November 25, 2022

Pennsylvania Center for the Book Announces 2018 Public Poetry Project


UNIVERSITY PARK, PA – Four poets from Pennsylvania have been chosen to represent the 2018 Pennsylvania Center for the Book Public Poetry Poster Series. Jen Ashburn, Thomas Devaney, Dawn Lundy Martin and Marci Nelligan have been selected to read their work as part of “An Evening of Pennsylvania Poets: Readings in Celebration of the Public Poetry Project” at 7 pm on Wednesday March 28th. The 18th annual event will be held at Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on the campus of University Park at Penn State.

During the event, the readings of the four poets will be followed by a signing session for posters and books. This year’s posters will be designed by Nathan Valchar of University Libraries and available for free at the event. Posters from the Public Poetry Project will also be distributed to bookstores, cafes and businesses in Pennsylvania, and in September at the National Book Festival, an annual event in Washington, DC, hosted and sponsored by the Library of Congress.

Jen Ashburn is a writer, teacher, and technology analyst in Pittsburgh. She received her MA in Creative Poetry and Non-Fiction from Chatham University. His work has appeared in “Unconditional Surrender: An Anthology of Love Poems,” published by Low Ghost Press in 2017, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and elsewhere. “The Light on the Wall,” published by Main Street Rag in 2016, is his first comprehensive book of poetry.

Thomas Devaney is Visiting Professor of English at Haverford College and author of four books of poetry, including “Calamity Jane”, published by Furniture Press Books in 2014, and “The Picture that Remains”, published by The Print Center in 2014. He is also the editor of the electronic video poetry journal, ONandOnScreen.

Dawn Lundy Martin is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics (CAAPP), which she co-founded with 2006 Public Poetry Project poet Terrance Hayes. Martin is an activist and author of four books of poetry, including “Good Stock Strange Blood,” published by Coffee House Press in 2017.

Marci Nelligan teaches creative writing at Franklin & Marshall College, Lancaster and is the author of two collections of poetry, “The Ghost Manada”, published by Black Radish Books in 2016, and “Infinite Variations”, published by Black Radish Book in 2011. She co-edited “Intersection,” published by Chain Links Books in 2008, a book on activist Jane Jacobs, and published two collections of poetry.

Launched in 1999 by the late Kim Fisher, the Paterno family’s first literature librarian, the Public Poetry Project seeks to make poetry more accessible in the daily lives of Pennsylvanians by placing poems in public places. Posters of the winning poems are produced, and since 2000, more than 70 Pennsylvania-related poets by birth or long-term residence have had their work displayed as part of this series.

The project is under the direction of Ellysa Stern Cahoy, Deputy Director, and Caroline Wermuth, Outreach Coordinator, for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book, and is supported by Paterno Family Librarian for Literature, William S. Brockman; university libraries; the English Department of the College of Liberal Arts; and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book, established in 1977 at the Library of Congress, encourages the citizens and residents of Pennsylvania to study, honor, celebrate and promote books, reading, libraries and l literacy. In addition to the Public Poetry Project, it also administers the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize, Poems from Life, Letters about Literature; A dozen bakers: the best children’s books for family literacy; and the Pennsylvania Literary and Cultural Heritage Interactive Map.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s Public Poetry Project, contact Caroline Wermuth at [email protected], 814-863-5472 or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website, www.pabook.libraries.psu .edu.