February 2023

Wednesday, 2/1

Beyond America's Racial Fault Line

A dialogue with Ben Jealous about his new book Never Forget Our People Were Always Free: A Parable of American Healing

6:30 PM (ET) in person and on YouTube

co-sponsored by: Africana Studies and the School of Social Policy and Practice
hosted by: Camille Z. Charles
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
Watch: here

With a premise that the "path to healing America's broken heart starts with each of us having the courage to heal our own," Never Forget Our People Were Always Free: A Parable of American Healing features "lively parables that call on each of us to reconcile, heal, and work fearlessly to make America one nation." (HarperCollins)

A New York Times bestselling author, community organizer, investigative journalist, former head of the NAACP, Distinguished Visiting Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Professor of Practice, Annenberg School for Communication and School of Social Policy & Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Ben Jealous will share stories from the book in conversation with Camille Z. Charles, Walter H. and Leonore C. Annenberg Professor in the Social Sciences, Professor of Sociology and Africana Studies, Africana Studies Department Chair, Faculty Director, Office of Penn First Plus, University of Pennsylvania.

Ben Jealous has spent his professional life at the nexus of social change, media, and emerging technologies. He is a former Democratic Nominee for Governor of Maryland, former National President & CEO of the NAACP, former Executive Director of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA), and for more than half a decade has been investing in social impact startups. While at the NAACP, Jealous led a series of wholesale changes in how the organization used social media and related technologies to enhance its organizing. His efforts started with proving the efficacy of online viral voter registration drives in the 2008 Presidential Election. The NAACP's numbers of online activists really took off when Jealous began using their platforms to organize support for individuals fighting injustices in the criminal justice system. The last such campaign he led for the NAACP signed up more than 600,000 new activists on email and approximately 400,000 via text in less than two weeks. These efforts have also been credited by a major polling firm with shifting public opinion and paving the way for landmark civil rights state legislative victories.

Jealous is a Professor of Practice at the Annenberg School for Communication, the School of Social Policy & Practice, and Distinguished Visiting Fellow, University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

Thursday, 2/2

POEMTALK ON JUNE JORDAN

Erica Hunt, Amber Rose Johnson, and Davy Knittle, with Al Filreis

12:00 PM (ET) in person and on Youtube

REGISTER HERE to attend in person

The PoemTalk podcast features a lively roundtable discussion of a single poem. In this special taping of PoemTalk in front of an audience, PoemTalk host and producer Al Filreis will lead a discussion of three poems by June Jordan, including "Last Poem on Bell's Theorem" with Erica Hunt, Amber Rose Johnson, and Davy Knittle.

Friday, 2/3

Saturday, 2/4

Sunday, 2/5

Monday, 2/6

A meeting of the writers house planning committee

5:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

REGISTER HERE to attend in person

The Kelly Writers House is run collectively by members of its community, especially students. The Writers House Planning Committee — also known as "the Hub" — meets monthly to discuss Writers House projects and programs. Join us at this first meeting of the year to find out about some of the things we will work on this year, including our annual marathon reading, and to find out how you can get involved with community-led events and projects.

Tuesday, 2/7

Novelist Ling Ma

Lucid Fiction Program

6:00 PM (ET) in the Arts Café and on Youtube

Co-sponsored by: the Asian American Studies Program, the Creative Writing Program, and the Department of English
hosted by: Jonathan Dick
REGISTER HERE to attend in person

Ling Ma's most recent book is Bliss Montage: Stories (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2022), which was named a National Indie Bestseller, a New Yorker Best Book of the Year, and a New York Times Book Review Editor's Choice. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed debut novel Severance (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018), described as a "meticulous, caustic description of life in big cities and what happens when a terrible pandemic slowly annihilates most of the human population." Severance won the Kirkus Prize for Fiction, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, and the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award. Named a New York Times Notable Book and an NPR Best Book of 2018, it has been translated into seven languages. Ling's fiction and nonfiction has appeared in Granta, Playboy, Vice, Chicago Reader, Ninth Letter, Buzzfeed, and more. Her fellowships include a Whiting Award, and an NEA creative writing fellowship.

Wednesday, 2/8

SPEAKEASY OPEN MIC NIGHT

Poetry, prose, anything goes

7:30 PM (ET) in the Arts Cafe and on YouTube

REGISTER HERE to attend in person
Watch: here

Our student-run open mic night welcomes all kinds of readings, performances, spectacles, and happenings. You'll have three minutes at the podium to perform. Bring your poetry, your guitar, your dance troupe, your award-winning essay, or your flash fiction to share.

