Poets & Writers Live

Poets & Writers Live is a new initiative developed in response to interviews and discussions with writers from all over the country. When we asked what Poets & Writers could do to support their writing practice, time and again writers expressed a desire for a more tangible connection to other writers. So, we came up with a living, breathing version of what Poets & Writers already offers: Poets & Writers Live.

Next Event

Join us for a day-long event at Chicago's Instituto Cervantes as we explore the writer's journey to publication. This exciting program will offer advice, panel discussions, and conversation with authors, agents, editors, publicists, critics, and other publishing professionals. Check back soon for complete details.

Past Events

The fourth Poets & Writers Live event was held on January 10, 2015, at San Francisco's Brava Theater Center. The program featured a "poetry keynote" by Pulitzer Prize–winner and former U.S. poet laureate Kay Ryan, a discussion with authors and publishing professionals about resources for writers in San Francisco; a roundtable on smart self-publishing options; an interactive panel discussion on the Perfect Pitch in which we invited three audience members to join an agent, two editors, and a publicist on stage; a conversation with award-winning poets and writers about why we write; a "quarrel" between David Shields and Caleb Powell over the age-old debate of life vs. art; a multigenre, multimedia “inspiration experiment” featuring acclaimed author Joyce Carol Oates; and much more.

What They're Saying

  • I loved the range of writers and their voices, the range of community networkers and literary supports, the community in all its variety and diversity.

    San Francisco: Inspiration audience member

  • Kay Ryan was amazing!

    San Francisco: Inspiration audience member

  • I found every panel wonderful, filled with sage advice and friendly, inclusive direction.

    San Francisco: Inspiration audience member

  • I learned a lot and I'm happy that I attended the event.

    Washington, D.C.: Independent Publishing audience member

  • I thought it was fabulous. The registration fee was a steal—and the professionalism of the panelists was excellent.

    Washington, D.C.: Independent Publishing audience member

  • Great dynamics among panel members! Good, candid insight into the murky publishing process.

    New York City: Agents audience member

  • Frank Bidart was amazing. He sustained an emotional energy that was very inspiring.

    New York City: Agents audience member

  • Satisfied? I was like a kid in a candy store!

    New York City: Agents audience member

  • It was an excellent way to bring some of the Poets & Writers articles and knowledge to life. I enjoyed it and eagerly await the next live event!

    Los Angeles: Inspiration audience member

  • Just being in the company of other writers—professional, published writers as well as those who are exploring—is motivating.

    Los Angeles: Inspiration audience member

Videos

Resources for Writers and the Role of Community: San Francisco 2015

Posted 2.18.15

Jamie Asaye FitzGerald, director of Poets & Writers’ Readings & Workshops (West), leads a discussion about resources available to writers in San Francisco, the importance of community, and how various literary communities can support one another. Panelists include Stacey Lewis of City Lights Books, Laura Moriarty of Small Press Distribution, Joyce Jenkins of Poetry Flash, Janis Cooke Newman of the Grotto, and Jason Bayani of Kearny Street Workshop.

Photos

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.0

Former United States poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize–winner Kay Ryan reads a selection of her work during her poetry keynote address at Poets & Writers Live on January 10, 2015.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.1

The Resources for Writers in San Francisco and the Role of Community panelists, from left: Jamie Fitzgerald of Poets & Writers, Stacey Lewis of City Lights Books, Laura Moriarty of Small Press Distribution, Joyce Jenkins of Poetry Flash, Janis Cooke Newman of the Grotto, and Jason Bayani of Kearny Street Workshop.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.2

Joyce Jenkins of Poetry Flash (left) talks about the role of community for writers in San Francisco with Janis Cooke Newman of the Grotto.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.3

Jason Bayani of Kearny Street Workshop (right) talks about the importance of being engaged in a writing community and building relationships by attending reading series and other events.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.4

The Savvy Self-Publisher panelists, from left: moderator Debra Englander, publicist Amy Packard, and literary agent Ted Weinstein.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.5

Literary agent Ted Weinstein (right) talks about the rewards and challenges of self-publishing with publicist Amy Packard (left).

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.6

An audience members asks a question during the Savvy Self-Publisher panel at Poets & Writers Live in San Francisco.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.7

Debra Englander, a freelance editor, writing coach, and former editorial director at John Wiley & Sons, discusses self-publishing at Poets & Writers Live on January 10, 2015.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.8

The Perfect Pitch panelists, from left: Kevin Larimer of Poets & Writers, literary agent Danielle Svetcov, Ethan Nosowsky of Graywolf Press, Jordan Bass of McSweeney's Publishing, and publicist Megan Fishmann of Counterpoint Press.

