November 2022

Tuesday, 11/1

A Conversation with Maria Konnikova

Weber Symposium

5:00 PM (ET): reception

6:00 PM (ET): interview / conversation

Hosted by: Al Filreis
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
watch: here

Maria Konnikova is the author, most recently, of The Biggest Bluff, a New York Times bestseller, one of the Times' 100 Notable Books of 2020, and a finalist for the Telegraph Best Sports Writing Awards for 2021. Her previous books are the bestsellers The Confidence Game, winner of the 2016 Robert P. Balles Prize in Critical Thinking, and Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes, an Anthony and Agatha Award finalist. Maria is a regularly contributing writer for The New Yorker whose writing has won numerous awards, including the 2019 Excellence in Science Journalism Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology. While researching The Biggest Bluff, Maria became an international poker champion and the winner of over $300,000 in tournament earnings—and inadvertently turned into a professional poker player. Maria's writing has been featured in Best American Science and Nature Writing and has been translated into over twenty languages. Maria also hosts the podcast The Grift from Panoply Media, a show that explores con artists and the lives they ruin. Her podcasting work earned her a National Magazine Award nomination in 2019. She graduated from Harvard University and received her PhD in psychology from Columbia University.

Wednesday, 11/2

A Special Episode of PoemTalk: On Hoa Nguyen

Kate Colby, Jonathan Dick, and Bethany Swann, with PoemTalk producer Al Filreis

12:00 PM (ET) in the Arts Café and on YouTube

REGISTER HERE to attend in person (lunch will be served)
Watch: here

Kate Colby, Jonathan Dick, and Bethany Swann will be convened by PoemTalk producer-host Al Filreis to talk informally about a poem by Hoa Nguyen called "Long Night" from Nguyen's book Red Juice. PoemTalk is a monthly podcast that features poets talking informally about poems in the PennSound archive. For this special taping of PoemTalk, lunch will be served.

The Grand Piano: Ten Years After

An online roundtable discussion with Rae Armantrout, Steve Benson, Carla Harryman, Lyn Hejinian, Tom Mandel, Ted Pearson, Bob Perelman, Kit Robinson, Ron Silliman, and Barrett Watten

6:00 PM (ET) on YouTube (online only)

moderated by: Benjamin Lee, University of Tennessee
hosted by: Simone White, University of Pennsylvania
watch: here

The Grand Piano: An Experiment in Collective Autobiography was written by ten poets who emerged in the San Francisco language writing scene in the 1970s. The work takes its title from the coffee house in the Haight-Ashbury District where they met, read, performed, organized, and generated high-visibility energy and controversy in both Bay Area and national literary communities. In the 00s, having found themselves "midway through our life" and being widely dispersed from that "original" time and place, they reconvened the group online and collaboratively wrote, edited, designed, and published a ten-volume "Collective Auto­biography" that brought together both the past (the years 1975–80) and the present, at the time of writing (about 2005–10). On its completion in 2010, reviews and comments were correlated; a digital archive was constructed and maintained; and the work was sampled and presented in group performances in New York and the Bay Area. An additional ten years later, with the final reserves of the print edition coming off the shelves, the authors organized Grand Piano TV, an online Zoom reading series, running from August 2022 to January 2023. In that format, each author gives a dedicated reading that returns to but radically reorganizes the published work; the readings are uploaded to YouTube and will eventually be housed at PennSound. At Kelly Writers House, the entire group will assemble in a Zoom Room for selected presentations and collective discussion of the issues engaged by their decades-spanning project—future possibilities now engaged toward new openings.

  • YouTube videos of Grand Piano TV readings can be found here.
  • Complete sets of The Grand Piano are available from SPD here and from Mode A/This Press here.
  • The Grand Piano website can be reached here.

Since completing The Grand Piano in 2010:

Rae Armantrout published seven books of poetry with Wesleyan UP: Money Shot (2011), Just Saying (2013), Itself (2015), Partly: New and Selected Poems (2016), Wobble (2018), Conjure (2020), and Finalists (2022). In 2018 Wobble was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her poetry appears in Russian translation in the recent anthology Ot "Cher­noi Gori" do "Yazikovo Pisma" (From "Black Mountain" to "Language Writing"; NLO, 2022).

Steve Benson's books include a collaboration with Suzanne Stein, Do Your Own Damn Laundry (gauss.pdf, 2019); a collaboration with the Splatter Trio that includes a CD record­ing, It's a Stool Pigeon Universe (Rastacan Records, 2021); and his self-published poem series As It Happens (2021). What This Is is still forthcoming from Chax Press. His on-line Zoom readings explore real-time opportunities associated with the live video medium.

