poet amal kassir

Spoken word poet Amal Kassir

The Princeton Poetry Festival is a two-day biennial event organized by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet and Princeton professor Paul Muldoon. Featured poets include Zang Di, Eleanor Goodman, Amal Kassir, Hester Knibbe, Michael Longley, Nikola Madzirov, Robert Pinsky (with Laurence Hobgood), Jacquelyn Pope, Ana Ristović, Víctor Rodríguez-Núñez, Sjón, and Karen Solie. A previously scheduled appearance by poet Ellen Bass has been cancelled.

For a detailed schedule of events, please see below. Note: schedule subject to change.

The event is free and open to the public; no tickets or reservations required. Presented through the Lewis Center for the Arts’ Performance Central series as part of A Festival of the Arts at Princeton, celebrating the opening of the new Lewis Arts complex.



The Berlind Theater is located in the McCarter Theatre Center at 91 University Place, adjacent to the Princeton University campus.

View directions and campus maps, information on parking and public transit, and other venue information on our Venues & Directions page »


Event Schedule


12:00 p.m.  |   GALA OPENING READING
Introduction by Paul Muldoon

1:15 p.m.  |  INTERMISSION

1:30 p.m.  |  PANEL: Verse and Adversity (1)
Moderated by Paul Muldoon

  • Amal Kassir
  • Michael Longley
  • Ana Ristovic
  • Sjón
  • Zang Di

2:45 p.m.  |  INTERMISSION

3:00 p.m.  |  READING
Introduced by Susan Wheeler

  • Hester Knibbe / Jacquelyn Pope
  • Nikola Madzirov
  • Víctor Rodríguez-Núñez
  • Karen Solie

4:15 p.m.  |  INTERMISSION

4:30 p.m.  |  POEMJAZZ
Introduced by Michael Dickman


2:00 p.m.  |  READING
Introduced by Monica Youn

  • Jacquelyn Pope
  • Ana Ristovic
  • Sjón

3:15 p.m.  |  INTERMISSION

3:30 p.m.  |  PANEL: Verse and Adversity (2)
Moderated by Paul Muldoon

  • Hester Knibbe
  • Nikola Madzirov
  • Robert Pinsky
  • Jacquelyn Pope
  • Víctor Rodríguez-Núñez
  • Karen Solie

4:45 p.m.  |  INTERMISSION

5:00 p.m.  |  READING
Introduced by Tracy K. Smith

  • Amal Kassir
  • Michael Longley
  • Zang Di


*Details subject to change

About the Poets

zang di

Photo courtesy Zang Di

ZANG DI, born in Beijing in April 1964, received a PhD in Literature from China’s Peking University in 1997, where he has been teaching since 1996 and is currently a professor in the Chinese Department and editor of the journal New Poetry Criticism. He briefly worked as a journalist for China News Agency from 1990 to 1993. Di is the recipient of numerous awards including the Pearl River International Poetry Festival Award, Perfect Chinese Literature Award from Changjiang River Literature & Art, and the 2008 Poet of the Year Award from Chinese Literature Media Awards. His honors include Contemporary China’s Top Ten Prominent Young Poets, China’s Top Ten Avant-Courier Poets, China’s Top Ten Rising Poetry Critics, Contemporary China’s Top Ten Rising Poets, and he was named as one of Chinese Poetry Biennial’s Top Ten Poets. Di is the author of several collections of poetry, including Memory of Yan Yuan (1998), The Rustle of Leaves in the Wind (2000), Fresh Thorns (2002), The Universe is Flat (2008), and Empty-City Strategy (2009).