San Francisco: Inspiration 1.9

Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers, introduces the Perfect Pitch panel, during which an agent and other publishing professionals critiqued query letters written by members of the audience.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.0

Audience member and writer Georgia Kolias reads her query letter as part of the Perfect Pitch Panel. 

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.1

Ethan Nosowsky, editorial director at Graywolf Press, responds to a query letter written by Gerogia Kolias during the Perfect Pitch Panel.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.2

Publicist Megan Fishman (left) and writer and Poets & Writers Live audience member Georgia Kolias, whose query letter is projected behind them, share a light moment during the Perfect Pitch Panel.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.3

Writer and Poets & Writers Live audience member Richard Slota (far left) responds to feedback from the Perfect Pitch panelists.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.4

Writer and Poets & Writers Live audience member Michael Karpa reads his query letter on stage during the Perfect Pitch Panel.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.5

Caleb Powell (left) and David Shields, coauthors of I Think You're Totally Wrong: A Quarrel (Knopf, 2015), discuss preconceived divisions between reality and fiction, life and art, following a screening of the film adaptation of the book by James Franco.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.6

Caleb Powell (left) and David Shields, coauthors of I Think You're Totally Wrong: A Quarrel (Knopf, 2015), engage in some intellectual sparring at Poets & Writers Live on January 10, 2015.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.7

An audience member asks a question during the quarrel between David Shields and Caleb Powell.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.8

The Why We Write panel takes center stage at the Poets & Writers Live event in San Francisco.

San Francisco: Inspiration 2.9

Why We Write panelists, from left: Melissa Faliveno, Wendy Lesser, Yiyun Li, Alejandro Murguía, D. A. Powell, and Michelle Tea.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.0

Wendy Lesser (left) and Yiyun Li discuss the personal and professional reasons for doing what they do during the Why We Write panel.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.1

Poet D. A. Powell (center) talks about his reasons for writing during the Why We Write panel on January 10, 2015.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.2

Joyce Carol Oates reads her poem "Too Young to Marry but Not Too Young to Die" as part of the Insipration Experiment at San Francisco's Brava Theater Center.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.3

Novelist and singer-songwriter Ben Arthur performs an original song inspired by Joyce Carol Oates's poem "Too Young to Marry but Not Too Young to Die" as part of the Inspiration Experiment.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.4

Sarah Fiske performs a dance inspired by Joyce Carol Oates's poem "Too Young to Marry but Not Too Young to Die" as part of the Inspiration Experiment.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.5

Artwork by Roman Muradov, inspired by a poem by Joyce Carol Oates, is projected behind Sarah Fiske as she performs her dance inspired by the same poem.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.6

Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers, talks with Joyce Carol Oates following the Inspiration Experiment.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.7

Nick Twemlow (right) talks about his short film "As the Sky Shifts Overhead," with Sarah Fiske during a conversation following the Inspiration Experiment.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.8

Artist Roman Muradov (right) discusses the experience of creating art inspired by a poem, with filmmaker Nick Twemlow, during a conversation following the Inspiration Experiment.

San Francisco: Inspiration 3.9

Sarah Fiske talks about her dance interpretation of a Joyce Carol Oates poem during a discussion following the Inspiration Experiment.

San Francisco: Inspiration 4.0

Artist Roman Muradov chats with audience members during the wine reception following Poets & Writers Live in San Francisco on January 10, 2015.

Indie Publishing 1

Elliot Figman, executive director of Poets & Writers, Inc., welcomes audience members to Poets & Writers Live and introduces Bonnie Marcus, director of the Readings & Workshops Program (East).

Indie Publishing 10

From left: Jeffrey Blount, Anna Sproul-Latimer, and Debra Englander talk with audience members following the Savvy Self-Publisher panel.

Indie Publishing 11

Poets & Writers Magazine associate editor Melissa Faliveno introduces the Indie Editor Roundtable.

Indie Publishing 12

Andy Hunter, the publisher of Black Balloon Publishing, speaks about the relationships that small-press editors cultivate with their authors.

Indie Publishing 13

Robert Giron of Gival Press speaks about independent publishing at the Library of Congress on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 14

An audience member reacts to comments made during the Indie Editor Roundtable.

Indie Publishing 15

Kathleen Wheaton of Washington Writers' Publishing House listens to questions from the audience during the Indie Editor Roundtable.

Indie Publishing 16

Audience members listen to the advice and insight of editors and authors at Poets & Writers Live in Washington, D.C.

Indie Publishing 17

Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers, poses a question to panelists during the Authors & Editors Roundtable.