Carla Harryman has published Cloud Cantata (Pamenar Press, 2022); A Voice to Perform: One Opera/Two Plays (SplitLevel Texts, 2020); Impromptu de Hannah/Hannah Cut In, trans. Abigail Lang (Joca Seria, 2018), Sue in Berlin and Sue á Berlin, trans. Sabine Huynh (Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havre, 2018); Artifact of Hope (Kenning Editions/Ordinance, 2017); W—/M— (SplitLevel Press, 2013); The Wide Road, in collaboration with Lyn Hejinian (Belladonna, 2011); and Open Box, a CD collaboration with composer Jon Ras­kin and the Jon Raskin Quartet (Tzadik, 2012). Her works have been performed nationally and internation­ally and include Occupying Theodor W. Adorno's "Music and New Music": A Re-perform­ance, dOCUMENTA 13 (2012) and Gardener of Stars an Opera, most recently per­formed at Light Box, Detroit, with Jon Raskin, composer, and Tony Torn, director (2018). Her work in translation by Ekaterina Zakharkiv appears in the recent Russian anthology cited above.

Lyn Hejinian is the author of over twenty-five volumes of poetry and critical prose, most recently Tribunal (Omnidawn Books, 2019) and Positions of the Sun (Belladonna, 2019). Allegorical Moments: Call to the Everyday, a volume of essays, due out next year from Wes­leyan UP; and The Proposition, an edition of early, uncollected work, is forthcoming from U Edinburgh P. Other books after The Grand Piano include Oxota: A Short Russian Novel (rev. ed., Wesleyan, 2019); The Unfollow­ing (Omni­dawn, 2016); and The Book of a Thousand Eyes (Omnidawn, 2012). In 2013, Wesleyan issued My Life and My Life in the Nineties. Two of her many collaboratively written works appeared in the decade: Hearing (with Leslie Scalapino; Litmus Press, 2021) and The Wide Road (with Carla Har­ryman; Belladonna, 2011). Her work is featured in the recent Russian anthology, translated by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko and others. She lives in Berkeley with her husband, the musician Larry Ochs.

Tom Mandel's works since 2010 include Some Appearances (2012), Epigrams of Palladas (2012), Letter to Poetry (Chax, 2022), and Simple Syrup (forthcoming 2022). In addition to his career as a poet, Mandel was a technology entrepreneur for more than two decades, helping to pioneer social software & media on the Internet. Mandel has lived in New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. These days he resides in a small town on the Atlantic coast with his wife, the poet Beth Joselow.

Ted Pearson published twelve volumes since 2010, including Extant Glyphs: 1964-1980 (Singing Horse, 2014); An Intermittent Music: 1975-2010 (Chax, 2016); The Coffin Nail Blues (Atelos, 2016); After Hours (Singing Horse, 2016); The Markov Chain (Shearsman, 2017); Trace Elements (Tuumba, 2019); Personal Effects (BlazeVox, 2019); Exit Music (Singing Horse, 2019); Last Date (Singing Horse, 201x); Set Pieces (Spuyten Duyvil, 2020); Durations (Selva Oscura, 2022); and Early Autumn (Chax, forthcoming). He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Bob Perelman's works since 2010 include a collection of critical essays, Modernism the Morning After (U Alabama P, 2016); and new poetry: Jack and Jill in Troy (Roof, 2019). He lives with the artist Francie Shaw in Berkeley. His poetry appears in the recent Russian anthology, translated by Vladimir Feshchenko and others.

Kit Robinson is the author of The Messianic Trees: Selected Poems, 1976–2003 (Adven­tures in Poetry, 2009); Determination (Cuneiform, 2010); A Mammal of Style, with Ted Greenwald (Roof, 2013); Marine Layer (BlazeVOX, 2015); Leaves of Class (Chax, 2017); Thought Balloon (Roof, 2019); and Quarantina (Lavender Ink, 2022). His essays on poetics, art, travel, and music, along with recordings of readings and interviews, are available online at www.kitrobinson.net; his papers are collected at The Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. He lives in Berkeley and plays Cuban tres guitar in the char­anga band Calle Ocho. Translations of his poetry by Ian Probstein appear in the recent Russian anthology.