Thursday, 2/9

Chili Cook-Off

5:30 PM (ET) in person

Register here to make chili or attend the event

It’s time for the revival of our annual Kelly Writers House Chili Cook-Off! Anyone can enter the competition and compete to win the title of best chili maker. The Cook-Off is open to teams and individuals. To participate, please make a big batch of your best chili and bring it to the KWH ready to eat by 5:30 PM for a community tasting. We’ll reimburse you up to $40 for ingredients (so hang on to your receipts). Please register here to attend in person.

Friday, 2/10

Saturday, 2/11

Sunday, 2/12

Monday, 2/13

Whenever We Feel Like It: Chris Martin & Adam Wolfond

6:00 PM (ET) in the Arts Cafe

co-sponsored by: the Critical Writing Program
hosted by: Michelle Taransky
watch: here

Whenever We Feel Like It presents a reading and discussion featuring poets Chris Martin and Adam Wolfond. Chris is also the author of the nonfiction book, May Tomorrow Be Awake: On Poetry, Autism, and Our Neurodiverse Future about his work to help autistic students, like Adam, find their voices. Please join us for their performance and audience-led discussion with the writers about the potential of writing and the lessons we might learn writing with and alongside one another.

Chris Martin is this very moment endeavoring to become himself, a somemany and tilted thinking animal who sways, hags, loves, trees, lights, listens, and arrives. He is a poet who teaches and learns in mutual measure, as the connective hub of Unrestricted Interest/TILT and the curator of Multiverse, a series of neurodivergent writing from Milkweed Editions. His most recent book of poems is Things to Do in Hell (Coffee House, 2020) and his first book of nonfiction, May Tomorrow Be Awake: On Poetry, Autism, and Our Neurodiverse Future, was published by HarperOne in 2022. He lives on the edge of Bde Maka Ska in Minneapolis, among the mulberries, with Mary Austin Speaker and their two bewildering creatures.

Adam Wolfond is the author of The Wanting Way. He is a nonspeaking autistic artist, poet, and university lecturer whose work has been featured in multimedia exhibitions, documentary films, academic journals, and philosophical treatises. He is the youngest writer to appear in the Academy of American Poets’ “Poem-A-Day” series and is the author of two chapbooks, There Is Too Music in My Ears and In Way of Music Water Answers Toward Questions Other Than What Is Autism, both published by Unrestricted Editions. He is also a founding member of dis assembly, a neurodiverse artist collective based in Toronto.

Tuesday, 2/14

Dance and the Poetics of Nothingness

A performance workshop/lecture with Takahiro Yamamoto and Dahlia Li

6:00 PM (ET) in person and on YouTube

Sponsored by: Creative Ventures
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
watch: here

How abundant can nothing be? This iteration of the dance and poetics series sees artists Takahiro Yamamoto and Dahlia Li engage the possibilities of nothingness through collaborative gesture and poetic language practices. Drawing on Yamamoto’s NOTHINGBEING project and “the possibilities of the unfiltered self” and Li’s research into cultural memory and photographic negation, this participatory performance workshop/lecture opens the intimate fold of nothingness towards the unknown spectator. Together we will probe what it means to witness what unfolds in the present and attend to the rich temporal relations nothingness casts. No prior dance or poetry experience required.

Dahlia Li (she/her) is an artist and writer currently completing a PhD at the University of Pennsylvania in the Department of English with certificates from the Programs in Cinema and Media Studies and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies. Her dissertation, Caress without Body: Stranded Affect, Queer Diasporic Dancing and Questions Concerning Technologies examines 20th and 21st-century experimental approaches to dance from QTBIPOC perspectives to forward a theory of danced embodiment as collective technology. She has performed or shown work across a number of venues in the US and Europe. From 2020-2021 she was an EmergeNYC fellow and is currently a Helena Rubenstein Critical Studies Fellow at the Independent Study Program at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Originally from Shizuoka Japan, Takahiro Yamamoto is an artist and choreographer based in Portland. He has received support from NCCAkron, Bogliasco Foundation, Oregon Community Foundation, MacDowell, National Performance Network, Japan Foundation, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, Regional Arts & Culture Council, Africa Contemporary Arts Consortium, and others. Both of his performance productions and visual art works have been presented at Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (Portland), Portland Art Museum (Portland) On The Boards (Seattle), Velocity Dance Center (Seattle), Henry Art Gallery (Seattle), Diverseworks (Houston), Contemporary Arts Center (Cincinnati), GoDown Arts Centre (Nairobi), Holding Contemporary (Portland), Bedlam Lowertown (St. Paul), Rowan Gallery (Los Angeles), and others. He holds MFA in Visual Studies at Pacific Northwest College of Art. He co-directs a performance company madhause with Ben Evans, and a part of Portland-based support group Physical Education with Allie Hankins, keyon gaskin, and Lu Yim.

