For Immediate Release

Poetry Foundation & McSweeney’s Present Kwame Dawes, Mary Karr, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Smith, and Rachel Zucker

October 2, 2007

CHICAGO —The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and, and McSweeney’s announce a reading with poets Kwame Dawes, Mary Karr, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Smith, and Rachel Zucker.

What: Poetry reading with Kwame Dawes, Mary Karr, Yusef Komunyakaa, Patricia Smith, and Rachel Zucker
When: Wednesday, October 24, 7:00 p.m.
Where: Housing Works Bookstore Café, 126 Crosby St, New York City

Admission is free. A book signing will follow the reading.
For more information, visit

In addition to reading from their own work, the poets will be invited to share with the audience the best poem they have read in the past year. Complimentary Poetry magazines and tote bags will be given to attendees.

Kwame Dawes was born in Ghana in 1962 and spent most of his childhood in Jamaica. He is profoundly influenced by the rhythms and textures of that lush place, citing in a recent interview his “spiritual, intellectual, and emotional engagement with reggae music.” His book Bob Marley: Lyrical Genius remains the most authoritative study of Marley’s lyrics. His 12th book of poems is Impossible Flying. He is also the author of a new novel, She’s Gone, and the nonfiction work A Far Cry from Plymouth Rock: A Personal Narrative.

Mary Karr’s fourth book of poems is Sinners Welcome. Her memoirs are The Liars’ Club and Cherry, both national bestsellers. She is currently writing her third memoir, entitled Lit.

Yusef Komunyakaa’s poems are rooted in his experiences as an African American growing up in rural Louisiana and his service in the Vietnam War. Influenced by the jazz music he loves as well as by people’s everyday speech, his poetry has won the Pulitzer Prize, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, and other awards.

Patricia Smith is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Teahouse of the Almighty. She is also the author of the critically acclaimed history Africans in America and the award-winning children’s book Janna and the Kings, is a four-time individual champion on the National Poetry Slam, and has been a featured poet on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam.

Rachel Zucker is the author of three books: Eating in the Underworld, The Last Clear Narrative, and The Bad Wife Handbook. Along with poet Arielle Greenberg, she is editing Efforts and Affections: Women Poets on Mentorship.


About the Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine and one of the largest literary organizations in the world, exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience. The Poetry Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry through innovative literary prizes and programs. For more information, please visit

About McSweeney’s
McSweeney’s Book of Poets Picking Poets is McSweeney’s first foray into contemporary poetry, bringing together one hundred poems by fifty poets in “poetry-chains.” Ten poets choose a poem of their own and a poem by another poet, who then does the same, and so on unto the fifth generation. David Berman leads to Charles Simic by way of James Tate, and other chains run through Mary Karr, Denis Johnson, C.D. Wright, Michael Ondaatje, John Ashbery, Dean Young, Yusef Komunyakaa, and dozens more.

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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