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2023 Princeton Poetry Festival

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November 17, 2023 • 10:30 am - 5:30 pm


The biennial Princeton Poetry Festival, organized by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon, returns with a full day of readings, panel discussions and a lecture featuring poets from around the world.

Featured Guest Poets

  • Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (US)
  • Joyelle McSweeney (US)
  • Valzhyna Mort (Belarus)
  • John Okrent (US)
  • Roger Reeves (US)
  • Padraig Regan (Ireland)
  • Philip Schultz (US)
  • Luci Tapahonso (Navajo)

Festival Schedule

10:30 AM — Gala Opening Reading and Introduction by Paul Muldoon

11:05 AM — Intermission

11:15 AM — Panel Discussion on “Poetry and the Past,” moderated by Paul Muldoon

  • Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Valzhyna Mort, Roger Reeves, Philip Schultz

12:05 PM — Intermission

12:15 PM — Reading, introduced by Michael Dickman

  • Joyelle McSweeney, John Okrent, Padraig Regan, Luci Tapahonso

1:30 PM — Lunch (Free boxed lunches will be available to audiences)

2:15 PM — Lecture by Ilya Kaminsky: “Conversations in the Air: How Poets from Different Times and Traditions Engage With One Another”

3:05 PM — Intermission

3:15 PM — Panel Discussion on “Poetry and the Past,” moderated by Paul Muldoon

  • Joyelle McSweeney, John Okrent, Padraig Regan, Luci Tapahonso

4:05 PM — Intermission

4:15-5:30 PM — Reading, introduced by Patricia Smith

  • Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Valzhyna Mort, Roger Reeves, Philip Schultz

Tickets & Details

The festival events are free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations required.


Free boxed lunches will be available to audiences for the Poetry Festival.

Book Signing

Books by the poets will be available at the event for purchase from Labyrinth Books, and Festival poets will be available to sign books between sessions throughout the day.


Get directions to Berlind Theatre, located at McCarter Theatre Center, 91 University Place in Princeton, NJ.


symbol for wheelchair accessibilityaccess symbol for amplified sound or hearing devicesThe Berlind Theatre is an accessible venue. Assistive listening devices are available upon request. Visit our Venues and Studios section for accessibility information at our various locations, including Berlind Theatre. Attendees in need of access accommodations are asked to contact the Lewis Center at 609-258-5262 or email at least one week in advance of the event date.


About the Poets

Mei-mei Berssenbrugge (U.S.)

Born in Beijing, Mei-mei Berssenbrugge is the author of fourteen books of poetry, including Hello, the Roses; Empathy; and I Love Artists. Her collection A Treatise on Stars, published by New Directions Press, received the Bollingen Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize, among others. Plant Thought, a collaboration with artists Kiki Smith and Richard Tuttle, is forthcoming from The Center for Book Arts.


Joyelle McSweeney (U.S.)

Guggenheim Fellow Joyelle McSweeney’s most recent volume, Toxicon and Arachne, was awarded the Shelley Memorial Prize from the Poetry Society of America and a Literature Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts & Letters. McSweeney is the author of ten books of poetry, drama and prose, a well-known critic, and co-founder of the international translation press, Action Books. She teaches at Notre Dame and lives in South Bend, Indiana. Her next collection, Death Styles, is forthcoming from Nightboat Books in April 2024.


Valzhyna Mort (Belarus)

Valzhyna Mort is the author of Factory of Tears and Collected Body (Copper Canyon Press). She is a recipient of the Lannan Foundation Fellowship, the Bess Hokin Prize from Poetry, Amy Clampitt fellowship, the Gulf Coast translation prize and the Glenna Luschei Prairie Schooner Award. Born in Minsk, Belarus, she teaches at Cornell University and writes in English and Belarusian. Mort is also the author of her most recent book, Music for the Dead and Resurrected.


John Okrent (U.S.)

John Okrent is a poet and a family doctor. His poetry has appeared in The Poetry Review (UK), Ploughshares, Plume, Poetry Northwest, The Seattle Times, Field, and elsewhere. In 2021 he was awarded the Jeff Marks Memorial Poetry Prize, judged by Carl Phillips for december magazine. His first book, This Costly Season, was published by Arrowsmith Press in May 2022. He works at a community health center in Tacoma, Washington, where he lives with his wife and two young children in a fisherman’s cabin on stilts above Puget Sound.


Roger Reeves (U.S.)

Roger Reeves is the author of Best Barbarian (W.W. Norton & Co., 2022), a finalist for the National Book Award and winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. Tracy K. Smith called it “a revelation and a form of reparation.” His debut collection is King Me (Copper Canyon Press, 2013), a Library Journal Best Poetry Book of the year and winner of the Larry Levis Reading Prize, the PEN/Oakland Josephine Miles Literary Award, and a John C. Zacharis First Book Award. His most recent book is Dark Days: Fugitive Essays, published by Graywolf in August 2023. His poems have appeared in journals such as Poetry, Ploughshares, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, and Tin House, among others. He was awarded a 2013 NEA Fellowship, Ruth Lilly Fellowship by the Poetry Foundation in 2008, a Hodder Fellowship from Princeton University, two Bread Loaf Scholarships, an Alberta H. Walker Scholarship from the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, two Cave Canem Fellowships and a Whiting Award.


Padraig Regan (Ireland)

Padraig Regan’s debut collection Some Integrity (Carcanet 2022) was shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection and won the 2023 Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry. In 2015, they were a recipient of an Eric Gregory Award, and in 2020 they were awarded the Ireland Chair of Poetry Bursary Prize. They hold a PhD on creative-critical and hybridised writing practices in medieval texts and the work of Anne Carson from the Seamus Heaney Centre, Queen’s University Belfast, where they were a Ciaran Carson Writing and the City Fellow in 2021. They are currently a Fellow Commoner in Creative Arts at Trinity College Cambridge.


Philip Schultz (US)

Philip Schultz is the author of several collections of poetry, including Failure, winner of the 2008 Pulitzer Prize. His other collections include Luxury, The Wherewithal: A Novel in Verse, The God of Loneliness: New and Selected Poems, Living in the Past, and The Holy Worm of Praise. He is also the author of My Dyslexia and Comforts of the Abyss. His work has been published in The New Yorker, Partisan Review, The New Republic, The Paris Review, Slate, and other magazines. He is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Poetry.


Luci Tapahonso (Navajo)

Luci Tapahonso served as the inaugural Poet Laureate of the Navajo Nation from 2013-2015. She has published three children’s books and six award-winning books of poetry. Tapahonso’s poems are published in When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through (2020), The Dine Reader (2020), and have been featured on the podcast The Slowdown with Tracy K. Smith and in the Academy of American Poets “Poem-a-Day” series. Her recognitions include the 2022 Distinguished Literary Achievement Award by the Western Literature Association, the 2022 Indigenous Knowledge Holder Semi-Finalist from the Luce Foundation, and the 2021 Ostana (Italy) International Prize, which honors authors who write in their mother tongue. For the U.S. Library of Congress, she recorded a poem for Living Nations, Living Words: A Map of First Peoples Poetry. She is professor emerita of English Literature at the University of New Mexico.





November 17, 2023
10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Event Categories:


Berlind Theatre at McCarter Theatre Center
91 University Place
Princeton, NJ 08544 United States
View Venue Website

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