Eleanor Goodman

Photo courtesy Eleanor Goodman

ELEANOR GOODMAN’s first book of translations Something Crosses My Mind: Selected Poems of Wang Xiaoni (Zephyr Press, 2014) received a 2013 PEN/Heim Translation Grant, won the 2015 Lucien Stryk Prize, and was shortlisted for the International Griffin Prize. Her first collection of poetry, Nine Dragon Island (Enclave/Zephyr, 2016), was a finalist for the Drunken Boat First Book Prize. She is also the translator of Iron Moon (White Pine Press, 2017), an anthology of Chinese migrant worker poetry, and most recently of The Roots of Wisdom: Poems by Zang Di (Zephyr Press, 2017).


laurence hobgood

Photo by Adrian Korsner

LAURENCE HOBGOOD is a jazz pianist, composer, arranger, producer, Grammy Award-winner and Yamaha artist. He has performed at many of the world’s most prestigious venues including Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, the White House, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and the Sydney Opera House, among others. His ongoing projects include a recording/performance project, PoemJazz, with 3-time U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky; their second CD, House Hour, was released in 2015. Hobgood’s newest project, tesseterra, combines his love of jazz trio and writing for string quartet with uplifting arrangements of what he calls the “expanded songbook” – repertoire ranging from Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Hoagie Carmichael to Sting and Joni Mitchell.


amal kassir

Photo courtesy Kassir

AMAL KASSIR is a Syrian-American international spoken word poet. She is a 2012 Brave New Voices International Slam Champion with Denver’s Minor Disturbance & has been featured in LA Times, PBS Newshour, Colorado Public Radio, Westword Magazine and the Denver Post. Kassir has performed in 8 countries and over 25 cities, from youth prisons to orphanages to refugee camps. Her work involves humanitarian initiatives for Syria, speaking out and organizing against Islamophobia, and empowering the voice of the marginalized through writing & speaking. Based in Denver, Colorado, she teaches workshops to communities across the state and organizes demonstrations, vigils, fundraisers & other educational events in Colorado.


hester knibbe

Photo courtesy Knibbe

HESTER KNIBBE is one of the most acclaimed contemporary poets in the Netherlands. She is the author of fifteen collections of poems including Hungerpots, trans. Jacquelyn Pope (2015), Archaïsch de dieren (2014), Het hebben van schaduw (2011), and Oogsteen (2009). Knibbe’s numerous honors and awards include the Anna Blaman Prize, the A. Roland Holst Prize, and she was named the 2015 Rotterdam City Poet Laureate. Also in 2015, her collection Archaïsch de dieren (Archaic the animals) won the prestigious VSB Poetry Prize, the highest honor given for Dutch language poetry.


michael longley

Photo by Bobbie Hanvey

MICHAEL LONGLEY lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland. He has published eleven collections of poetry. His most recent book, Angel Hill, came out in June 2017. His previous book, The Stairwell (2014), won the Griffin International Prize. Longley is the winner of the 2017 PEN Pinter prize. He has also received the Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry, the Whitbread Prize for Poetry, the Hawthornden Prize, and the T.S. Eliot Prize. Longley was appointed a Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2010, and he is a Freeman of the City of Belfast. From 2007 to 2010 he was Ireland Professor of Poetry. Sidelines: Selected Prose 1962-2015 will be published in the fall of 2017.


nikola madzirov

Photo by Thomas Kierok

NIKOLA MADZIROV is the author of Remnants of Another Age and Relocated Stone, which received the Hubert Burda European Poetry Award and the prestigious Miladinov Brothers Award. He was awarded the Studentski Zbor Award for Locked in the City and the Aco Karamanov prize for Somewhere Nowhere. Born into a family of Balkan Wars refugees in 1973 in Strumica, Macedonia, Madzirov has gone on to participate in many international literary festivals and events in the US, Latin America, and Europe, and he has received several international awards and fellowships.



Robert Pinksy

Photo courtesy Pinsky

ROBERT PINSKY is a poet, essayist, translator, teacher, and speaker. He served three terms as the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States from 1997-2000 and founded the wildly popular Favorite Poem Project, dedicated to celebrating and encouraging the role of poetry in American’s lives. His poetry collections include At the Foundling Hospital (2016), Selected Poems (2011), Gulf Music (2007), and Jersey Rain (2001). His anthology The Figured Wheel: New and Collected Poems 1966-1996 was a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Pinsky’s work has earned him the PEN/Voelcker Award, the William Carlos Williams Prize, the Lenore Marshall Prize, Italy’s Premio Capri, the Korean Manhae Award, and the Harold Washington Award from the City of Chicago, among other accolades. He publishes frequently in magazines such as The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Threepenny Review, and The Best American Poetry anthologies. Pinsky often performs his poems with eminent jazz musicians and has produced two PoemJazz CDs with Grammy-winning pianist Laurence Hobgood. Pinsky is a professor of English and creative writing in the graduate writing program at Boston University.