Wednesday, 2/15

Lunch with playwright Cris Eli Blak

12:00 PM (ET) in person and on YouTube

Hosted by: Margit Edwards
Co-sponsored by: Penn Live Arts
REGISTER HERE to attend in person

Join us for a conversation with Cris Eli Blak, one of the five playwrights working on the Negro Ensemble Company’s world premiere show, Mecca is Burning, commissioned and co-produced by Penn Live Arts. The conversation will be moderated by Margit Edwards, Lecturer in Theatre Arts at Penn. Lunch will be served.

Cris Eli Blak is an emerging proud Black playwright whose work has been performed and produced around the world, from Off-Broadway; across the country regionally; on university stages; as well as in London, Australia, Ireland, and Canada. He is currently the Artist-in-Residence at The State University of New York at Oswego and the recipient of the Emerging Playwrights Fellowship with The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre Company. He has been a resident playwright with Fosters Theatrical Artists Residency, Paterson Performing Arts Development Council, Quick Silver Theatre Company, Yonder Window Theatre Company, and La Lengua Teatro en Español/AlterTheater Ensemble, and was an inaugural-year fellow with the Black Theatre Coalition. Blak has developed work with Rattlestick Theatre, Company One, The Road Theatre, and American Stage; and is currently developing work with The Negro Ensemble Company, Pipeline Theatre Company, Et Alia Theater, the Napa Valley Shakespeare Festival, and The Pikeville City Comission. His work has been published by Smith & Kraus, Inc., YOUTHPlays, Applause Books, New World Theatre, Breath of Fire Latina Theater Ensemble, and in the Black Theatre Review.

A Conversation with John Hendrickson

6:00 PM (ET) in person and on YouTube

Hosted by: Paul Hendrickson
Sponsored by the Creative Writing Program
Co-sponsored by: the Povich Nonfiction Fund
REGISTER HERE to attend in person

The Creative Writing Program presents a conversation with John Hendrickson, whose new book Life on Delay: Making Peace With a Stutter is a reported memoir chronicling his lifelong struggle to speak. In Life on Delay, Hendrickson explores the personal, professional, and societal challenges that stutterers like him face daily and revisits key people from his past in unguarded interviews. Along the way, he guides readers through the evolution of speech therapy, the controversial quest for a "magic pill" to end stuttering, and the burgeoning self-help movement within the stuttering community. He also presents portraits of fellow stutterers who have changed his life and a pioneering doctor who is upending the field of speech therapy. Hendrickson's intimate, candid memoir grew out of a feature he wrote for The Atlantic called "What Joe Biden Can't Bring Himself to Say," which was named one of the best stories of 2019 by Longform. His father, senior lecturer in English and Creative Writing Paul Hendrickson, will host.

John Hendrickson is a senior editor at The Atlantic. He has spoken about stuttering, politics, and journalism on CNN, MSNBC, NPR, PBS, and at colleges and universities across the country. Before joining The Atlantic, he wrote and edited for Rolling Stone, Esquire, and The Denver Post. He lives in New York City with his wife.

This event is hosted by Paul Hendrickson, senior lecturer in English and Creative Writing at the University of Pennsylvania.

Thursday, 2/16

A Conversation with Michael Imperioli

6:00 PM (ET) in person and on YouTube

hosted by: Anthony DeCurtis
presented by: RealArts@Penn and the Creative Ventures Fund
THIS EVENT IS NOW FULL AND NO LONGER ACCEPTING REGISTRATIONS
watch: here

Michael Imperioli is an American actor, author, musician, director, and producer. At the Kelly Writers House, he will primarily be reading from and discussing his novel The Perfume Burned His Eyes, which features Lou Reed as a character. Imperioli starred as Dominic Di Grasso in the Netflix series White Lotus and as Christopher Moltisanti in the HBO series The Sopranos. He has also starred in many films and theater productions, hosts the recap podcast Talking Sopranos, and leads the indie rock band Zopa.

