Philadelphia poet laureate Frank Sherlock, a frequenter of the Kelly Writers House, returned to campus on Tuesday to host a trio of guest poets from across the country.
Melissa Buzzeo, Samantha Giles and Julie Patton shared samples of their work that ranged from melancholy to hilarious, from painstaking metaphor to playful verbal experimentation.
Philadelphia is one of a few cities nationwide that can claim a poet laureate, though their numbers are growing. Among Sherlock’s other duties are mentoring Philadelphia’s youth poet laureate, Soledad Alfaro-Allah.
In October, he plans to launch a project called Write Your Block, administered with the help of the Free Library of Philadelphia, designed “to encourage people all over the city to map their neighborhoods” through the medium of poetry, he said.
“I’m kind of the face for the art form of poetry of the city,” Sherlock said. A Philadelphia native, it was on Penn’s campus that he first discovered his calling — at the Science Center, of all places, where he attended a poetry reading.
And he has returned to Penn many times since. “I’ve been here, been a part of the community,” he said of the Writers’ House, which gave him “free reign” to curate the event.
The event’s theme was the collaborative nature of art, drawing his inspiration for the event from the American poet Eileen Myles. Buzzeo shared a section from her work The Devastation, Giles read from her upcoming book Deadfalls and Snares and Patton delivered an improvised verse in song.
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