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.

RealArts presents Alex Koppelman

Hosted by Anthony DeCurtis

5:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

Alex Koppelman is a managing editor for CNN Business, overseeing the coverage of tech, media, and companies. Prior to joining CNN, Koppelman was editorial director of Vocativ. He has also served as enterprise editor at Guardian U.S. and as politics editor of NewYorker.com, and was a senior writer at Salon.com. An Emmy and National Magazine Award winner, Koppelman is a Baltimore native and a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania.

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

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

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

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

watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
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, 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
RSVP to: wh@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM

An open rehearsal of DESEGREGATION REMIX: 3 Women Sing the Borders, with text by JANICE A. LOWE and LEE ANN BROWN and Music by Janice A. Lowe is a multimedia play with music that explores the well-meaning altruism of 3 friends who link up to renovate an apartment for a family of recent immigrants to Brooklyn. Emotional brambles surface and intersect when the women, all transplants to New York City, morph into their child selves, meet on a surreal plane and negotiate their shared backgrounds of having lived in the southern U.S. as court ordered busing to achieve integration of public schools was taking effect in the 1970s. The piece evolves into an audience participatory and in-the-moment sound installation interacting with the questions: Do you remember when you were one of a few? How did it feel to be the only one? Performers include Janice Lowe & Namaroon, DJ Manny Ward, Olithea Anglin, Lee Ann Brown, Melanie Dyer, Aliria Johnson, Bi Jean Ngo and Yohann Potico.

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

Homecoming Open House

2:00–4:00 PM throughout the first floor

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

Renew your acquaintance or get to know this lively and innovative home for writers of all ages and genres as you join members of the Writers House community for informal conversation, coffee, and light refreshments. Advance registration is not required, but we'd love to hear from you. RSVP to whhomecoming@writing.upenn.edu or call (215) 746-POEM

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

6:30 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
watch: a video recording of this event via KWH-TV: part 1, part 2
listen to an audio recording of this event

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 WITH OPENER DANIEL FINKEL (C'20)

Cheryl J. Family Fiction Program

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, Wang is the Craven Writer in Residence in the Penn Creative Writing Program.


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

Laynie Browne is a poet, prose writer, teacher and editor. She is author of thirteen collections of poems and three novels. Her most recent collections include a book of poems You Envelop Me (Omnidawn 2017), a novel Periodic Companions (Tinderbox 2018) and short fiction in two editions, one French, and one English in The Book of Moments (Presses universitaires de rouen et du havre, 2018). Her honors include a 2014 Pew Fellowship, the National Poetry Series Award (2007) for her collection The Scented Fox, and the Contemporary Poetry Series Award (2005) for her collection Drawing of a Swan Before Memory. Her poetry has been translated into French, Spanish, Chinese and Catalan. Forthcoming books of poetry include: Amulet: New & Selected Poems, Amulet Sonnets, In Garments Worn by Lindens, and Translation of the Lilies Back into Lists. Current projects include editing an anthology on The Poet’s Novel, and a collaboration with visual artist Brent Wahl on a public art project in Philadelphia, an installation including sculpture and poetry inscribed in thirteen languages in the new Railpark in Callow Hill. She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and at Swarthmore College.

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 (C’84), M.D., is an author and writing teacher. She is a proud graduate of Penn where she studied History & Sociology of Science. Randi also has an M.D. from Yale University, where she teaches medical writing to undergraduates and is the Writer In Residence at Yale School of Medicine. She also has an M.S. from Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and an M.P.H. from the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. Randi’s articles have appeared in the Washington Post, the New York Times among other publications. She writes a blog for Psychology Today. Her first book, Get Me Out: A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank was called "an engrossing survey of the history of childbirth" by the Washington Post. Her most recent book is Aroused: The History of Hormones and How They Control Just About Everything. The New Yorker called it a "compelling history…a tour of endocrinology, highlighting progress but also the hype that has promoted the curative abilities of hormones."

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

RealArts@Penn Internships: info session

12:00 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp to: wh@writing.upenn.edu

Have you been dreaming of the perfect summer internship? The one that will change your life forever? RealArts@Penn can help make that dream a reality! RealArts@Penn offers paid summer internships in publishing, TV and film, journalism, public relations, talent management, music, theater, and museums. Premier partner/host organizations have included Viacom, Genre Films, Downtown Bookworks, Pitchfork Media, Morgan Museum and Library and Principato-Young Entertainment. The project draws upon a vast network of creative alumni who help enable hands-on and face-to-face interactions between students and the people who make arts and culture their business. Join us for an informal conversation with past RealArts interns to learn more about the project and the application process.

Navigating Distance: A Conversation on Contemporary Puerto Rican Poetry

Featuring 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