Poetry Festival



Media Inquiries

April 24-26, 2020

Since 2003, the Sarah Lawrence College Poetry Festival has presented emerging and established poets from across the country alongside current Sarah Lawrence undergraduate and graduate student readers. Our mission is to bring a wide array of contemporary poetic voices to campus, and to celebrate the vibrancy and essentiality of the art form. The weekend is centered on creating community with visiting poets, students, and residents of the greater New York City area, and facilitating access to educational resources for writers of all ages and backgrounds. The event will offer readings, craft talks, generative workshops, multimedia programming, and shared meals.

This event is free and open to the public. We welcome all community members to join us in celebration. For updates, schedule announcements, and fundraising event information, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

This Year's Lineup

Rosebud Ben-Oni

Rosebud Ben-Oni is the winner of the 2019 Alice James Award for If This Is the Age We End Discovery, forthcoming in 2021, and the author of turn around, BRXGHT XYXS (Get Fresh Books, 2019). She is a recipient of fellowships from NYFA and CantoMundo. Her poem “Poet Wresting with Angels in the Dark” was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City, and published by The Kenyon Review Online.

Reginald Dwayne Betts

Reginald Dwayne Betts is a poet, essayist, and national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice. He writes and lectures about the impact of mass incarceration on American society. He is the author of three collections of poetry; Felon (W.W. Norton), Bastards of the Reagan Era (Stahlecker Selections, 2015) and Shahid Reads His Own Palm (Alice James Books, 2010). His memoir, A Question of Freedom, was published in 2009. A graduate of Yale Law School, he lives in New Haven, Connecticut, with his wife and their two sons.

Photo: Mamadi Doumbouya

Cynthia Cruz

Cynthia Cruz is the author of five collections of poems: How the End Begins, Wunderkammer, The Glimmering Room, and Ruin. Her fifth collection of poems, Dregs, was published in September of 2018. Her sixth, Guidebooks for the Dead, is forthcoming in spring of 2020 by Four Way Books. Steady Diet of Nothing, her first novella, is also forthcoming from Four Way Books. Disquieting:Essays on Silence, a collection of critical essays, was published by Book*hug in spring of 2019 and her second collection of critical essays, The Melancholia of Class, is forthcoming from Repeater Books in 2021. She teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the MFA Writing Program at Columbia University.

Cornelius Eady

Poet/playwright/songwriter Cornelius Eady was born in Rochester, New York in 1954, and is the author of several poetry collections including Victims of the Latest Dance Craze, winner of the 1985 Lamont Prize, and Brutal Imagination. He is co-founder of the Cave Canem Foundation, and is Professor of English at SUNY Stony Brook Southampton.

Shira Erlichman

Shira Erlichman is a poet, musician, and visual artist. She's been awarded the James Merrill Fellowship by the Vermont Studio Center, the Visions of Wellbeing Focus Fellowship at AIR Serenbe, as well as a residency by the Millay Colony, and her work has been featured in PBS NewsHour’s Poetry Series, The Huffington Post, The Seattle Times, and The New York Times, among others. Her debut poetry book, Odes to Lithium, came out in September 2019 on the heels of her children's book, Be/Hold: A Friendship Book. When not on tour, she lives in Brooklyn where she teaches writing and creates.

Photo: Hieu Minh Nguyen

Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is an artist whose visual and literary works have appeared widely, including in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, Tin House, American Poetry Review, and many others. A Cave Canem and Kimbilio Fellow, she is the recipient of fellowships including Rober Rauschenberg Foundation and Yaddo. Her forthcoming collection, Seeing the Body, will be published by W.W. Norton in 2020.

John Murillo

John Murillo is the author of the poetry collections, Up Jump the Boogie (Cypher 2010, Four Way Books 2020), finalist for both the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Pen Open Book Award, and Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books 2020). His honors include two Larry Neal Writers Awards, a Pushcart Prize, the J Howard and Barbara MJ Wood Prize from the Poetry Foundation, and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Cave Canem Foundation, and the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing. Recent poems have appeared, or are forthcoming, in such journals as American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Best American Poetry 2017 and 2019. He is an assistant professor of English at Wesleyan University and also teaches in the low residency MFA program at Sierra Nevada College.

Roger Reeves

Roger Reeves is an associate professor of poetry and 2015 Whiting Award winner whose poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, The Nation, The Believer, Ploughshares, and elsewhere. His awards include two Pushcart Prizes, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, a Whiting Award in Poetry, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship among others. His first book is King Me, and Reeves is currently an Associate Professor of Poetry at the University of Texas at Austin.

Photo: Beowulf Sheehan

Paul Tran

Paul Tran is the recipient of the Ruth Lilly & Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation and the Discovery/Boston Review Poetry Prize. Their work appears in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, and elsewhere, including the Netflix movie Love Beats Rhymes with Azealia Banks, Common, and Jill Scott. They are the Senior Poetry Fellow in The Writing Program at Washington University in St. Louis and Poetry Editor at The Offing Magazine, which won a Whiting Literary Magazine Award from the Whiting Foundation.

Afaa M. Weaver

Afaa M. Weaver’s most recent collections are City of Eternal Spring (UPitt 2014) and Spirit Boxing (UPitt 2017). His recent awards include the 2019 Distinguished Artist Award from the Botolph Club Foundation, and also in 2019 the 96th Art & Literature Medal from the Chinese Writers and Artists Association of Taiwan.

Photo: Cat Laine

Rachel Zucker

Rachel Zucker is the author of ten books, most recently, SoundMachine (Wave Books, 2019). She is the founder and host of the podcast Commonplace and teaches poetry as an adjunct at New York University.

Cornelius Eady Trio

National Book Award winner and Pulitzer prize nominated poet Cornelius Eady has set his poetry to song with the Cornelius Eady Trio. Eady's songs tell the story of passing time, the Black American experience and the blues in the style of Folk & Americana music. Guitarists Charlie Rauh & Lisa Liu join Eady to create layered and graceful arrangements to bolster Eady's adept craftsmanship as a songwriter, lyricist, & poet. Cornelius Eady Trio has performed at Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, AWP ConferencePeabody Essex Museum, and Hill-Stead Museum and recorded at Sun Studio in Memphis, TN.