Poetry Festival



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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 art form. The weekend includes craft talks, panels, book signings, receptions, open mics, and more. All events are free and open to the public.

The Festival was founded by students and continues as a student-run endeavor, thanks to those who volunteer each year to plan every aspect of the weekend.

2018 Readers

Chen Chen

Chen Chen | Credit: Jess ChenChen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, which won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, the GLCA New Writers Award, and was longlisted for a National Book Award. His work has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, The Best American Poetry, The Best American Nonrequired Reading, and elsewhere. Recently, Poets & Writers magazine featured him as one of “Ten Poets Who Will Change the World.” A Kundiman fellow, he holds an MFA from Syracuse University and is pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing at Texas Tech University.

Tyree Daye

Tyree DayeTyree Daye is a poet from Youngsville, North Carolina. He is winner of the 2017 APR/Honickman First Book Prize for his book, River Hymns. Daye is a 2017 Ruth Lilly Finalist and Cave Canem fellow and longtime member of the editorial staff at Raleigh Review. He received his MFA in poetry from North Carolina State University. Daye’s work has been published in Prairie Schooner, Nashville Review, and has poems in Four Way Review and forthcoming in Ploughshares. Daye recently won the Amy Clampitt Residency for 2018 and The Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award for his poems in the fall 2015 issue.

Rigoberto González

Rigoberto GonzálezRigoberto González is the author of 19 books of poetry and prose, most recently of the memoir What Drowns the Flowers in Your Mouth. His awards include Guggenheim, NEA, NYFA, and USA Rolon fellowships. A contributing editor of Poets & Writers magazine and a columnist for NBC-Latino, he is professor of English at Rutgers-Newark.

Marie Howe

Marie HoweMarie Howe is the author of four volumes of poetry: Magdalene: Poems (W.W. Norton, 2017); The Kingdom of Ordinary Time (W.W. Norton, 2009); What the Living Do (1997); and The Good Thief (1988). She is also the co-editor of a book of essays, In the Company of My Solitude: American Writing from the AIDS Pandemic (1994). Her poems have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Poetry, Agni, Ploughshares, Harvard Review, and The Partisan Review, among others.

Rajiv Mohabir

Rajiv MohabirSelected by Brenda Shaughnessy for the 2014 Intro Prize in Poetry by Four Way Books for his book, The Taxidermist's Cut (spring 2016), Rajiv Mohabir's first collection is a finalist for the 2017 Lambda Literary Award in Gay Poetry. He received fellowships from Voices of Our Nation's Artist foundation, Kundiman, The Home School (where he was the Kundiman Fellow), and the American Institute of Indian Studies language program. His second manuscript, The Cowherd’s Son, won the 2015 Kundiman Prize (Tupelo Press in May 2017). He was also awarded a 2015 PEN/Heim Translation Fund Grant for his translation of Lalbihari Sharma’s Holi Songs of Demerara, published originally in 1916. His translations of this text is forthcoming from Kaya Press in 2018.

Angel Nafis

Angel NafisAngel Nafis is the author of BlackGirl Mansion (Red Beard Press/New School Poetics, 2012). She earned her BA at Hunter College and is an MFA candidate in poetry at Warren Wilson College. Her work has appeared in The BreakBeat Poets Anthology, Buzzfeed Reader, Poetry, and elsewhere. Nafis is the recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, The Millay Colony, the Poetry Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Founder and curator of the Greenlight Bookstore Poetry Salon, she is also half of the ODES FOR YOU TOUR with poet, musician, and visual artist Shira Erlichman and with poet Morgan Parker, she runs The Other Black Girl Collective.

Nia & Ness

Nia & NessNia & Ness are a black, lesbian, dancer-poet performance art duo based in Brooklyn, NY. The duo met in 2013 and founded their company in 2016. They have performed at multiple venues in New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania, sharing their work that aims at a deeper understanding of their co-reality through intense investigation of their individual identities. They have also been highlighted in local newspapers; been featured in a 2017 BRIC TV segment, were in a 2017 mini-documentary based on their work and relationship for The Advocate and on Radio Free Brooklyn; performed at New York University, Bard College, Center of Performance Research, Brooklyn Pride 2017, Judson Memorial Church, and more; they were recipients of the BAX Summer 2017 Space Grant; have worked with the Sadie Nash Summer Institute and were the winners of the 2017 National Women’s Music Festival Emerging Artist Contest.

D. Nurkse

D. NurkseD. Nurkse is the author of numerous collections of poetry, including The Rules of Paradise (2001), The Fall (2003), and The Border Kingdom (2008). His parents escaped Nazi Europe during World War II—his Estonian father worked for the League of Nations in Vienna, his mother was an artist—and moved to New York. Nurkse’s family moved back to live in Europe for a number of years, returning to the United States around the time of the Vietnam War. Nurkse lives in New York and has been named poet laureate of Brooklyn.

D. A. Powell

D. A. PowellD. A. Powell’s books include Repast (Graywolf, 2014) and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (Graywolf, 2012), which received the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry. His honors
include fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation, two Pushcart Prizes, the
Shelley Memorial Award, and the Kingsley-Tufts Prize. A former Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard University, Powell has taught at Columbia University, Stanford, UT-Austin, the Iowa Writers Workshop, and Davidson College. He lives in San Francisco and teaches full time at the University of San Francisco.

Patrick Rosal

Patrick RosalPatrick Rosal is the author of Brooklyn Antedeluvian, his fourth book of poetry, which was a finalist for the Kingsley Tufts Award and winner of the Academy of American Poets Lenore Marshall Prize. His writing has appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, Best American Poetry, and many other journals and anthologies. He has received fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Scholars Program, and the National Endowment for the Arts. He holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is an associate professor in the MFA program at Rutgers University-Camden.

