For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development


PHILADELPHIA, October 1, 2017—The Free Library of Philadelphia is pleased to present the 22nd season of its Monday Poets Reading Series, taking place on the first Monday of every month, October 2017 through April 2018. The series showcases a variety of talented local and regional poets. Readings are moderated by poet and performing artist Lamont Dixon and take place from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Room 108 of the Parkway Central Library, 1901 Vine Street. Copies of the featured poets' books may be available for cash purchase after the reading. Time permitting, a short open-mic session may follow the readings.

The Monday Poets Reading Series will feature the following events:

James Matthew Wilson and Ryan Wilson ¦ October 2, 2017

James Matthew Wilson has published seven books, including three volumes of poetry: Four Verse Letters, The Violent and the Fallen, and, most recently, Some Permanent Things. His book on the contemporary crisis and ancient philosophy of poetry, The Fortunes of Poetry in an Age of Unmaking, has garnered extensive critical praises.  He has also published a new study of metaphysics and aesthetics, The Vision of the Soul: Truth, Goodness, and Beauty in the Western Tradition. He is an associate professor of philosophical theology and literature at Villanova University.

Ryan Wilson’s work appears in periodicals such as First Things, Five Points, The Hopkins Review, The New Criterion, The Sewanee Review, and The Yale Review. His first book, The Stranger World, won the 2017 Donald Justice Poetry Prize and was published by Measure Press. Currently the editor of Literary Matters, he teaches at The Catholic University of America. 


Beth Feldman Brandt and Fiona Sze-Lorrain ¦November 6, 2017

Beth Feldman Brandt is a poet and performer whose work on the page and stage explores diverse topics, from 16th-century herbal remedies to dating before the internet. Most recently, she wrote and performed in RetroLove with jazz collaborator Monnette Sudler.

Fiona Sze-Lorrain is a poet, literary translator, and zheng harpist who writes and translates in English, French, and Chinese. Her third poetry collection, The Ruined Elegance (Princeton University Press), was was chosen by Library Journal as one of the Best Books 2015: Poetry. Her latest translation, contemporary Chinese poet-scenographer Yi Lu’s Sea Summit (Milkweed), is shortlisted for the Best Translated Book Award. Also the author of two previous titles, My Funeral Gondola and Water the Moon, she lives in Paris.


Andrew Nurkin and TBD ¦ December 4, 2017

Andrew Nurkin’s poems have appeared in The Believer, North American Review, Los Angeles Review, Massachusetts Review, FIELD, Iron Horse Literary Review, and elsewhere. He holds his MFA in poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts and was a 2016 Mid Atlantic Arts Fellow at the Millay Colony for the Arts. He currently serves as Deputy Director for Enrichment and Civic Engagement at the Free Library of Philadelphia.


Philadelphia Poets Laureate ¦January 8, 2018
An evening of poetry with the 2018–2019 Philadelphia Poet Laureate, to be announced in December 2017, and Husnaa Hashim, the current Youth Poet Laureate. Now housed at the Free Library, the Philadelphia Poet Laureate program celebrates poetry’s vital civic role in our city and the power of poetry to create community.


Yolanda Wisher and Lamont Dixon ¦ February 5, 2018

Yolanda Wisher is the current Poet Laureate of Philadelphia. The author of Monk Eats an Afro, Wisher performs a unique blend of poetry and song with her band The Afroeaters. She is currently working on her second book of poems, a recording of original songs, and a collection of essays.

Lamont Dixon is a poet, teacher, and performance artist. He has been published in African Voices, Phylaxis, New Poet's Revolution, and Essence Magazine. He has received the Phylaxis Society's Award and the John G. Lewis Medal. He is once again our season’s moderator.


Catherine Staples and Ernest Hilbert ¦ March 5, 2018

Catherine Staples is the author of The Rattling Window and Never a Note Forfeit. Her poems and reviews have appeared in Poetry, Kenyon Review, Gettysburg Review, The Southern Review, and The Massachusetts Review. Honors include the McGovern Prize, a fellowship from Sewanee Writers Conference, and a residency from the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Annaghmakerrig, Ireland. She teaches in the English and Honors programs at Villanova University. 

Ernest Hilbert is the author of three books of poetry: Sixty Sonnets, All of You on the Good Earth, and Caligulan, which was selected as winner of the 2017 Poets’ Prize. He lives in Philadelphia, where he works as a rare-book dealer and writes about books for The Washington Post.

Olga Dugan and Amy Baron ¦ April 9, 2018

Olga Dugan is a past fellow of Cave Canem—a foundation aimed at cultivating the artistic and professional growth of African American poets—and current Lindback Professor of English at Community College of Philadelphia. Her award-winning poems appear or are forthcoming in Typehouse Literary Magazine, Kweli, The Southern Quarterly, Pirene’s Fountain, Tipton Poetry Journal, and Scribble. Scholarly research for a book Olga’s writing on Natasha Trethewey, U.S. Poet Laureate (2012–2014), has recently appeared in The Journal of African American History and Emory University’s MARBL Series “Following the Fellows.”

Amy Barone’s new poetry collection, We Became Summer, from New York Quarterly Books, will be released in 2018. Her chapbooks are Kamikaze Dance (Finishing Line Press) and Views from the Driveway (Foothills Publishing). Her poetry has appeared in Gradiva, Standpoint (UK), Paterson Literary Review, Philadelphia Poets and Sensitive Skin, among other publications. Originally from Bryn Mawr, PA, Amy now lives in New York City.

For additional information, please call the Parkway Central Library Literature Department at 215-686-5402.

# # #

The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and The Rosenbach, advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi; and rich special collections, including those at Parkway Central Library and at The Rosenbach of the Free Library of Philadelphia. The combined holdings of these renowned collections—which include hundreds of thousands of rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera—inspire unique exhibitions and programs throughout the year. With more than 6 million in-person and millions more online visits annually, the Free Library and The Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.


Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850