The Power of Poetry with Porsha Olayiwola, Danielle Legros George, Chen Chen, and Dara Weir

April is National Poetry Month and what better way to celebrate than with a panel discussion with Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola, former Boston Poet Laureate Danielle Legros George, Brandeis Visiting Poet-in-Residence Chen Chen, and UMass Amherst MFA Program Director Dara Weir. They will discuss diversity in contemporary poetry and how poets use their art form to respond to the world around them.

Join GBH, in collaboration with Mass Poetry, for a LIVE conversation with our panel of local poets. They will take your questions live, talk about their approaches to poetry and the narrative aspects of their work.

A general admission ticket ($25) includes access to the Zoom webinar discussion and a special digital collection of curated poems from the panel. Registrants will receive the collection by April 1, leaving plenty of time to enjoy the poems that will be discussed as part of the event.

If poetry is your passion and you want to support GBH at the same time, please consider our Poetry Bundle ticket ($100) that also includes the printed collections of each poet featured at the event. Quantities are limited and delivery may take several weeks.

Do not hesitate—register now for what is sure to be an educational and inspiring discussion.

Black, futurist, poet, dyke, hip-hop feminist, womanist: Porsha Olayiwola is a native of Chicago who now resides in Boston. Olayiwola is a writer, performer, educator and curator who uses afro-futurism and surrealism to examine historical and current issues in the Black, woman, and queer diasporas. She is an Individual World Poetry Slam Champion and the artistic director at MassLEAP, a literary youth organization. Olayiwola is an MFA Candidate at Emerson College. Porsha Olayiwola is the author of i shimmer sometimes, too forthcoming with Button Poetry and is the current poet laureate for the city of Boston.

Danielle Legros Georges is a writer, translator, academic, and author of several books of poetry including The Dear Remote Nearness of You, winner of the New England Poetry Club’s Sheila Margaret Motten book prize. She is a professor in and director of the Lesley University MFA program in Creative Writing, and taught in the Joiner Institute for the Study of War and Social Consequences Writer’s Workshop, at the University of Massachusetts, Boston for more than a decade. Her awards include fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Boston Foundation, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. The Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition recognized her civic work with a Champion of Artists Award in 2017. She was appointed the second Poet Laureate of the city of Boston, serving in the role from 2015 to 2019. Her most recent work is a book of translations from the French, Island Heart: The Poems of Ida Faubert, published by Subpress Collective in 2021.

Chen Chen is the author of When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities, which was longlisted for the National Book Award and won the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, the GLCA New Writers Award, and the Thom Gunn Award for Gay Poetry. The collection was also a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry and named one of the best of 2017 by The Brooklyn Rail, Entropy, Library Journal, and others. His work has appeared in many publications, including Poetry, Tin House, Poem-a-Day, The Best American Poetry, Bettering American Poetry, and The Best American Nonrequired Reading. Chen earned his MFA from Syracuse University and is pursuing a PhD in English and Creative Writing as an off-site Texas Tech University student. He lives in frequently snowy Rochester, NY with his partner, Jeff Gilbert and their pug dog, Mr. Rupert Giles. Chen is the 2018-2020 Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence at Brandeis University.

Dara Wier is the author of nine collections of poetry. She teaches at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. The Harvard Review describes Wier's poems this way: "many of Weir's stanzas draw a reader away from a recognizable world into one in which women waltz with bears, houseflies chat with colonels, and the absence of sound makes a material presence." Her most recent book is Reverse Rapture (2005), published by Verse Press.

Special thanks to our event partners: Mass Poetry and the City of Boston