Open Door Reading Series: Viola Lee, Jen Steele, Helene Achanzar & Hinisha Malone (Online)

Clockwise from top left: Viola Lee, courtesy of artist; Jennifer Steele, courtesy of artist; Helene Achanzar by Adam Jason Cohen; Hinisha Malone, courtesy of artist

Join us for a live virtual reading with Viola Lee, Jen Steele, Helene Achanzar, and Hinisha Malone. 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 writers and two of their current or recent students or writing partners.

Viola Lee (she/her/hers) is a graduate of NYU with an MFA in Poetry, and the author of Lightening after the Echo, published by Another New Calligraphy. Lee’s work has been published in or is forthcoming from Bellevue Literary ReviewLiterary MamaHong Kong ReviewCrosswinds Poetry JournalBarrow Street, and Crazyhorse, among others. She lives in Chicago with her husband, son, and daughter. She teaches first-, second- and third-graders at Near North Montessori School.

Jennifer Steele (she/her/hers) is from Middletown, CT, and has called Chicago her home for the last 15 years. Steele is a Howard University alum, and received her MFA in Poetry from Columbia College Chicago; she is also an alum of Callaloo, the Poetry Incubator, and Ragdale. She is the author of the chapbook A House In Its Hunger (Central Square Press, 2018), the Executive Director of 826CHI, a writing and publishing center amplifying the voices and stories of Chicago’s youth, and was featured in NewCity’s 2020 Lit50. She is the inaugural recipient of the 2019 Lucille Clifton Creative Parent Award from Raising Mothers Magazine, and her work is forthcoming and has appeared in Hypertext ReviewPittsburgh Poetry ReviewAnother Chicago MagazineCallaloo, and Columbia Poetry Review, among others. She is working on a full-length collection of poetry entitled, Belt, and developing a collection of creative nonfiction.

Helene Achanzar (she/her/hers) is a Filipina Canadian poet and educator whose writing can be found in or is forthcoming from jubilatNew England Review, Georgia Review, and elsewhere. She is an Associate Editor for Poetry Northwest, the Midwest Regional Chair for Kundiman, and the Director of Programs at the Chicago Poetry Center.

Hinisha Malone (she/her/hers) is a sophomore at Michele Clark who a year and a half ago could never picture herself writing any poetry, let alone performing any that she created. Over time, poetry has become a passion, as it puts her thoughts to life. She has learned to find herself and become more open minded to trying new things instead of limiting herself. Her inspiration comes from nature & society— two things that’ll never die if we all put love into it. “Put love onto nature, nature will put love onto you.”

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.