Reading Series 2019/20

Reading Series 2019/20

Tommy Freeman Celebration Reading

"To Live this life is a victory in itself" — A Celebration of Tommy Freeman's Life 

Date: Friday, Sept. 13, 2019 | 7:00 p.m.

Location: Room 120, Center for Architecture and Environmental Design | 132 S Lincoln St., Kent, OH 44240

Join the Wick Poetry Center and the family of Thomas Freeman for a night of celebration and poetry.


Thomas Michael Freeman, ’15, was awarded the prestigious Wick Undergraduate Poetry Scholarship in 2013. Tom was always truly grateful for living and found tremendous happiness in immersing himself in the world and giving of himself to others.


Tom’s brief but epic journey took him from Cuyahoga Falls, across vast swaths of the United States, to Mexico and throughout South America, mostly on foot. During his travels, he was constantly astounded by the natural beauty and magnificence of the world around him, but he was even more astonished at the beauty of the people he met. 


On June 29, 2017, Tom messaged his parents that he was going to head home after spending more than two years away, “I decided I’m keeping on north now, I’m in a little coast town in the Caribbean called Capurgana about to enter Panama. You would love it, unbelievable beaches.” The following morning Tom stepped from a small boat in Puerto Obaldia, Panama on the edge of the Darien jungle and disappeared.

Conversation with Sonia Sanchez

A Conversation with Sonia Sanchez

Date: Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019 | 5:30-6:30 p.m.

Location: Kiva Auditorium 

Sonia Sanchez, the recipient of this year’s Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards Lifetime Achievement Prize, is a poet, playwright, activist and educator. Ms. Sanchez will offer her reflections on how poetry and student activism can bring change around peace and civil rights. This discussion will emphasize how the legacy of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970, impacts these important issues.

Homecoming Open House

Homecoming weekend open house

Date: Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019 | 11:00 a.m-4:00 p.m.

Location: Wick Poetry Center, May Prentice House | 126 S Lincoln St, Kent, OH 44242

Join us in the May Prentice House on Homecoming. We will be there to offer tours, answer questions and talk about our programs. Stop by after the parade. 

Kent Creativity Fest

Kent creativity fest

Date: Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019 | 11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.

Location: Wick Poetry Center, May Prentice House | 126 S Lincoln St, Kent, OH 44242

The Kent community invites you to join us for the second Kent Creativity Festival! This will be an opportunity for people of all ages and skill levels to come together to create, share, and explore the creation of all kinds of art. 

Celebrating Our Own

Celebrating our own & open mic

Date: Thursday, Oct. 3, 2019 | 7:30 p.m.

Location: Wick Poetry Corner, Kent State Library, 2nd floor

Come Celebrate poetry with us by sharing your poems and discovering the new voices around you. The winners of the 2019 Wick Undergraduate Poetry Scholarship will read their poems. 

Global Peace Poem Workshop

Global peace poem workshop & open mic

Date: Tuesday, Nov. 19, 2019 | 6:00 p.m.

Location: Wick Poetry Corner, Kent State Library, 2nd floor

As part of International Education Week, this year when Kent State commemorates the 50th anniversary of May 4, 1970, the Wick Poetry Center invites community members to contribute their voices to a Global Peace Poem. The Global Peace Poem builds meaningful opportunities for connection and reflections across divisions. Wick Teaching Artists will guide writers in a conversation and writing activity. The resulting lines will be a way to honor and respond to the events of May 4.

Following the workshop, there will be an Open Mic. All are welcome to read or listen. 

Bring your Kent State student ID to receive 300 FLASHperks points!

Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize

The Stan and Tom Wick poetry prize reading featuring Ellen Bass & Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach 

Date: Thursday, December 5, 2019 | 7:30 p.m.

Location: Room 120, Center for Architecture and Environmental Design | 132 S Lincoln St., Kent, OH 44240

Julia Kolchinsky Dasbach came to the United States as a Jewish refugee in 1993, from Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine, and grew up in the DC metro area suburb of Rockville, Maryland. She spent three years in Eugene, earning an MFA in Poetry from the University of Oregon, and is currently back east working towards a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature and Literary Theory at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on contemporary poetry about the Holocaust, with a special focus on atrocity in former Soviet territories. Julia is the author of "The Many Names for Mother," selected by Ellen Bass as the winner of the 2018 Stan and Tom Wick Poetry prize, forthcoming from Kent State University Press in fall of 2019, and "The Bear Who Ate the Stars" (Split Lip Press, 2014). Her poems appear in POETRY, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, and Best New Poets 2018, among others. Julia edits Construction Magazine  and when not busy chasing her 3-year-old around the playgrounds of Philadelphia, Julia writes "Other Women Don't Tell You," a blog about motherhood. 

