Pa. Center for the Book, Libraries host 2019 Evening of Pennsylvania poets

March 26, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Sarah Blake, Kelly Forsythe, Cassie Garison and Emily Grosholz — the four Pennsylvania-connected poets whose works have been chosen to represent the Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s 2019 Public Poetry Poster series — will read their works at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 2, in Foster Auditorium, 102 Paterno Library, on Penn State’s University Park campus and via public streaming online via Mediasite Live.  

Each of the poets had one of their poems selected to be developed into an art poster, which will be unveiled during “An Evening of Pennsylvania Poets: Readings in Celebration of the Public Poetry Project,” the 19th annual event. Readings by all four poets will be followed by a poster- and book-signing session. 

This year’s posters, designed by Penn State University Libraries intern Colin Gallagher, a Penn State senior design major from Carlisle, Pennsylvania, will be available free at the event. Public Poetry Project posters also will be distributed to Pennsylvania libraries, bookstores, cafés and businesses, and in September at the National Book Festival, an annual event in Washington, D.C., organized and sponsored by the Library of Congress.

Sarah Blake earned a master of fine arts in poetry from Penn State and is the author of “Let’s Not Live on Earth,” published in 2017, and “Mr. West,” published in 2015, both by Wesleyan University Press; the e-chapbook “Named After Death,” published in 2016 by Banango Editions; and the forthcoming “Naamah: A Novel” published by Riverhead Books. She received a literature fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts and has recently been named one of “Fifteen Women to Watch in 2019” by BookPage.

Pittsburgh native Kelly Forsythe is a public relations strategist, poet and the author of “Perennial,” published in 2018 by Coffee House Press, and the digital poetry chapbook “Helix,” published in 2014 by Floating Wolf Quarterly. She serves on the board of directors for Alice James Books, lectures on publishing and book publicity, and works in the books division of National Geographic.

While studying English and classical languages and literature at Franklin & Marshall College, Cassie Garison wrote papers and poetry on the connection between contemporary Icelandic poetry and the Icelandic natural landscape for a project funded by a Nissley Scholars Grant. Now a Lancaster resident, she continues to write poetry and has work published in Columbia Journal, River Styx Literary Magazine, Nimrod International Journal of Prose and Poetry and elsewhere.

Emily Grosholz is a poet, literary critic and philosopher who serves as an Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Philosophy, English and African-American Studies at Penn State. Her published works include “Great Circles: The Transits of Mathematics and Poetry,” published in 2018 by Springer, “The Stars of Earth: New and Selected Poems,” published in 2017 by Able Muse Press/Word Galaxy, “Eden: Poems,” published in 1992 by Johns Hopkins University Press, and several others. Grosholz is a member of the Center for Fundamental Theory / Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos and conducts research with The National Center for Scientific Research and the Paris University Diderot – Paris 7.

Started in 1999 by the late Kim Fisher, the first Paterno Family Librarian for Literature, the Public Poetry Project seeks to make poetry more available in the daily lives of Pennsylvanians by placing poems in public places. Posters of the winning poems are produced, and since 2000, 85 poets with a connection to Pennsylvania, either by birth or long period of residency, have had their work displayed as part of this series.

The project is under the direction of Ellysa Stern Cahoy, assistant director, and Caroline Wermuth, outreach coordinator, for the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. It is supported by the Paterno Family Librarian for Literature William S. Brockman, the University Libraries, the Department of English in the College of the Liberal Arts, and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book.

The Pennsylvania Center for the Book, an affiliate of the Center for the Book, established in 1977 at the Library of Congress, encourages Pennsylvania’s citizens and residents to study, honor, celebrate and promote books, reading, libraries and literacy. In addition to the Public Poetry Project, it also administers the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award; the Lynd Ward Graphic Novel Prize; Poems from LifeLetters about LiteratureA Baker’s Dozen: The Best Children’s Books for Family Literacy; and the interactive Literary and Cultural Heritage Map of Pennsylvania.

Penn State encourages qualified persons with disabilities to participate in its programs and activities. For those who anticipate needing any type of accommodation or have questions about the physical access provided, contact Caroline Wermuth at or 814-863-5472. For more information about the Pennsylvania Center for the Book’s Public Poetry Project, contact Wermuth or visit the Pennsylvania Center for the Book website,

Last Updated April 24, 2019