Wordsmiths Reading Series (Poetry & Prose)

The Wordsmiths Reading Series is sponsored by the College’s Cultural Programming Committee and the Department of Language and Literature. Events are free, open to the community, and generally held in the Orangery at the College's Newtown Campus. For more information about past and future events, call 215-968-8150.

Li-Young Lee reading with Vida Chu - Friday, September 30, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Zlock Performing Arts Center

Li-Young Lee is the author of four critically acclaimed books of poetry, most recently Behind My Eyes. His earlier collections are Book of My Nights; Rose, winner of the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award from New York University; The City in Which I Love You, the 1990 Lamont Poetry Selection; and a memoir entitled The Winged Seed: A Remembrance, winner of an American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation.  Born in 1957 of Chinese parents in Jakarta, Indonesia, Lee learned early about loss and exile. His great grandfather was China’s first republican President; and his father, a deeply religious Christian, was physician to Communist leader Mao Tse-Tung. After the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Lee’s parents escaped to Indonesia. In 1959, his father, after spending a year as a political prisoner in President Sukarno’s jails, fled Indonesia with his family to escape anti-Chinese sentiment. After a five-year trek through Hong Kong, Macau, and Japan, they settled in the United States in 1964.

Vida Chu grew up in Hong Kong, came to America for college and stayed. Her poems have appeared in Kelsey Review, Princeton Arts Review, U.S.1 Worksheets, US 1 Newspaper, The Literary Review, and The Princeton Magazine.  A book of poems, The Fragrant Harbor, was published by Aldrich Press in 2014.  She also has published children’s stories in Cricket Magazine and Fire and Wings, a children’s book about dragons. 

Richard Blanco with the winners of the Youth LGBT Poetry Competition - Friday, December 2, 2016, 7:30 p.m. Gallagher Room, Rollins Student Center

Richard Blanco, born in Cuba, was President Obama’s 2013 Inaugural Poet. Author of four books of poetry, including Looking for the Gulf Motel, and the memoir The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood, winner of a Lambda Literary award, Blanco will read with the winners of the Rainbow Room and Attic poetry competition for LGBT youth.

“Blanco’s contributions to the fields of poetry and the arts have already paved the path forward for future generations of writers. Richard’s writing will be wonderfully fitting for an Inaugural that will celebrate the strength of the American people and our nation’s great diversity.” —President Barack Obama