Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program

February 5, 2019: Five Up On Walt

Five Up on Walt will feature five people — poets and members of the Kelly Writers House community — each talking briefly about a Walt Whitman poem that has meant something to their poetry or writing practice. Part of Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy, a region-wide initiative organized by the University of Pennsylvania Libraries, with major support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, to mark the 200th anniversary of Whitman’s birth, this event will bring together writers from multiple genres and generations, each sharing and reckoning with the legacy of Whitman as a poet and as an American.

Whitman at 200: Art and Democracy is a year-long series of cultural events and artistic commissions generated by University of Pennsylvania Libraries and partner organizations to mark the bicentennial of Walt Whitman, America’s “poet of democracy,” who was born on May 31, 1819. Whitman lived the last two decades of his life in Camden, across the Delaware River from Philadelphia. In 2019 we recognize his connection to the region and his far-reaching relevance today.

Ujjwala Maharjan is a spoken word poet and art educator from Kathmandu, Nepal. In 2010, she co-founded Word Warriors, a poetry group leading the Nepali spoken word movement. She was the Program Coordinator for Write to Speak, a spoken word poetry project that introduces the art form to youth from diverse communities, focusing on marginalized groups whose voices have been traditionally suppressed, to bring out their stories. She recently graduated from the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education where she was the 2017-'18 UNESCO Fellow at the International Education Development Program. She is currently interested in exploring art and expression based tools to assist students' socio-emotional learning and literacy skills.

Ron Silliman has written and edited 40 books, most recently if wants to be the same as is: Essential Poems of David Bromige, co-edited with Jack Krick & Bob Perelman, from New Star Books, and had his poetry and criticism translated into 16 languages. Silliman was a 2012 Kelly Writers House Fellow.

Davy Knittle is a fourth-year doctoral candidate in English who works in the fields of feminist, queer, and trans theory, urban studies, and experimental American writing. His dissertation is entitled "Queer with the City: Deviance and the Politics of Urban Change," and uses experimental work by queer and trans authors to read the history of revitalization and redevelopment in major American cities after urban renewal as co-constitutive of queer and trans conceptions of selfhood and space. He is the author of the chapbooks "empathy for cars / force of july" (horse less press 2016) and "cyclorama" (the operating system 2015). Recent writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The Recluse, AModern, Fence, and The Brooklyn Rail. He is a reviews editor for Jacket2, curates the City Planning Poetics talk and reading series at the Kelly Writers House, and organizes with Penn's Trans Literacy Project. He is grateful to the coordinators of Poetry and Poetics and Gen/Sex for gathering folks for this event.

March 13, 2018: A Poetry Reading by Michael Palmer

Poet and translator Michael Palmer has lived in San Francisco since 1969. He has worked with the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company for over forty years and has collaborated with many composers and visual artists. His most recent collections are Active Boundaries (Selected Essays and Talks), (New Directions, 2008), Madman With Broom (selected poems with Chinese translations by Yunte Huang, Oxford University Press, 2011), and Thread, (New Directions, 2011). His new book of poems, The Laughter of the Sphinx, was published by New Directions in June of 2016. He has taught at various universities in the United States, Europe and Asia, and in May of 2012 received the Arts and Letters Prize in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Previously, among other awards, he received the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America, a Lila Wallace – Readers Digest Foundation Grant for the years 1992-94, the Wallace Stevens Prize from the Academy of American Poets, two National Endowment for the Arts fellowships and a Guggenheim Fellowship. From 1999 to 2004 he was a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. His work has been translated into over thirty languages, and he himself has translated poems and prose, principally from French, Brazilian Portuguese and Russian.

