Library of Congress Award for Short Fiction, the PEN-USA Award for Non-Fiction, two American Book Awards, two Pushcart Prizes, two New York Times Notable Book of the year citations, an Arts Council Silicon Valley Fellowship, the Stephen Henderson Achievement Award for Poetry, Radio Pacifica’s KPFA Peace Prize, the Glenna Luschei Distinguished Poetry Fellowship, and the Richard Wright Award for Excellence in Literature. At its May 2009 commencement, Whittier College conferred on him its highest honor: the Doctor of Humane Letters degree. On October 4, 2011 at the University of North Carolina’s Historic Players Theatre, Al Young received the 2011 Thomas Wolfe Prize.

Photo: Joseph Robinson

Friday, 11/16

Saturday, 11/17

Sunday, 11/18

Monday, 11/19

Tuesday, 11/20

Wednesday, 11/21

Thursday, 11/22

Friday, 11/23

Saturday, 11/24

Sunday, 11/25

Monday, 11/26

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, 11/27

Laynie Browne, Bianca Stone, and Connie Yu

Whenever We Feel Like It

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Bianca Stone is a writer and visual artist. She was born and raised in Vermont and moved to New York City in 2007 where she received her MFA from NYU. She collaborated with Anne Carson on Antigonick, a book pairing Carson’s translation of Antigone with Stone’s illustration and comics (New Directions, 2012). Stone is the author of the poetry collection Someone Else’s Wedding Vows, (Tin House Books and Octopus Books, 2014), Poetry Comics From the Book of Hours (Pleiades Press, 2016) and The Mobius Strip Club of Grief (Tin House, 2018). Her poems, poetry comics, and nonfiction have appeared in a variety of magazines including Poetry, jubilat, and Georgia Review. She has returned to Vermont with her husband and collaborator, the poet Ben Pease, and their daughter Odette, where they run the Ruth Stone Foundation, a writing collective, letterpress studio, and artist residency.


Connie Yu is a writer and performer living in Philadelphia, attending to queer Asian worry, meetingplaces for this, that body and what it wears, alternate and constricted transmissions of information. Their poetry and essays have been published in Apiary, Supplement, and Jacket2. Recently, they have worked as an educator at Center for Creative Works; and as a curator of gallery shows and contingent programs at the Kelly Writers House.


Wednesday, 11/28

Lunch with Randi Hutter Epstein

Kauders Lunch Series

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

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

Randi Hutter Epstein is a medical writer, lecturer at Yale University, Writer in Residence at Yale Medical School, and an adjunct professor at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. Randi has worked as a medical writer for the London bureau of The Associated Press and was the London bureau chief of Physicians’ Weekly. Her articles have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, Parents, More,among other newspapers and magazines. She has given Grand Rounds at New York University School of Medicine and the Yale University School of Medicine and has lectured at the New York Academy of Medicine. She is also the author of Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank (released by W.W. Norton, Jan 2010) and AROUSED: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything (W.W. Norton, 2018). Randi earned a B.S. from The University of Pennsylvania where she studied the history and sociology of science. She earned an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, an M.D. from Yale University School of Medicine, and an M.P.H. from Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Randi lives in New York City with her husband, Stuart Epstein. They have four children.

A poetry reading by Laura Henriksen and Benjamin Krusling

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by: Simone White

Laura Henriksen’s writing can be found in P-Queue, The Brooklyn Rail, Foundry, Jacket2, High Noon, and other places. She is the author of the chapbook Agata (Imp, 2017). Her new collaborative chapbook with Beka Goedde, Fluid Arrangements, was printed with Planthouse Gallery. She performed in the 2018 New Ear Festival and read in the 92nd St Y’s 2018 Tenth Muse event, selected by Eileen Myles. She is currently pursuing her Masters in American Studies and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the CUNY Graduate Center. She is the founder of the 1981 Feminist Reading Group at The Poetry Project, where she also works as the Communications & Membership Coordinator.

Benjamin Krusling is a poet, video artist, and the author of a chapbook, GRAPES. He is currently the Provost's Postgraduate Visiting Writer in Poetry at the University of Iowa and his poetry and prose have appeared in Hyperallergic, The New Inquiry, Black Warrior Review, and other publications.

Thursday, 11/29

A poetry reading by Denice Frohman and Cindy Jiménez-Vera

6:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Hosted by: Raquel Salas Rivera

Denice Frohman is an award-winning poet, educator, and performer from New York City. She is a CantoMundo Fellow, former Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, and National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures grant recipient.

Her work has been commissioned by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, ESPN and was featured in the #HereWeAre campaign to uplift women's voices, which aired during the Oscar's. Her poems have appeared in The Adroit Journal, Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color, Women of Resistance: Poems for a New Feminism, and garnered over 10 million views online. She has been a featured speaker at over 200 colleges and universities; hundreds of high schools, non-profits, and cultural arts spaces; and performed at The White House in 2016.

She has a Master’s in Education and is passionate about working with young people. She is based in Philadelphia and currently, tours the country.

Cindy Jiménez-Vera is the author of four poetry collections: No lugar (2017), Islandia (2015), 400 nuevos soles (2013), and Tegucigalpa (2012). She has also published a non-fiction book chronicling her trip to San Sebastián, El Salvador entitled En San Sebastián, su pueblo y el mío (2014), and a collection of children’s poetry, El gran cheeseburger y otros poemas con dientes (2015). Her work has been translated into English, Italian, and Portuguese, and published in literary and academic journals, anthologies, textbooks, newspapers, and websites across Latin America, the Caribbean, the US, Europe and elsewhere. A bilingual anthology of a selection of her poetry is in the works with English translations by the Puerto Rican poet Guillermo Rebollo-Gil.

Friday, 11/30