Jacquelyn Pope

Photo courtesy Pope

JACQUELYN POPE is a poet and translator whose books include Watermark (2005), Dreamboat (2012),and Hungerpots, a translation of the selected poems of Dutch poet Hester Knibbe (2015). Her poems and translations from Dutch and Afrikaans have been published widely in the US and UK. She is the recipient of a 2015 NEA Translation Fellowship and a 2012 PEN/Heim Translation Fund, as well as awards from the Academy of American Poets and the Massachusetts Cultural Council.



ana ristovic

Photo courtesy Ristovic

ANA RISTOVIĆ is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently Čistina (The Opening). Her awards include Germany’s Hubert Burda Preis for young European poetry and one of the most important poetry prizes in Serbia, the Disova Nagrada. Her poems have been translated into English, German, Slovakian, Macedonian, Slovenian, Polish, Bulgarian, Swedish, Hungarian and Finnish and have appeared in many anthologies and magazines in Serbia and abroad. As a translator, Ristović has also published 28 books of modern Slovenian prose and poetry. A member of the Serbian literary association, Serbian P.E.N. Centre, the Association of Literary Translators of Serbia, and the Slovenian Writers Association, she lives in Belgrade.


victor rodriguez nunez

Photo courtesy Nunez

VÍCTOR RODRÍGUEZ-NÚÑEZ is a poet, journalist, literary critic, translator, and scholar. He has published forty books of poetry throughout Latin America, Europe, and Asia. His work has long been the recipient of major awards in the Spanish-speaking world, most recently, Spain’s coveted Loewe Poetry Prize. In English the translations by Katherine M. Hedeen, thaw (Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2013), With a Strange Scent of World: Poems 1979-1999 (New Orleans: Diálogos Books, 2014), tasks (Normal, Illinois:, 2016), and night badly written: Poems 2000-2015 (Notre Dame, Indiana: Action Books, 2017) have appeared. He has translated poetry by Mark Strand, Juan Gelman, José Emilio Pacheco, and John Kinsella, among many others. He has compiled three anthologies that define his poetic generation, as well as another of 20th century Cuban poetry, La poesía del siglo XX en Cuba (2011). He has brought out various critical editions, introductions, and essays on Spanish American poets. One of Cuba’s most outstanding contemporary writers, he divides his time between Gambier, Ohio, where he is Professor of Spanish at Kenyon College, and Havana.



Photo courtesy Sjón

Born in Reykjavik in 1962, SJÓN is a celebrated Icelandic novelist. He won the Nordic Council’s Literary Prize for his novel The Blue Fox (the nordic countries’ equivalent of the Man Booker Prize), and the novel From The Mouth Of The Whale was shortlisted for both the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize. His trilogy CoDex 1962 was published in its final form in the autumn 2016 to great acclaim. As a a poet, librettist and lyricist, he has published nine poetry collections and written four opera librettos and lyrics for various artists. In 2001 he was nominated for an Oscar for his lyrics in the film Dancer In The Dark. Sjón’s novels have been published in thirty-five languages.


karen solie

Photo courtesy Solie

KAREN SOLIE was born in Moose Jaw and grew up in rural southwest Saskatchewan. She is the author of four collections of poems, including Pigeon, which won the 2010 Pat Lowther Award, Trillium Poetry Prize, and Griffin Prize. Her collection The Road In Is Not the Same Road Out was published in Canada and the U.S. in 2015 and was shortlisted for the Trillium Book Award. A volume of selected poems, The Living Option, was published in the U.K. in 2013. An associate director for the Banff Centre’s Writing Studio, Solie has taught for writing programs and has served as writer-in-residence across Canada and in the U.K. She lives in Toronto.

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