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Reader Series: A Year of Graywolf Press Poetry - Session One

Graywolf Press is a publisher of innovative poetry that explores "new thinking about what it means to live in the world today." One of the nation’s leading nonprofit publishers, the press remains dedicated to publishing poetry after 49 years of operation, publishing 30–35 books each year by writers at all stages, from the US and all around the world.

Among their writers are award winners Claudia Rankine, Tracy K. Smith, Natalie Diaz, Donika Kelly, and Kaveh Akbar - poets whose work exemplifies the radical possibilities for craft, language, meaning, and connection.

In this year-long Reader Series class, centered on 12 extraordinary poetry collections, Graywolf's stated missions to amplify underrepresented and diverse voices and enrich the broader literary culture converge with Literary Cleveland's missions to promote new and existing literature of the highest quality.

Register and embark on an ambitious year-long adventure to read some of Graywolf's most famous and fascinating publications.

NOTE: You can register for just the first session, running from January-April, or receive a discount by committing to the full year.

Session One
Jan 14 - Postcolonial Love Poem by Natalie Diaz
Feb 11 - Look by Solmaz Sharif
Mar 11 - Guillotine by Eduardo C. Corral
Apr 8 - Deaf Republic – Ilya Kaminsky

Session Two
May 13 - Just Us by Claudia Rankine

Jun 10 - Homie by Danez Smith
Jul 8 - Such Color by Tracy K. Smith
Aug 12 - The Renunciations by Donika Kelly

Session Three
Sep 9 - Prognosis by Jim Moore
Oct 14 - Priest Turned Therapist Treats Fear of God by Tony Hoagland
Nov 11 - Pilgrim Bell by Kaveh Akbar
Dec 9 - Oculus by Sally Wen Mao

Instructor: Michelle R. Smith is a writer, educator, cultural facilitator, and native Clevelander. She is the programming associate for Literary Cleveland and a teaching artist for Lake Erie Ink. She is the author of the poetry collections Ariel in Black (2015) and The Vagina Analogues (2020). She has been published in poemmemoirstoryMeridians: feminism, race, transnationalism;The Normal School; The Gasconade Review, New Note Poetry, and Merge Magazine. She has been a featured reader, instructor, and panelist at The Lakewood Public Library, The East Cleveland Public Library, The Cuyahoga County Public Library, The Cleveland Museum of Arts, Cleveland Drafts – Brews + Prose, PNC Fairfax Connection, Case Western Reserve University’s Writers House, and Literary Cleveland’s Inkubator Conference. She is also the creator, co-producer, and director of BLAX MUSEUM, an annual performance showcase for Northeast Ohio artists open to all forms and dedicated to honoring notable black figures in American history and culture. Michelle’s favorite novelist is Toni Morrison, and she splits her “favorite poet” title between Ntozake Shange, Sylvia Plath, Victoria Chang, and Saeed Jones.


Details: Reader Series: A Year of Graywolf Press Poetry - Session One takes place Saturdays January 14, February 11, March 11, and April 8  from 10am-12pm online via Zoom.

Genre: Reader Series

Level: All levels of readers are welcome.

Format: Reader Series classes take you on a deep dive into specific topic or author to gain a more advanced understanding of literature and the world. Experienced instructors will provide history, context, and analysis, and guide in-depth discussion that will help make you an instant expert in a single subject or author's body of work.

Each participant can decide how they choose to engage with the classes. You can read the books ahead of time, read them as the class progresses, or read them after the class has concluded. No matter your level of prior knowledge, you will receive a wealth of materials and insights in a condensed period, like a master class or a great course, only right here in Cleveland.

Location: This class takes place remotely online via Zoom.

Size: Limited to 15 participants (including scholarships).

Suggested Sequence: Follow this class with a craft and/or generative nonfiction workshop, a feedback course, or a publishing course.

Scholarships: Two scholarship spots are available for this class for writers in Northeast Ohio. Apply by December 1.

Cancellations & Refunds: Cancel at least 48 hours in advance of the first class meeting to receive a full refund. Email

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NEW: As part of our ongoing efforts to make programs and classes more inclusive and accessible, we are now collecting voluntary demographic information during the registration process. The following information is entirely voluntary and will remain anonymous. It will only be used in aggregate to assess and improve services and inclusive practices to ensure we are serving our entire community equitably. Thank you!

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