Ongoing series programming

Writers House programming depends in part on the energy and hard work of writing activists who manage ongoing series. Graduate students in the English Department organize "Emergency," a series that showcases young and emerging poets. An undergraduate curator heads the "Brodsky Gallery," a project that explores the relationships between the visual and literary arts. Our Faculty Director Al Filreis invites three eminent writers each spring for the Kelly Writers House Fellows Program, a unique opportunity for Penn students and others to interact with famous authors in our intimate setting. We chronicle as much of this activity as possible on our website. Follow links below to find photos, digital sound files, event descriptions, as well as news about upcoming events.

Alumni Visitors Series

A number of accomplished alumni—poets, fiction writers, editors, screenwriters, and journalists—generously lend their wisdom and experience to Penn's current students each semester. These illustrious graduates visit the Writers House to do readings, run workshops, and lead discussions about everything from children's books to contemporary screenwriting. Alumni also work with students after they've left campus, providing advice and guidance to like-minded students via connections we've forged through Writers House.

Applebaum Editors and Publishers Series

Many of our Hub members are the founders and coordinators of publications, the curators of blog projects, the editors and designers of zines and chapbooks, and others hoping to make a career out of ensuring that what gets written still gets read. It is for these students that Irwyn (C’75) and Lucy Applebaum established the Applebaum Editors and Publishers Series, so that we can invite publishers and editors to Writers House for conversations about the business and art of publishing.

Bok Visiting Writers Series

Through a generous endowment gift from Penn alumni Scott (C'81, W'81, L'84) and Roxanne Bok, we are able to invite a remarkable range of writers to the House, year after year. The Bok Visiting Writers Fund allows us to think across literary boundaries and to support and encourage the full breadth of contemporary writing, from translation to digital poetry. Check out our featured visitors page for a full list of Writers House visitors.

Breaking Through

Curated by Simone White, the Breaking Through series features poets on the verge of publishing their first books for conversations about poetics, influence, and the future of poetry.

Brodsky Gallery

Brodsky Gallery explores the relationships between visual and literary arts by pairing monthly visual art shows with interdisciplinary programming, such as panel discussions between poets and painters, film screenings, and technical demonstrations by artists. To find out about upcoming shows, visit our calendar or email

City Planning Poetics

City Planning Poetics is a semesterly series that invites one or more poets and one or more planners, designers, planning historians or others working in the field of city planning to discuss a particular topic central to their work, to ask each other questions, and to read from their current projects.

Creative Ventures

The Creative Ventures series supports creative collaborations across discipline, emphasizing evolution and innovation, convergence, creative process, and imagination.


EDIT is a roving events series pairing innovative performances with focused critical responses toward an exploration of editorial strategies in contemporary writing and the arts.

Emergency Reading Series

What does it mean to be an emerging poet in America today? Does today's emerging poet face increasing isolation and shrinking audiences, or is a quiet renaissance taking place, one centered around close-knit communities, long-distance mentorships, new media, and chapbook exchange? How are theoretical stances and aesthetic practices transmitted among poets at different stages in their careers? The Emergency Series at Kelly Writers House seeks to answer these questions, highlighting perspectives on the current state of American poetry through the diverse experiences of its practicing poets. By bringing together emerging and established poets for readings and discussions, it aims to create an ongoing dialogue about the role poetic lineage plays in a poet's development, and its impact on the vitality of the craft.

Featured Visitors

The featured visitors who come to the Kelly Writers House are at the core of our program and our community here. Poets, fiction writers, editors, composers, publishers, painters, musicians, literary agents, screenwriters, essayists, playwrights, and journalists: all of these visitors have entered the House. Guests perform from their writing, engage readers in conversation about art and aesthetics, politics and history, offer advice and encouragement to young and emerging writers, and, when we are lucky, join us for dinner. We're grateful to these visitors for their time and their work.


Feminism/s is an interdisciplinary series exploring how art, criticism, political action, and community building can create structural and cultural solutions to gender hierarchies. Feminism/s is a group-curated series. All programs take place at the Kelly Writers House and are free and open to the public.

the Sylvia W. Kauders Lunch Series

Sylvia W. Kauders (CW'42), a regular attendee of our lunchtime programming, established this fund to support a series of intimate programs at the Writers House each semester with writers of nonfiction.

KWH Seminars in Second Life

Alf Fullstop (our Faculty Director, Al Filreis) leads seminars on modernist poetry in Second Life, where we have a gorgeous virtual Kelly Writers House with an Arts Cafe, a living room with a green couch, an upstairs seminar room, and a garden.