Indie Publishing 18

Jeff Shotts (left), executive editor of Graywolf Press, speaks about the author-editor relationship with poet Jeffrey Yang, who is also an editor at New Directions.

Indie Publishing 19

Chuck Adams (left), executive editor at Algonquin Books, talks about working with Amy Rowland, author of the novel The Transcriptionist.

Indie Publishing 2

Sarah Browning, executive director of Split This Rock: Poetry of Provocation & Witness, speaks about resources available to writers in Washington, D.C.

Indie Publishing 20

Amy Rowland, author of the novel The Transcriptionist, discusses independent publishing at the Library of Congress on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 21

Poet Jeffrey Yang, who is also an editor at New Directions and New York Review Books, participates in the Editors & Authors Roundtable at the Library of Congress on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 22

Jeff Shotts, executive editor of Graywolf Press, answers a question during the Editors & Authors Roundtable.

Indie Publishing 23

Featured author Charles D'Ambrosio reads from his new collection of essays, Loitering: New and Collected Essays, at Poets & Writers Live in Washington, D.C.

Indie Publishing 24

Audience members listen to panelists discuss independent publishing at Poets & Writers Live in Washington, D.C.

Indie Publishing 25

Audience members listen and take notes at the Library of Congress on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 26

Debut novelist Amy Rowland (left) speaks with an audience member during the literary mixer at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Indie Publishing 27

Poets & Writers Live attendees enjoy wine and conversation during the Literary Mixer at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Indie Publishing 28

Poets & Writers Live participants mingle during the Literary Mixer on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 29

Robert Giron, founder of Gival Press, chats with an audience member during the reception at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

Indie Publishing 3

Carlos Parada Ayala, the author of the poetry book La luz de la tormenta/The Light of the Storm (Zozobra Publishing, 2013) and coeditor of the anthology Al pie de la Casa Blanca: Poetas hispanos de Washington, D.C. (North American Academy of the Spanish Language, 2010), speaks about the importance of community in a writer's life.

Indie Publishing 30

Self-published author Jeffrey Blount (left), Poets & Writers executive director Elliot Figman (center), and an audience member enjoy conversation at the Folger Shakespeare Library on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 31

Author Charles D'Ambrosio speaks with an audience member after his featured reading at Poets & Writers Live.

Indie Publishing 32

Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers (left), speaks with Kelly Forsythe, director of publicity at Copper Canyon Press, at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Indie Publishing 33

Poets & Writers Live attendees chat during the reception at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, D.C.

Indie Publishing 34

Poets & Writers Live attendees share a laugh at the Literary Mixer on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 4

Audience members take notes during the third Poets & Writers Live event, held at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 5

Three-time National Poetry Slam champion Regie Cabico talks about how various writing communities can support one another in the Washington, D.C. area.

Indie Publishing 6

Poets & Writers Magazine contributor Debra Englander gives an overview of self-publishing options at the Library of Congress on October 25, 2014.

Indie Publishing 7

Self-published author Jeffrey Blount (left) answers a question from an audience member as bookseller Bradley Graham of Politics & Prose listens as part of The Savvy Self-Publisher panel.

Indie Publishing 8

Literary agent Anna Sproul-Latimer speaks about the opportunities available to independent authors as well as the challenges they face.

Indie Publishing 9

Participants enjoy coffee, fruit, and pastries during a break at the Poets & Writers Live event on October 25, 2014, at the Library of Congress.

New York City: Literary Agents 1
Credit: Christy Whitney

Agents & Authors moderator Jofie Ferrari-Adler (far left) with panelists Michelle Tessler, Yelena Akhtiorskaya, Jim Rutman, and Mira Jacob.

New York City: Literary Agents 2
Credit: Christy Whitney

Agent Michelle Tessler (center) discusses the author-agent relationship with Simon & Schuster editor Jofie Ferrari-Adler (left) and author Yelena Akhtiorskaya.

New York City: Literary Agents 3
Credit: Christy Whitney

Debut author Yelena Akhtiorskaya (center) discusses the author-agent relationship with agents Michelle Tessler (left) and Jim Rutman. 

New York City: Literary Agents 4
Credit: Christy Whitney

Agent Jim Rutman of Sterling Lord Literistic (center) discusses the author-agent relationship with debut authors Yelena Akhtiorskaya (left) and Mira Jacob.

New York City: Literary Agents 5
Credit: Christy Whitney

Mira Jacob (right), author of the debut novel The Sleepwalker's Guide to Dancing, discusses the author-agent relationship with agent Jim Rutman.