November 7, 2016: A Reading by Ross Gay

Ross Gay is the author of three books: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude was also a finalist for the 2015 National Book Award in Poetry and nominated for an NAACP Image Award. Ross is the co-author, with Aimee Nezhukumatathil, of the chapbook "Lace and Pyrite: Letters from Two Gardens," in addition to being co-author, with Richard Wehrenberg, Jr., of the chapbook, "River." He is a founding editor, with Karissa Chen and Patrick Rosal, of the online sports magazine Some Call it Ballin', in addition to being an editor with the chapbook presses Q Avenue and Ledge Mule Press. Ross is a founding board member of the Bloomington Community Orchard, a non-profit, free-fruit-for-all food justice and joy project. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.


April 21, 2016: Patricia Spears Jones

Arkansas born and raised, resident of New York City for more than three decades, Patricia Spears Jones was named by Essence.com as one of its "40 Poets They Love" in 2010. She is author of the poetry collections Painkiller and Femme du Monde from Tia Chucha Press and The Weather That Kills from Coffee House Press and five chapbooks including Living in the Love Economy. Her fourth full collection of poetry A Lucent Fire: New and Selected Poems is out from White Pine Press (White Pine Press Distinguished Poets series). Her work is widely anthologized. Spears Jones has been a culture maven for four decades. She was the first African American programmer as Program Coordinator at The Poetry Project at St. Mark's Church where two decades later she served as Mentor for Emerge, Surface, Be, a new fellowship program. She ran the esteemed New Works Program for the Massachusetts Council of Arts and Humanities (1989-1991) and was Director of Planning and Development at The New Museum of Contemporary Art (1994-96). She is also actively involved in a variety of formal and informal organizations involved with progressive politics, social justice, feminism, the environment, and multi-culturalism, best seen in her appointment as Senior Fellow for The Black Earth Institute. She curates WORDS SUNDAY, a literary and performance series focused on Brooklyn based writers and artists. She teaches for CUNY.


November 11, 2014: DAISY FRIED, TERESA LEO, AND KASEY JUEDS

Daisy Fried is the author of three books of poetry, Women's Poetry: Poems and Advice (University of Pittsburgh, 2013), My Brother is Getting Arrested Again (University of Pittsburgh, 2006), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, and She Didn't Mean to Do It, (University of Pittsburgh, 2000), which won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Award. For her poetry, she's received Guggenheim, Hodder and Pew Fellowships, as well as a Pushcart Prize and the Cohen Award from Ploughshares. Recent poems have been published in the London Review of Books, The Nation, The New Republic, Poetry, The Threepenny Review and elsewhere, and one of her poems will appear in Best American Poetry 2013. She reviews books of poetry for The New York Times, Poetry and the Threepenny Review, and won the Editors Award from Poetry for "Sing, God-Awful Muse," an essay about reading Paradise Lost and breastfeeding.

Teresa Leo is the author of two books of poetry, Bloom in Reverse ( University of Pittsburgh Press, 2014) and The Halo Rule (Elixir Press, 2008), winner of the Elixir Press Editors’ Prize, and also a broadside, "After Twelve Months, Someone Tells Me It’s Time to Join the Living" (The Center for Book Arts, 2009). Her poetry and essays have appeared in The American Poetry Review, Poetry, Ploughshares, Women’s Review of Books, New Orleans Review, Barrow Street, The Florida Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, 5 AM, Literal Latté, Poetry Daily, Verse Daily, Mooring Against the Tide: Writing Fiction and Poetry (Prentice Hall, 2005), the anthology Whatever It Takes: Women on Women’s Sport (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1999), and elsewhere. She has been a resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, the Blue Mountain Center, and the Vermont Studio Center, and her awards include a Poetry Fellowship from the Pew Fellowships in the Arts, an Emerging Artist Award in Creative Nonfiction from the Leeway Foundation, two Individual Artist’s Fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, six Pushcart Prize nominations, and the Richard Peterson Poetry Prize from Crab Orchard Review.

Poet Kasey Jueds's writing has appeared in many journals, including Beloit Poetry Journal, Prairie Schooner, Manhattan Review, Salamander, Crab Orchard Review, Women’s Review of Books, and 5AM. She has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center, Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Soapstone, and the Ucross Foundation. Her first book, Keeper, won the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press, and was published by Pitt in fall, 2013.