Nicole Sealey

Nicole SealeyBorn in St. Thomas, USVI and raised in Apopka, Florida, Nicole Sealey is the author of Ordinary Beast and The Animal After Whom Other Animals Are Named, winner of the 2015 Drinking Gourd Chapbook Poetry Prize. Her other honors include an Elizabeth George Foundation Grant, the Stanley Kunitz Memorial Prize from The American Poetry Review, a Daniel Varoujan Award, and the Poetry International Prize, as well as fellowships from CantoMundo, Cave Canem, MacDowell Colony, and the Poetry Project. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and elsewhere. Nicole holds an MLA in Africana Studies from the University of South Florida and an MFA in creative writing from New York University. She is the executive director at Cave Canem Foundation, Inc.

Mai Der Vang

Mai Der VangMai Der Vang is the author of Afterland (Graywolf Press, 2017), winner of the 2016 Walt Whitman Award from the Academy of American Poets, longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award in Poetry, and a finalist for the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. She is the recipient of a Lannan Literary Fellowship and currently serves as a Visiting Writer at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Past Readers (Prior to 2018)

Past readers include:

  • Kim Addonizio
  • Kazim Ali
  • David Baker
  • J. Mae Barizo
  • Catherine Barnett
  • Ellen Bass
  • Joshua Bennett
  • Caroline Bergvall
  • Mei-Mei Berssenbrugge
  • Mark Bibbins
  • Frank Bidart
  • Christian Bok
  • Ed Bok Lee
  • Laure-Anne Bosselaar
  • Lucie Brock-Broido
  • Joel Brouwer
  • Jericho Brown
  • Kurt Brown
  • Ellen Bryant Voigt
  • Tina Chang
  • Justin Chin
  • Heather Christle
  • Henri Cole
  • Brendan Constantine
  • Mark Conway
  • Matt Cook
  • Eduardo Corral
  • Victor Hernandez Cruz
  • Cynthia Cruz
  • Olena Kalytiak Davis
  • Monica de la Torre
  • Matthew Dickman
  • Michael Dickman
  • Stephen Dobyns
  • Timothy Donnelly
  • Mark Doty
  • Sean Thomas Dougherty
  • Rita Dove
  • Stephen Dunn
  • Cornelius Eady
  • Russell Edson
  • Thomas Sayers Ellis
  • Lynn Emanuel
  • Shira Erlichman
  • Tarfia Faizullah
  • Monica Ferrell
  • Farrah Field
  • Nikky Finney
  • Nick Flynn
  • Sage Francis
  • Vievee Francis
  • Sarah Gambito
  • Suzanne Gardinier
  • Alan Gilbert
  • Aracelis Girmay
  • Regan Good
  • Johanes Gorranson
  • Jorie Graham
  • Linda Gregg
  • Rachel Eliza Griffiths
  • Paul Guest
  • Marilyn Hacker
  • Kimiko Hahn
  • Jeffrey Harrison
  • Matthea Harvey
  • Terrance Hayes
  • Bob Hicok
  • Brenda Hillman
  • Edward Hirsch
  • Tony Hoagland
  • James Hoch
  • Cathy Park Hong
  • Susan Howe
  • Gary Jackson
  • Major Jackson
  • Kate Knapp Johnson
  • Ilya Kaminsky
  • Douglas Kearney
  • Galway Kinnell
  • Michael Klein
  • Jennifer Knox
  • Yusef Komunyakaa
  • Suji Kwock Kim
  • Joan Larkin
  • Dorothea Lasky
  • Rickey Laurentiis
  • Dorianne Laux
  • Li-Young Lee
  • Paul Legault
  • Alex Lemon
  • Ben Lerner
  • Phillip Levine
  • Robin Coste Lewis
  • Thomas Lux
  • Sarah Manguso
  • Maurice Manning
  • Charles Martin
  • Dawn Lundy Martin
  • David Tomas Martinez
  • Cate Marvin
  • Jamaal May
  • Bernadette Mayer
  • Jeffrey McDaniel
  • Rachel McKibbens
  • Joyelle McSweeney
  • Erika Meitner
  • Sarah Messer
  • Joseph Millar
  • Anais Mitchell
  • K. Silem Mohammad
  • Aja Monet
  • Valzhyna Mort
  • Paul Muldoon
  • Eileen Myles
  • Maria Negroni
  • Hoa Nguyen
  • Sharon Olds
  • Ron Padgett
  • Carl Phillips
  • Kevin Pilkington
  • Vanessa Place
  • Marie Ponsot
  • Lynne Procope
  • Khadijah Queen
  • Claudia Rankine
  • Matt Rasmussen
  • Skirkanth Reddy
  • Victoria Redel
  • Martha Rhodes
  • Matthew Rohrer
  • Mary Ruefle
  • Tomaz Salamun
  • Sonia Sanchez
  • Jon Sands
  • sam sax
  • Thomas Sayers Ellis
  • Robin Beth Schaer
  • Zachary Schomburg
  • Tim Seibles
  • Vijay Seshadri
  • Brenda Shaughnessy
  • Evie Shockley
  • Richard Siken
  • Tom Sleigh
  • Patricia Smith
  • Tracy K. Smith
  • Gerald Stern
  • Mary Stone Dockery
  • Mark Strand
  • Mathias Svalina
  • Larissa Szporluk
  • James Tate
  • Edwin Torres
  • Jean Valentine
  • Ocean Vuong
  • G.C. Waldrep
  • John Whitworth
  • Dara Wier
  • Joshua Marie Wilkinson
  • C.K. Williams
  • Eleanor Wilner
  • Rebecca Wolff
  • Mark Wunderlich
  • Mark Yakich
  • Monica Youn
  • Matthew Zapruder
  • Rachel Zucker