New York City: Literary Agents 6
Credit: Christy Whitney

Simon & Schuster editor Jofie Ferrari-Adler, who moderated the Agents & Authors panel with agents Michelle Tessler and Jim Rutman and debut authors Yelena Akhtiorskaya and Mira Jacob.

New York City: Literary Agents 7
Credit: Christy Whitney

Audience members listen to advice from literary agents during the Poets & Writers Live event on June 21, 2014, in New York City.

New York City: Literary Agents 8
Credit: Christy Whitney

Audience members listen to advice from literary agents during the Poets & Writers Live event on June 21, 2014, in New York City.

New York City: Literary Agents 9
Credit: Christy Whitney

Poet Edward Hirsch (left) talks about writing with fiction writer Tayari Jones during the Why We Write panel at the Poets & Writers Live event on June 21, 2014, in New York City.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.1
Credit: Christy Whitney

Fiction writer Tayari Jones (center) talks about why we write with poet Edward Hirsch (left) and fiction writer Victor LaValle.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.2
Credit: Christy Whitney

Fiction writer Victor LaValle (center) talks about why we write with moderator Kevin Larimer (far left), poet Edward Hirsch, and fiction writers Tayari Jones, Roxana Robinson, and Tiphanie Yanique.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.3
Credit: Christy Whitney

Tiphanie Yanique (right), author of the novel Land of Love and Drowning, talks about why she writes with novelist Roxana Robinson.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.4
Credit: Christy Whitney

Novelist Roxana Robinson (left) talks with audience members following the panel on Why We Write at the Poets & Writers Live event on June 21, 2014.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.5
Credit: Christy Whitney

Poet Edward Hirsch (right) speaks with an audience member following the Why We Write panel at the Poets & Writers Live event on June 21, 2014.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.6
Credit: Christy Whitney

Kevin Larimer, editor in chief of Poets & Writers, introduces poet Frank Bidart at the Poets & Writers Live event on June 21, 2014.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.7
Credit: Christy Whitney

Poet Frank Bidart reads from his collection Metaphysical Dog at the Poets & Writers Live event on June 21, 2014.

New York City: Literary Agents 9.8
Credit: Christy Whitney

Poet Frank Bidart (left) and novelist William Giraldi field questions from the audience during a Q&A session following Bidart's poetry reading on June 21, 2014.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 1
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Featured reader Dani Shapiro talks with an audience member following the inaugural Poets & Writers Live event in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 2
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Panelist Rick Lupert talks about opportunities for writers in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 3
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Panelist Ron Carlson talks about why he writes.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 4
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Audience members talk during a break.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 5
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Panelist Ron Carlson (left) talks with featured reader Dani Shapiro.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 6
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Panelist Traci Kato-Kiriyama talks about opportunities for writers in Los Angeles.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 7
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Why We Write panelists (from left) Ron Carlson, Harryette Mullen, Charles Yu, and Meghan Daum.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 8
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Featured reader Dani Shapiro, author most recently of Still Reading: The Pleasures and Perils of a Creative Life.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Audience members talk during a break.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.1
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Opportunities in LA panelists Traci Kato-Kiriyama (left) and Lauren Humphrey.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.2
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Why We Write panelist Meghan Daum (right) talks with an audience member.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.3
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Featured reader Dani Shapiro.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.4
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Poets & Writers managing director Melissa Ford Gradel (right) talks with an audience member.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.5
Credit: Stephanie Diani

From left: poet Harryette Mullen, Poets & Writers editor in chief Kevin Larimer, and fiction writer Charles Yu.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.6
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Why We Write panelist Charles Yu (left) talks with Opportunities in LA panelist Traci Kato-Kiriyama.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.7
Credit: Stephanie Diani

From left: former director of Poets & Writers’ California office and Readings/Workshops (West) Cheryl Klein with Opportunities in LA panelists Traci Kato-Kiriyama, Lauren Humphrey, Rick Lupert, and Terry Wolverton.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.8
Credit: Stephanie Diani

Why We Write panelist Harryette Mullen.

Los Angeles: Inspiration 9.9
Credit: Stephanie Diani

The inaugural Poets & Writers Live event was held at the literary arts center Beyond Baroque in Los Angeles.

Audio

Publishing veteran Debra Englander gives an overview of the self-publishing process, followed by a conversation with literary agent Ted Weinstein—who represents Keith Devlin, NPR's Math Guy and author of numerous traditionally published books as well as the self-published title Leonardo and Steve: The Young Genius Who Beat Apple to Market by 800 Years—and publicist Amy Packard about the opportunities available to independent authors as well as the challenges they face.