November 14, 2013: A POETRY READING BY TRACIE MORRIS

Tracie Morris is a poet, performer and scholar. She works extensively as a singer, sound artist, writer, bandleader and actor. Her installations have been presented at the Whitney Biennial, Ronald Feldman Gallery, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning and the New Museum. She holds an MFA in poetry from Hunter College and an MA and PhD in Performance Studies from New York University. Dr. Morris is an Associate Professor of Humanities and Media Studies at Pratt Institute. Her poetry book, "TDJ: To Do w/ John" (2011) is published by Zasterle Press. "Rhyme Scheme", a longer poetic manuscript, is published by Chax Press for publication in 2012. She is also developing two audio projects: The Tracie Morris Band and sharpmorris, a collaboration with composer Elliott Sharp.


November 8, 2012: A POETRY READING BY NATHALIE ANDERSON, JOAN LANDIS, AND ELAINE TERRANOVA

Nathalie F. Anderson is the author of Following Fred Astaire (1998 Washington Prize from The Word Works), Crawlers 2005 McGovern Prize from Ashland Poetry Press), Quiver, and Stain (soon to arrive). Anderson's poems have appeared in such journals as APR's Philly Edition, Atlanta Review, Denver Quarterly, DoubleTake, Inkwell Magazine, Journal of Mythic Arts, Louisville Review, Natural Bridg, The New Yorker, Nimrod, North American Review, Paris Review, Prairie Schooner, The Recorder, Southern Poetry Review, and Spazio Humano. Her work has been commissioned for the Ulster Museum's collection of visual art and poetry titled A Conversation Piece; for the catalogue of the retrospective exhibition Sarah McEneany at the Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania; and for the artist's press book titled Ars Botanica published by ELM Press. Her work appears in The Book of Irish American Poetry From the Eighteenth Century to the Present, and her poems have twice been solicited for inclusion in The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror. She has authored libretti for three operas – The Black Swan; Sukey in the Dark; and an operatic version of Arthur Conan Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia – all in collaboration with the composer Thomas Whitman. A 1993 Pew Fellow, she serves currently as Poet in Residence at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, and she teaches at Swarthmore College, where she is a Professor in the Department of English Literature and directs the Program in Creative Writing.

Elaine Terranova is the author of five collections of poetry: Dames Rocket (Penstroke Press); Not To: New and Selected Poems (Sheep Meadow Press); The Dog's Heart(Orchises Press); Damages (Copper Canyon Press); and The Cult of the Right Hand (Doubleday), winner of the 1990 Walt Whitman Award ; and the chapbooks, Elegiac: Footnotes to Rilke’s Duino Elegies and Toward Morning/Swimmers. Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, Prairie Schooner, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Ploughshares. Her translation of Euripides’ Iphigenia at Aulis is part of the Penn Greek Drama Series (University of Pennsylvania Press). The recipient of numerous awards, including a Pew Fellowship in the Arts, the Pushcart Prize, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, Terranova teaches writing at the Community College of Philadelphia and in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Rutgers, Camden.

Joan Hutton Landis is the author of That Blue Repair. Landis earned her masters degree at Wesleyan University and her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr. In 1977 Landis began teaching at the Curtis Institute of Music in Philadelphia, helping to form the core curriculum, initiating both poetry and fiction workshops and becoming the first Chair of the Liberal Arts Department. Her critical work has appeared in Hamlet Studies, The Upstart Crow, the Shakespeare Quarterly, and Salmagundi, among others. Her most recent poetry has appeared in Parnassus: Poetry in Review, The Gettysburg Review,Poetry, Salmagundi, and Spoon River. Landis’s poem, “That Blue Repair” inspired a musical piece for strings and cello, composed by Chris Rogerson and commissioned by the New York Youth Orchestra, which was performed at Carnegie Hall and received a rave review in the NY Times. Rogerson has been commissioned by Orchestra 2001, to set another of Landis’s poems for performance in 2013.