Ron Silliman left the tech industry after twenty-two years in 2011; since then he has published eleven books of poetry, including translations into Finnish, French, Italian, and Spanish, several sections of a new poetic cycle entitled Universe, and an expanded edition of the collaborative poem Legend (U New Mexico P, 2020). In the past two years, he has published poems in Poetry, The Paris Review, and Fence, among other journals. He is a standing lecturer at U Pennsylvania, where he received the Beltran Family Award for Innovative Teaching, and has been a Kelly Writers House Fellow. His poetry and an essay are translated by Olga Sokolova, Viktor Mazin, and Kyrill Korchagin in the recent Russian anthology.

Barrett Watten has published sections of several long poems since The Grand Piano: "Zone"; "Blue States (After Fearing)"; "Plan B," "Meridian as Archive," and "Notzeit (After Hannah Höch), collected in the forthcoming Zone (1973–2021) from Chax Press. "The Beirut/Hell Remix (After Etel Adnan)" is available as an online pdf from the Guggenheim Museum. Wesleyan UP brought out A Guide to Poetics Journal: Writing in the Expanded Field, 1982–1998 and Poetics Journal Digital Archive, which he co-edited with Lyn Hejinian (2013–15). His key critical essays after 2000 appear in Questions of Poetics: Language Writing and Consequences (U Iowa P, 2016). He presented critical and scholarly work on poetics and visual art at dozens of conferences, national and interna­tion­al, over the last decade. In the Russian anthology, his work is translated by Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, Alexei Parshchikov, Ekaterina Zakharkiv, Aleksandr Skidan, and Gerald Janacek.

Thursday, 11/3

Building Journalistic Brands: From Forbes 30 Under 30 to Tech Reporting

A RealArts@Penn conversation with Alexandra Sternlicht (C'11)

5:00 PM in the Arts Café and on Youtube

hosted by: Anthony DeCurtis
sponsored by: Creative Ventures
REGISTER HERE to attend in person

As of last month, Alexandra Sternlicht is a tech reporter at Fortune where she covers creators, startups and founders. Previously she reported and edited Forbes 30 Under 30 and Forbes Top Creatorsand led the 10,000-person Forbes Under 30 honoree community. In this role she wrote cover stories on the D'Amelios, Miley Cyrus, Gymshark among others and edited 10-plus 30 Under 30 lists. She's also oversaw editorial programming for Under 30 summits around the world and has moderated discussions with Huda Kattan, Tinx, Charli D'Amelio, Amanda Nguyen and others. Alexandra graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pennsylvania in 2016 with honors in English. In her free time she enjoys biking, fluffy dogs and things that pair with ketchup.


Friday, 11/4

Saturday, 11/5

Sunday, 11/6

Monday, 11/7

A meeting of the writers house planning committee

5:00 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, 11/8

Wednesday, 11/9

A Reading by Laynie Browne

from Translation of the Lillies Back into Lists

6:00 PM (ET) in the Arts Cafe and on YouTube

co-sponsored by: The Creative Writing Program
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
Watch: here

Laynie Browne's latest poetry collection, Translation of the Lilies Back into Lists (Wave Books 2022) playfully employs the list poem and delivers poems which evade genre and subvert the quotidian material of daily life. These poems consider elegy, absence and bewilderment while allowing associative logic to make poetic leaps in imagination and mood that belie convention.

Laynie Browne's recent books include a collection of poems, Translation of the Lilies Back into Lists (Wave Books 2022), and the anthology A Forest on Many Stems: Essays on The Poet's Novel (Nightboat, 2021). Forthcoming books include Letters Inscribed in Snow (Tinderbox, 2022) and Apprentice to a Breathing Hand (Omnidawn, 2025). Honors include a Pew Fellowship, the National Poetry Series Award and the Contemporary Poetry Series Award. She teaches and coordinates the MOOC Modern Poetry at University of Pennsylvania.


Thursday, 11/10

Poet Divya Victor

Liu Program

6:00 PM (ET): reading and conversation in the Arts Café and on YouTube

Hosted by: Julia Bloch
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
watch: here

Divya Victor is the author of CURB from Nightboat Books. CURB is the winner of the 2022 PEN America Open Book Award and the winner of the 2022 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. It was also a finalist for the 2022 CLMP Firecracker Award (Poetry). She is also the author of KITH (Fence Books/ Book*hug); Scheingleichheit: Drei Essays(Merve Verlag, trans. Lena Schmidt); NATURAL SUBJECTS (Trembling Pillow), UNSUB (Insert Blanc), THINGS TO DO WITH YOUR MOUTH (Les Figues). Her work has been collected in numerous venues, including BOMB, the New Museum's The Animated Reader, Crux: Journal of Conceptual Writing, The Best American Experimental Writing, POETRY, The Yale Review, American Poetry Review, and boundary2. Her work has been translated into French, German, Spanish, and Czech. She has been a Mark Diamond Research Fellow at the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum, a Riverrun Fellow at the Archive for New Poetry at University of California San Diego, and a Writer in Residence at the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition (L.A.C.E.). Her work has been performed or installed at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA) Los Angeles, The National Gallery of Singapore, the Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibition (L.A.C.E.) and the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). She has been an editor at Jacket2 (United States), Ethos Books (Singapore), Invisible Publishing (Canada) and Book*hug Press (Canada). She is currently an Associate Professor of English and Writing at Michigan State University, where she is the Director of the Creative Writing Program.


