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Hard Hat Reading Series

In August 2021, Poets House at 10 River Terrace suffered a major flood.

While we rebuild, we invite you to check out the ongoing Hard Hat Reading Series, featuring poetry readings by members of the Poets House community.

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Jenny Sadre-Orafai

Essayist, poet, and professor Jenny Sadre-Orafai reads from Kiki Petrosino’s Witch Wife, and her own new book Dear Outsiders.

Paul Hlava Ceballos—poet and former Poets House Fellow—reads from Divia Victor’s Curb, and three poems from his own recent book banana [ ].

Mai Serhan

Writer and editor Mai Serhan reads Emily Berry’s “A Short Guide to Corseting” and an epistolary poem from her chapbook Cairo: the undelivered letters.

Regie Cabico—poet, theater artist, and arts educator—reads a love poem from Drew Pisarra’s Infinity Standing Up, and his own love poems “Arboretum” and “Missing the Whitney Biennial Reading.”

Rachel James—poet, artist and audio documentarian—reads from Valerie Hsiung’s To Love an Artist, and her own new book An Eros Encyclopedia.

Mervyn Taylor

Poet and teacher Mervyn Taylor reads “The Season of Phantasmal Peace” by Derek Walcott and his own poems “The Mentor” and “Donde Estés” in memory of Derek Walcott.

Ellen Bass

Award-winning poet and editor Ellen Bass reads her late mentor Florence Howe’s “Seven Rooms” and her own poem dedicated to Howe, “Lightning Streak of White.”


Kaveh Akbar

Poet and scholar Kaveh Akbar recites and discusses “I came to you” by Jean Valentine, and his own poem “Reading Farrokhzad in a Pandemic” from his recent book Pilgrim Bell.

Asiya Wadud

Writer, poet, essayist, and teacher Asiya Wadud reads from Inger Christensen’s Alphabet, and her own poem “L” from the collection No Knowledge Is Complete Until It Passes Through My Body.

Poet, diplomat, and Beltway Editions co-publisher Indran Amirthanayagam reads “The Center of the World” by Mervyn Taylor and poems from his own collections The Splintered Face and Ten Thousand Steps Against the Tyrant.

Donna Masini Hard Hat Reading

Award-winning poet, novelist and educator Donna Masini reads “Roman Poem Number Thirteen” by her mentor June Jordan and new poems of her own from a forthcoming collection.

Hard Hat Reading: Allison Adelle Hedge Coke 

Poet and editor Allison Adelle Hedge Coke reads work by Brandy Nālani McDougall and poems from several of her own books, including 2022 National Book Awards finalist Look at This Blue.

Timothy Liu in a hard hat

Poet and educator Timothy Liu reads “Those New York City Pigeons” by Jayne Cortez and two poems from his own recent book Let It Ride.

Poet and writer Megan Fernandes reads poems from Good Boys and her forthcoming collection I Do Everything I’m Told, plus “the blackness of the hole” by Dutch poet Radna Fabias.

Montata Ray Hard Hat Reading

Montana Ray—poet, translator, and former Poets House Fellow—reads Ocean Vuong’s “Essay on Craft” and shares her own concrete poem from her book (guns and butter).

Poet and translator Sharon Dolin reads from her award-winning translation, Late to the House of Words: Selected Poems of Gemma Gorga; Jean Valentine’s Door in the Mountain; and her own books Manual for Living and the forthcoming Imperfect Present.

Hard Hat Reading with Chen Chen

Chen Chen–poet, essayist, and teacher–reads Marilyn Chin’s “Summer Sleep (after Meng Haoran)” and his own poem “Summer” from his forthcoming book Your Emergency Contact Has Experienced an Emergency.

Adeeba Shahid Talukder

Poet, singer, and translator Adeeba Shahid Talukder reads “Homage to Faiz Ahmed Faiz” by Agha Shahid Ali, work from her book Shahr-e-jaanaan: The City of the Beloved, and new poems inspired by Ali and Faiz.

Estha Weiner

Watch as poet and professor Estha Weiner reads “Mingus at the Showplace” by William Matthews and her poem “WHEN THEY WERE KINGS” from her first collection Transfiguration Begins at Home.

Gaia Rajan Hard Hat Reading

Join poet and Poets House Intern Gaia Rajan as she reads “Conversion” by Megan Fernandes and the title poem of her second chapbook, Killing It, forthcoming in September from Black Lawrence Press.

Myra Shapiro—poet, educator, and Poets House Board Member—recites her late mentor Robert Bly’s “The Black Hen” and her own poem “Qué Dulce” from her new collection When the World Walks Toward You.

Patricia Spears Jones

Drawing inspiration from her 1995 Poets House Showcase reading, poet, educator, and activist Patricia Spears Jones reads from her first collection, The Weather That Kills, and from The Only World by the late Lynda Hull.

Poet Rosebud Ben-Oni reads Dorothy Chan’s “Hello Baby, Hello Sir” and her own poem “The Songs We Know Not to Talk Over” from her award-winning book If This Is the Age We End Discovery.

Martha Rhodes Hard Hat Reading

Watch Martha Rhodes, poet and co-founder of Four Way Books, read Nathan McClain’s “Fire Destroys Beloved Chicago Bakery” and a new poem of her own.

José Olivarez Hard Hat Reading

José Olivarez—poet, performer, educator, and former Poets House Emerging Poets Fellow—reads Manuel Paul López’s poem “There Is a Hole in My Living Room” and his own poem “Ode to Cheese Fries” from his book Citizen Illegal.

Hard Hat reading with Kimiko Hahn

Poet and distinguished professor Kimiko Hahn reads from Meena Alexander’s Night-Scene, The Garden and her own newest book Foreign Bodies, amidst the construction at Poets House.

Laure-Anne Bosselaar—award-winning poet, translator, and educator—reads Lee Briccetti’s “Distance,” from Blue Guide, and her own poem “On a Bench by the Hudson,” from her collection A New Hunger.

Naomi Shihab Nye Hard Hat Reading

Naomi Shihab Nye—prolific author, editor, and Young People’s Poet Laureate—reads her mentor William Stafford’s “A Bird Inside a Box” and two recent poems of her own.

Poet and teaching artist Shyanne Figueroa Bennett reads from Aracelis Girmay’s book the black maria and shares her own recent poem “LAKE GATÚN,” first published in Issue Six of Oversound.

Watch Bob Holman—poet, filmmaker, and founder of the Bowery Poetry Club—as he reads June Jordan’s “Financial Planning” and his own poem “We Are the Dinosaur” from his book The Collect Call of the Wild.

Watch former U.S. Poet Laureate and Pulitzer Prize-winning Tracy K. Smith present Jericho Brown’s “After Avery R. Young” and her own “Found Poem” from her recent book Such Color.

Interim Director Cornelius Eady—poet, musician, and educator—performs Lucille Clifton’s “blessing the boats” and his own poem “The Ghost, The Mountain” from his book Hardheaded Weather.

Hard Hat reading with Monica Youn

Kick off the Hard Hat Reading series with Monica Youn—poet, educator, and Poets House Board Member—as she reads from A Woman’s Mourning Song by bell hooks and her own recent book Blackacre.

Meet Interim Director Cornelius Eady—poet, musician, and co-founder of Cave Canem—for a virtual hard hat tour around the Poets House space. This tour marks the launch of our Under Construction blog.