Open Door Reading Series: Natasha Mijares, Henry Feller, Jason Vasser-Elong & Roderick James Jr. (Online)

Join us for a live virtual reading with Natasha Mijares, Henry Feller, Jason Vasser-Elong, and Roderick James Jr. The Open Door series presents work from new and emerging poets and highlights writing instruction and poetic partnerships. Each event features readings by two Midwest based writers and two of their current or recent students or writing partners.

Natasha Mijares is an artist, writer, curator, and educator. Her debut collection of poetry, violent wave, is forthcoming from PANK Books. She received her MFA in Writing from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has exhibited at various international and national galleries. Her work has appeared in Gravity of the Thing, Hypertext Review, Calamity, Vinyl Poetry, and more.

Henry Feller is a soon-to-be senior at Jones College Prep in the South Loop. After living in the Wicker Park/Bucktown area for seventeen years, Henry has cultivated a strong love for Chicago’s natural poetic nature, which he finds both soaking up sun in Holstein Park and trudging through the snow from the CTA bus stop. Henry is a self-admitted science enthusiast, and is very open about his identity as a transgender and queer youth. His work appears in 826CHI’s Let Us Keep What We Love, and will appear in later compendiums.

Jason Vasser-Elong is a writer who earned a master of fine arts degree in creative writing from the University of Missouri – St. Louis (UM-St. Louis) after studying cultural anthropology and presenting his ethnographic research Rhyme and Reason: Poetics as Societal Dialogue. Jason’s research focus was African Diaspora Studies and his peer reviewed essay “Treading the Atlantic” appears in the special edition of the Canadian Journal of Netherlandic Studies – special issue on "Netherlandic Migrations: Narratives from North America". This essay was presented at the Canadian Association for the Advancement of Netherlandic Studies conference as an introduction to the keynote lecture on post-colonial memory. 

Jason’s debut collection of poetry Shrimp (2Leaf Press, 2018), analyses identity in a post-colonial context. His poetry and visual art are featured in the St. Louis American “Black St. Louis artists explore generations of racial trauma and how joy heals” by Andrea Y. Henderson. And as in his essay, published in The St. Louis –Post Dispatch “From kente cloth to shrimp: symbols tell powerful stories”. Jason will return to UM – St. Louis in the fall as a doctoral student in the college of education. More about him and his work can be found on his website and on social media.

Poetry Foundation's events are completely free of charge and open to the public. This reading will include live captioning and ASL interpretation. If you require any other accessibility measures, please contact us by emailing [email protected]. To find out more about Zoom’s own built-in accessibility features, please visit

A Zoom link will be provided to Eventbrite registrants the day of the event.
Register here.