Friday, 11/11

Saturday, 11/12

Sunday, 11/13

Monday, 11/14

Tuesday, 11/15

Novelist Jennifer Egan

Friedman Fiction Program

5:00 PM (ET): Reception

6:00 PM (ET): Reading and Conversation

REGISTER HERE to attend in person
watch: here

Photo by Pieter M. van Hattem

Photo by Pieter M. van Hattem

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. She recently completed a term as President of PEN America.


Wednesday, 11/16

A conversation with Dick Polman

The Midterm Elections Are Over. What's Next for America?

Kauders Program

12:00 PM (ET) in the Arts Cafe and on Youtube

REGISTER HERE to attend in person

Dick Polman teaches political journalism at Penn, where he has been the full-time Writer in Residence since 2006. Previously, he was a national political reporter and columnist, as well as a foreign correspondent, for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for nearly three decades. He was also a political columnist at WHYY News for nine years, and currently writes several columns a week at dickpolman.net.

Open Mic Night: Uplifting Trans and Non-Binary Voices

7:30 PM in the Arts Café

Co-hosted by: the Kelly Writers House and the LGBT Center
Sign up to read or attend HERE

Join the Kelly Writers House and the LGBT Center for an open mic night celebrating and uplifting the diverse spectrum of gender experiences! We welcome readings from the trans and non-binary community and anyone with a diverse gender experience — as well as anyone who wants to explore their experiences of gender, whatever those may be. You can read, perform, and present your own work (all genres and mediums welcome!), or you can choose to read a piece from a curated selection of works created by trans and non-binary humans. Sign up to read or attend HERE. (You can also sign up to read during the event).

** Please note: this open mic night is an affirmative and supportive space for those of all backgrounds, identities, and experiences. We ask that you ensure your participation does not include any harmful language or approaches, and that you speak only from your own experiences. Thank you in advance for helping to create this positive space! **

Thursday, 11/17

Blue Stoop Workshop Reading

6:30 PM in the Arts Café and on YouTube

Supported by: the Sachs Program for Arts Innovation
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
Watch: here

Come and join Blue Stoop and friends for a reading and celebration after our free Sachs Grant class offerings. We'll be led by our instructors Ariel Dixon Delgado, Gabriel Ramirez, and Becca Spiegel, alongside Blue Stoop students and friends. A reception with light refreshments will follow.

Friday, 11/18

Saturday, 11/19

Sunday, 11/20

Monday, 11/21

Tuesday, 11/22

Wednesday, 11/23

Thursday, 11/24

Friday, 11/25

Saturday, 11/26

Sunday, 11/27

Monday, 11/28

LIVE at the Writers House

WXPN radio show

6:30 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 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, 11/29

A reading by Mecca Jamilah Sullivan

Author of Big Girl

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

Co-hosted by the Center for Africana Studies and the Kelly Writers House
With additional support from the Creative Writing Program, the Department of English, and the Program in Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies
REGISTER HERE to attend in person
Watch: here

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan (GR'12) is the author of the short story collection Blue Talk and Love (2015), winner of the Judith Markowitz Award for Fiction from Lambda Literary; The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2021); and her highly anticipated debut novel Big Girl (W.W. Norton & Co., 2022), which was longlisted for the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize. Sullivan's fiction explores the intellectual, emotional, and bodily lives of young Black women through voice, music, and hip-hop inflected magical realist techniques. She is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University and lives in Washington, DC.


Wednesday, 11/30

Penn & Pencil Club: a reading

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

REGISTER HERE to attend in person
Watch: here

Drawing from all parts of the University, the Penn & Pencil Club offers employees an opportunity to share their creative writing and receive feedback. There is a wide variety of styles and topics, and members have shared short stories, satire, poems, autobiographical segments, and novels. Come hear a sampling of their newest work, Wednesday, November 30, 6:00 PM. Join the group for refreshments afterward.