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is a curated series of poetry readings and writing workshops held at Da Vinci Art Alliance, six times a year. Both the readings and writing workshops will work thematically centering themselves on exhibitions happening at DVAA. The reading series will invite Philadelphia based poets to read work responding to the exhibitions in the gallery while the writing workshops aim to be both challenging and fun giving both novice, and seasoned poets and those interested in exploring the writing of poetry a place to write in a supportive environment.

Readings and writing workshops will alternate every other month. The poetry readings are free while the writing workshops will require a fee --- $10 premium member, $15 general member, $20 public

Poets on Whitman (Thursday, June 13th, 7-8:30pm)

Four poets will read their own works and discuss the importance of Whitman and his work on their own artistic practice. Poetry reading coincides with the exhibition Encounters with Whitman, which is part of Philadelphia’s yearlong celebration of the bicentennial of the birth of the poet.

Jim Cory’s most recent publications are Birds & Buildings (2019, Moonstone Press, Philadelphia), Wipers Float In The Neck Of The Reservoir (2018, The Moron Channel, New Orleans) and 25 Short Poems(2016, Moonstone Press, Philadelphia). He has edited poetry selections by contemporary American poets including James Broughton (Packing Up for Paradise, 1998, Black Sparrow Press) and Jonathan Williams (Jubilant Thicket, 2005, Copper Canyon Press). Poems have appeared recently in Apiary, unarmed journal, Bedfellows, Cape Cod Poetry Journal, Capsule, Fell Swoop, Painted Bride Quarterly, Read On 2 (Australia), Skidrow Penthouse, Trinity Review (Canada) and Whirlwind. Recent essays include “What makes a queen a queen?” in the Gay & Lesbian Review, “Fascinating Asshole (or) How I Came To Love Frank Sinatra” in New Haven Review, and ‘Where’s the hotboy going tonight?” in Chelsea Station. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the Pennsylvania Arts Council, Yaddo and The MacDowell Colony.

M. Nzadi Keita’s most recent collection, Brief Evidence of Heaven, sheds light on Anna Murray Douglass, Frederick Douglass’s first wife. Publications including Poet Lore journal and The Ringing Ear: Black Poets Lean South have featured her work. She won a 2017 Pew Fellowship in the Arts for Poetry. The Leeway Foundation, Fine Arts Work Center, and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts have also supported her projects. As an associate professor at Ursinus College, Keita teaches creative writing, American literature, and Africana Studies.

Shirmina Smith is a published writer, spoken word and teaching artist, activist, and event curator born and raised in Philadelphia, PA. She is a two time Philly Youth Poetry Movement slam team member, competing at Brave New Voices International Poetry Competition in 2016 and 2017. As an advocate for children, Shirmina is a kindergarten after school program group leader, seasonal library assistant in the Field Teen Center of The Free Library of Philadelphia Central Branch, a youth yoga instructor, and doula-in-training. Shirmina has performed and taught at numerous schools, workshops and venues across the states including the War Memorial Opera House in San Francisco, CA, Busboy and Poets in Washington D.C., and The National Women’s Conference in 2018. Shirmina is also the co-founder and member of Your Favorite Jawns Artist Collective.

Ruja Ballard is an activist, writer, performer and teaching artist from Philadelphia. She’s spoken at several events all across the globe including the Youth In Action Conference in Nairobi Kenya, Brave New Voices international poetry competition, Philadelphia Museum of Art, The National Immigrant Integration Conference 2018, and is co founder of YourFavoriteJawns poetry collective. Through her art she expresses her experiences as a young black queer woman fighting against queerphobia, sexism, and racial injustices. Ruja hopes to empower, educate, and inspire creativity in those battling the conditions that threaten the livelihood of our community.


Writing Workshop (Sunday, August 11th, 10am - 12 noon )
This poetry writing workshop will focus on the members exhibition Stilled Life and will offer participants the opportunity to reflect, respond to, and write about the work in the exhibition. This workshop’s focus will be in exploring the work of imagist poets and working within the framework set by the movement’s founding poets. No prior writing experience is needed, just an interest in exploring the writing of poems based on the principles of imagism through the work presented in the exhibition.