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Readings & Conversations

Robert Hass with fans, Poetry NYC, Poetry Readings
Gary Snyder Reads from his Book, Danger on Peaks
Fred Wah and M. NourbeSe Philip
Jim Tolan, Darrell Bourque
Monica de la Torre & Eliot Weinber Reading at Poets House

Poets House’s Unique Programming

Each year Poets House presents a vast range of public programs — including talks, panels, readings, seminars, performances, walking tours classes to the public with poets from around the world — giving audiences the chance to experience some of the leading international voices of the day. Our signature series, Passwords, features the one poet’s close exploration and enthusiasm for another’s work.

A master list of all Poets House programs held from 1986 to the present can be found here.

Poets House programs seek to create a meeting place for poets and poetry readers of all aesthetic leanings and at every level – from accomplished poets and poetry aficionados to those brand new to the art. Providing time at the end of each presentation for questions from the audience, and followed by wine and cheese receptions, Poets House programs create a dynamic forum for conversation between artists and audiences.

Recordings of many of our programs can be found in the Watch Listen and Discuss section of our website.


Our signature program series Passwords, developed in 1987, continues to be one of the most robust and popular of our offering. In it, poets read and discuss the work of other poets.

Passwords creates the link between a vast poetic heritage and the voices of poets living today. Usually one poet discussing the work of another, Passwords programs can also take the form of larger tributes, panel discussions or symposia. Often, these events seek to increase our understanding and appreciation of poets whose work is in danger of being overlooked or underappreciated.

International Poetry Events

A meeting place for poets from around the world, Poets House has a tradition of celebrating poetry in all languages, from all parts of the globe. Many international poetry events are presented as Passwords programs, others as symposia, still others as bilingual readings.

Paul Zweig Memorial Lecture

An annual lecture on the craft of poetry is presented in honor of Paul Zweig, an early collaborator in the founding of Poets House. Poet, philosopher and literary critic, Paul Zweig died in Paris in August 1984. The bequest of his personal library began the Poets House collection.

The Poets House Showcase Reading Series

Each July, during the Poets House Showcase, we present a series of free, outdoor readings featuring poets with books in the Showcase display. The readings represent a diverse array of poets at different stages of their careers being published by presses large and small.

Conversations on Poetics

These conversations invite some of the most rigorous poetic thinkers of our time to discuss the ideas and the processes of thought that inform the myriad choices that create a poem.

Download our Spring 2018 Calendar (PDF)