Friday, 2/17

Saturday, 2/18

Sunday, 2/19

Monday, 2/20

A reading by Joan Retallack

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp required: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu
Watch: on YouTube

From New York and Charleston, South Carolina, Joan Retallack is a celebrated poet, critic, biographer, and scholar. She is the author of 8 books of poetry, most recently Procedural Elegies / Western Civ Cont'd, an Artforum Best Book of 2010. Her other books include Memnoir (2004), How to Do Things With Words (1998), Afterrimages (1995), and Circumstantial Evidence (1985). Her honors are vast, including a Pushcart Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry, and grants from the Lannan Foundation for poetry and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her critical studies, including The Poethical Wager, emphasize imagination and alterity and are playfully philosophical. She was the director of Language and Thinking Program at Bard College for ten years, and then served as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Humanities, teaching courses related to her interests in experimental traditions of the 20th and 21st centuries, poetics, and the philosophy of language.

Tuesday, 2/21

A conversation with Joan Retallack

Kelly Writers House Fellows Program

10:00 AM in the Arts Cafe

rsvp required: whfellow@writing.upenn.edu
Watch: on YouTube

From New York and Charleston, South Carolina, Joan Retallack is a celebrated poet, critic, biographer, and scholar. She is the author of 8 books of poetry, most recently Procedural Elegies / Western Civ Cont'd, an Artforum Best Book of 2010. Her other books include Memnoir (2004), How to Do Things With Words (1998), Afterrimages (1995), and Circumstantial Evidence (1985). Her honors are vast, including a Pushcart Prize, a Gertrude Stein Award in Innovative American Poetry, and grants from the Lannan Foundation for poetry and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her critical studies, including The Poethical Wager, emphasize imagination and alterity and are playfully philosophical. She was the director of Language and Thinking Program at Bard College for ten years, and then served as the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Humanities, teaching courses related to her interests in experimental traditions of the 20th and 21st centuries, poetics, and the philosophy of language.


Wednesday, 2/22

José Olivarez: performance and conversation

Caroline Rothstein Oral Poetry Program

6:00 PM (ET) in person and on YouTube

hosted by: Andrés Gonzalez-Bonillas
co-sponsored by: La Casa Latina, The Center for Latin American and Latinx Studies, The Center for the Study of Ethnicity, Race and Immigration (CSERI), and the Creative Writing Program
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
watch: here

José Olivarez is a writer from Calumet City, IL. He is the author of Promises of Gold and Citizen Illegal. Citizen Illegal was a finalist for the PEN/ Jean Stein Award and a winner of the 2018 Chicago Review of Books Poetry Prize. It was named a top book of 2018 by The Adroit Journal, NPR, and the New York Public Library. Along with Felicia Chavez and Willie Perdomo, he co-edited the poetry anthology, The BreakBeat Poets Vol. 4: LatiNEXT. His poems are featured alongside photographs by Antonio Salazar in the multi-disciplinary poetic work, Por Siempre.


Thursday, 2/23

Friday, 2/24

Saturday, 2/25

Sunday, 2/26

Monday, 2/27

LIVE at the Writers House

WXPN radio show

6:30 PM in the Arts Cafe

REGISTER HERE to attend in person

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 records a one-hour show of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art for broadcast by WXPN. "LIVE" is made possible through the generous support of BigRoc and is produced by Alli Katz.


Tuesday, 2/28

A Reading by Hoa Nguyen

Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program

6:00 PM in the Arts Café and on YouTube

hosted by: Laynie Browne

REGISTER HERE to attend in person
Watch: here

Hoa Nguyen is the author of several books of poetry including Red Juice, Violet Energy Ingots, and A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure. Born in the Mekong Delta and raised and educated in the United States, Hoa lives in Tkaronto with her family. She is a member of She Who Has No Masters, a Vietnamese diasporic collective of cis, trans, and non-binary women and founding mentor of the SWHNM mentorship. In 2019, her body of work was nominated for a Neustadt Prize for Literature, a prestigious international literary award often compared with the Nobel Prize in Literature.