LIVE at the Writers House

Every month between September and April, we record LIVE at the Writers House, a one-hour broadcast of poetry, music, and other spoken-word art, produced and hosted by our Program Coordinator Alli Katz, straight from our Arts Café onto the airwaves at WXPN. LIVE is generously supported by BigRoc and boasts an archive of more than sixty episodes. To be a part of a live LIVE audience, email to ask about the next taping or to get on the mailing list. You can also visit the Writers House calendar to view upcoming events.

Multilingual Poetics

The Multilingual Poetics series, created by Ariel Resnikoff, is part of an ambitious effort to mitigate the gap between poetics and multilingualism in the literary community where scholarliness often focuses too much on being rooted in one language, one persuit, and one culture. The series brings people together in a physical space that allows for productive conversation and thinking on the broad topic that is "multilingualism" in ways that may not have existed before.

Povich Journalism Programs

In 2011 Maury Povich (C’62) and his wife Connie Chung established an extraordinary fund that will support all journalism programs and events at the Writers House forever. The Povich Fund for Journalism Programs at the Kelly Writers House allows us to explore the full range of journalistic writing through active and engaging programming: lunches in our Arts Cafe with working journalists, informal meetings between students and rock critics, and political insight from Washington insiders.

Speakeasy: poetry, prose, and anything goes

Speakeasy is a longstanding student-run open mic night, founded in 1997 by Adam Kaufmann (C'00), Courtney Zoffness (C'00), and Emily Cohen (C'00). Every other Wednesday throughout the school year, the lights in the Arts Cafe dim and the volume goes up as students, community members, and friends read, recite, chant, or sing through the night to an always-bustling crowd. All kinds of performance are welcome (by high school students, undergrads, slam artists and singer-songwriters). Watch for special events throughout the year: an annual Halloween-themed "Spookeasy" and a speakeasy-themed "Speakeasy" draw big crowds. Get on the Speakeasy mailing list by emailing

Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program

The Eva & Leo Sussman Poetry Program honors the memory of Eva and Leo Sussman — beloved grandparents of Daniel Morse — with an annual poetry program. Eva and Leo valued arts, culture, and education; between working shifts to support his family, Leo wrote poems. Their daughter Naomi — Dan’s mother — was herself a reader, writer, poet, and painter. The program translates the Sussman/Morse family’s deep and indelible commitment to arts and culture into an opportunity for the entire Writers House community to experience the work of contemporary poets.


Theorizing is an interdisciplinary lecture series organized by graduate students in Penn's Program in Comparative Literature and Theory. The Theorizing series highlights current methods of cultural analysis and criticism by inviting guest speakers to address topics and issues in contemporary critical theory and practice. Each evening is roughly formatted around a 50-minute presentation and a half-hour question-and-answer session followed by informal discussion and refreshments.

Whenever We Feel Like It Series

The Whenever We Feel Like It Reading Series is put on by Committee of Vigilance members Michelle Taransky and Emily Pettit. The Committee of Vigilance is a subdivision of Sleepy Lemur Quality Enterprises, which is the production division of The Meeteetzee Institute.

Writers House Fellows

Since 1999, the Writers House Fellows program has brought some of the most eminent contemporary writers to the Kelly Writers House. Each Fellow spends two days at the Writers House, meeting with undergraduates in the Kelly Writers House Fellows seminar (led by Writers House Faculty Director Al Filreis), giving a public reading, and participating in an interview/conversation which is viewable worldwide. Funded by a generous grant from Paul Kelly (W'62), the Fellows program enables us to realize two unique goals. First, it allows students (many of them writers themselves) to have sustained and substantive contact with authors of great accomplishment in an informal setting. Second, the program makes it possible for us to connect the traditional study of literature, typically the domain of classroom critical analysis, to open, public dialogue with the authors themselves, which actualizes the experience of great writing. Past Writers House Fellows have included Susan Sontag, Robert Creeley, June Jordan, David Sedaris, Donald Hall, E.L. Doctorow, Richard Ford, Jamaica Kincaid, Grace Paley and Art Spiegelman.

Writers without Borders

Writers Without Borders features writers from around the world whose fiction, drama, poetry, memoir, journalism, and performance art demand an international - and, what's more, a globally minded - readership and response. Through this ongoing series, Penn's provost, Ron Daniels, has challenged the students and faculty who form the literary community at the Kelly Writers House to bring to the intimate cottage at 3805 Locust writers whose voices -- whether because of regional unrest, cultural turmoil, aesthetic misunderstanding, the difficulty of travel, problems of translation, etc. -- have not been much heard here.