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​Author, Writer, and Poet Events at Phoenix Public Library

Join us at Phoenix Public Library for author, writer, and poet events.

​Danez Smith: Poeming in Code, Singing to Our Beloveds

Thursday, September 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.Photo of Danez Smith
Burton Barr Central Library

Join us for a program featuring poet and performer Danez Smith. This presentation seeks to explore the idea of audience while debunking the myth that our audience is either everyone or no one. We will hone in on what tools writers use to signal to their audiences that the poem is to/for them, how we add love, empathy and intimacy into our writing and how we can use our work as gathering grounds and private lines of communication.

Danez Smith is a Black, queer, poz writer & performer from St. Paul, MN. Danez is the author of [insert] boy (YesYes Books, 2014), winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award and the Lambda Literary Award for Gay Poetry, and a finalist for National Book Award for their poetry collection, Don’t Call Us Dead (Graywolf Press, 2017). Danez’s third collection, “Homie”, will be published by Graywolf in Spring 2020.  

In 2018, Danez became the youngest winner of the prestigious Forward Prize for best poetry collection and the recipient of the Poetry Society of America's inaugural Four Quartets Prize. They are also the recipient of fellowships from the Poetry Foundation, the McKnight Foundation, and is a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts Fellow.


Danez’s work has been featured widely, including on The New Yorker, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Blavity, PBS NewsHour, and on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert. They are a 2-time Individual World Poetry Slam finalist, 3-time Rustbelt Poetry Slam Champion, and a founding member of the Dark Noise Collective.


This program is provided in partnership with the Arizona State University Piper Center for Creative Writing

Gabby Rivera: ​Inspiring Radical Creativity Empowering Young, Diverse Voices to Tell Their Own Stories

Friday, October 18 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Burton Barr Central Library

Photo of Gabby RiveraTo Gabby Rivera, it’s vital to encourage people of all backgrounds to create, daydream, and tell their own stories—and in so doing, open a radical space for creativity. Now, in this affecting talk, Rivera unpacks how she navigates the world as a queer, Latinx, millennial woman; how she incorporates her heritage into her writing; how she strives to be a thoughtful ally for others, and how she celebrates the healing power of community. This is a talk about privilege and power, and what we can do to support the ideas of diverse artists working with progressive politics. It asks difficult questions: What if this country made everyone—people of all colors, cultures, orientations, abilities, and genders—feel at home? What if the traumas experienced by marginalized peoples could be reconciled and incorporated into a broader, richer definition of America? What if our non-white ancestors weren’t erased, but represented in pop culture, in our textbooks and classrooms? And what if we could privilege difference as a site of wonder, laughter and celebration, and not as something to fear? With Rivera’s smart, funny talks, we can start imagining these worlds as our reality. 

Gabby Rivera is a young, charming speaker dedicated to empowering women and improving our marginalized communities. She’s currently making major waves for her new Marvel series starring America Chavez: a queer, Latinx superhero who’s been written and designed, crucially, by a queer Latinx. And while the series is “definitely going to tackle America’s ancestry and ethnicity,” Rivera tells The Washington Post, it’s also a comic book aimed at wide appeal: committed to snappy one-liners, blowing stuff up, and beating up the bad guys, naturally.  

Rivera is also the author of Juliet Takes a Breath, a YA novel listed by Mic as one of the 25 essential books to read for women’s history month. It’s a critically acclaimed coming-of-age story starring a queer puertorriqueña who leaves her native Bronx behind to intern, over one transformative summer, with one of her literary heroes: the feminist author Harlow Brisbane. “I strongly encourage you to read Juliet Takes a Breath,” writes Roxane Gay. “It’s quite dazzling, funny as hell, poignant, all the things.” Witty, authentic, and humming with the full complexities of modern life and radical politics, the book was called the “dopest LGBTQA YA book ever” by Latina magazine. 

As an activist, Rivera also gives back. She’s the Youth Programs Manager at GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”): a leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students. That means fewer incidents of bullying and harassment, and more students treated with respect. She’s also worked with for over five years as the QTPOC Speakeasy editor and A-Camp staff. As a film and multi-media teaching artist, she’s worked with social justice organizations like DreamYard Project, Inc. And she’s appeared as a featured panelist and counselor at the annual Autostraddle Queer Women’s Conference, and has presented at the Allied Media and Digital Media and Learning Conferences. 

This program is provided in partnership with the Arizona State University Piper Center for Creative Writing

An Evening with R.L. Stine

Friday, November 1 from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Burton Barr Central LibraryImage of book cover for Night of the Living Dummy by R.L. Stine

In a legendary partnership, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing, Phoenix Fan Fusion, Changing Hands Bookstore and Phoenix Public Library present a talk with iconic children's horror author R.L. Stine.

Before there was J. K. Rowling, before there was Stephanie Meyer or Suzanne Collins, there was R.L. Stine. Witty, creepy, and compulsively readable: his books defined horror for a generation of young readers— readers who have now come of age. As recognized by USA Today, R.L. Stine was the best-selling author in America for three years in a row (1993- 95). The Guinness Book of World Records cited him as the best-selling series author in history.

Stine’s Goosebumps series for young people has sold over 300 million copies in this country alone and has become a publishing phenomenon in 32 languages around the world. 2012 marks the twentieth anniversary of Goosebumps, which means that he has frightened several generations of kids. Many of his original readers are now in their twenties and thirties and have been demanding that he write something for them. Other popular children’s book series include Fear Street, Mostly Ghostly, The Nightmare Room, and Rotten School.

Stine’s anthology TV series of horror stories for the whole family, R.L. Stine’s The Haunting Hour, is beginning its third season on The Hub TV Network. The original Goosebumps TV series is also being shown daily by the same network.

Now Stine sets his sights on adults with a terrifying new horror novel centered on a town in the grip of a sinister revolt. In Red Rain, Stine uses his unerring knack for creating terror to tap into some very grownup fears. Travel writer Lea Sutter finds herself on a small island off the coast of South Carolina, the wrong place at the wrong time. A merciless, unanticipated hurricane cuts a path of destruction through the island and Lea barely escapes with her life.

Stine’s previous novels for adults include Superstitious, The Sitter, and Eye Candy. Stine lives in New York City with his wife Jane, an editor and publisher.


Poetry Center Presents: Matthew ZapruderPhoto of Matthew Zapruder by B.A. Van Sise

Wednesday, November 6 from 7 to 8 p.m.
Burton Barr Central Library

Poet, translator, professor and editor Matthew Zapruder is the author of the poetry collections, Sun Bear (Copper Canyon, 2014), Come On All You Ghosts (Copper Canyon, 2010), The Pajamaist (Copper Canyon, 2006), and American Linden (Tupelo Books, 2002), His most recent book is Why Poetry (Ecco, 2017), an impassioned call for a return to reading poetry, which the New York Times Book Review called “a roaring success.” His new collection, Father's Day, will be published by Copper Canyon in Sept. 2019.

This program is provided in partnership with the University of Arizona Center Poetry Center.


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