PEN America Presents: Worker Writers School 10th Anniversary Celebration & Book Release

Join Pen America on International Workers Day, May 1, 2021, as they celebrate 10 years of partnership between PEN America and the Worker Writers School. In collaboration with Kenning Editions and Pilsen Community Books, they will be launching Coronavirus Haiku, the first anthology to come out of our longest-running writing program.

Mark Nowak, a writer and founding director of the Worker Writers School, presents a selection of haikus written by “frontline workers” during the COVID-19 crisis. The poets included here have been studying examples of the haiku as a literary form and its connection to political resistance from 17th-century Japan to the Black Arts Movement of the 20th century, as well as its capacity to amplify voices of everyday life.

These “coronavirus haikus” convey moments of protest, solace, wonder, certainty, love, and strife. The writers in this anthology hail from the school’s worker center partners in New York City, including Domestic Workers UnitedNew York Taxi Workers AllianceDamayan Migrant Workers AssociationThe Street Vendor Project, and Retail Action ProjectThomas BarzeyKerl BrooksEstabon ChimilioNimfa DespabiladerasLorraine GarnettDavidson GarrettSeth GoldmanChristine LewisDoreen McGillAlando McIntyreKelebohile NkhereanyeAlfreda Small, and Paloma Zapata.

Presented in collaboration with Kenning Editions and Pilsen Community Books, with support from the Vilcek Foundation.

This event is part of the 2021 PEN World Voices Festival of International Literature. Visit to learn more and get tickets for other events.