Ellen Bass is a Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. Her most recent book, "Like a Beggar" (Copper Canyon Press, 2014), was a finalist for The Paterson Poetry Prize, The Publishers Triangle Award, The Milt Kessler Poetry Award, The Lambda Literary Award and the Northern California Book Award. Previous books include "The Human Line" (Copper Canyon Press, 2007) and "Mules of Love" (BOA Editions, 2002) which won The Lambda Literary Award. She co-edited (with Florence Howe) the first major anthology of women’s poetry, "No More Masks!" (Doubleday, 1973). Her non-fiction books include "Free Your Mind: The Book for Gay, Lesbian and Bisexual Youth" (HarperCollins, 1996), "I Never Told Anyone: Writings by Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse" (HarperCollins, 1983) and "The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Child Sexual Abuse" (Harper Collins, 1988, 2008), which has sold over a million copies and has been translated into twelve languages. Ellen founded poetry workshops at Salinas Valley State Prison and the Santa Cruz, CA jails. She currently teaches in the low residency MFA writing program at Pacific University.

Bring your Kent State student ID to receive 300 FLASHperks points!

Kent State School of Music

Sound and Word: Commemorating May 4, 1970, with poetry and music

Date: Tuesday, April 21, 2020 | 7:00 p.m.

Location: Ludwig Recital Hall | Center for the Performing Arts, 1325 Theatre Dr, Kent, OH 44243

Join us for an evening of original student compositions inspired by poems about peace and conflict transformation from around the country in honor of the 50th Commemoration of May 4th, 1970. In collaboration with the Kent State School of Music.

Naomi Shihab Nye Reading

Naomi Shihab Nye reading

Date: Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Location: Kiva Auditorium

Naomi Shihab Nye is the author and/or editor of more than 30 volumes. Her books of poetry include 19 Varieties of Gazelle: Poems of the Middle East (finalist for the National Book Award), A Maze Me: Poems for Girls, Red Suitcase, Words Under the Words, Fuel, and You & Yours. Other works include several prize-winning poetry anthologies for young readers, including Time You Let Me In, This Same Sky, The Space Between Our Footsteps: Poems & Paintings from the Middle East, What Have You Lost?, and Transfer. Her collection of poems for young adults entitled Honeybee won the 2008 Arab American Book Award in the Children’s/Young Adult category. Her novel for children, The Turtle of Oman, was chosen both a Best Book of 2014 by The Horn Book and a 2015 Notable Children's Book by the American Library Association. Naomi Shihab Nye has been a Lannan Fellow, a Guggenheim Fellow and a Witter Bynner Fellow (Library of Congress). She has received a Lavan Award from the Academy of American Poets, the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, the Paterson Poetry Prize, four Pushcart Prizes, the Robert Creeley Prize and "The Betty Prize" from Poets House, for service to poetry, and numerous honors for her children’s literature, including two Jane Addams Children’s Book Awards. She has been affiliated with The Michener Center for writers at the University of Texas at Austin for 20 years and also poetry editor at The Texas Observer for 20 years. In January 2010 Nye was elected to the Board of Chancellors of the Academy of American Poets. She was recently named laureate of the 2013 NSK Neustadt Award for Children’s Literature.

Poems from the Schools

Poems from the schools & open mic 

Date: Tuesday, April 28, 2020 | 6:00 p.m.

Location: Wick Poetry Corner, Kent State Library, 2nd floor

For two decades, the Wick Poetry Center has placed student teaching artists in area schools. During these residencies, our students serve as ambassadors of creativity, vulnerability and self-expression. They inspire and listen. In return, the young poets we work with surprise and stir us. Join us to hear our teaching artists share their classroom experiences, difficult, humorous and joyful. They will also share examples of our young poets' work. We will conclude with an Open Mic, and welcome any poet in our community to come and share their work.

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