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Walking With Whitman May 7 with Rommi Smith, Deborah Hauser, and Rorie Kelly

Walking With Whitman May 7 with Rommi Smith, Deborah Hauser, and Rorie Kelly

Walt Whitman Birthplace Association (WWBA) presents the 11th season of Poetry in Performance: Walking With Whitman, hosted by Writer-in-Residence George Wallace. The signature series continues to bring the most intriguing figures in contemporary literature on the national scene paired with local poets on the Walt Whitman Stage. WWBA is pleased to now present this program with a $5 suggested donation on Zoom.

Each program begins on a Friday at 7:00PM EST, with a reception to follow featuring musical performances. After the poetry readings, the featured poet offers a Q&A. Poetry in Performance: Walking With Whitman is hosted by WWBA Writer-in-Residence George Wallace and is sponsored by Poets & Writers.

Rommi Smith is an award-winning poet, playwright, theatre-maker, performer and librettist. Winner of numerous prestigious residencies and commissions for institutions ranging from the British Council to the BBC, she is a three-time BBC writer-in-residence. She is the inaugural British Parliamentary Writer in Residence and inaugural Poet-in-Residence for Keats’ House, Hampstead. Her writing is published by Bloodaxe, New York University Press, Seren, Shoestring Press, Route, Oberon Modern Plays, and Peepal Tree Press, among others. In 2018, she founded her own production company and small press: 125th& Midnight.

Rommi is finalising her practice-led PhD. A Visiting Scholar at City University New York (CUNY), she has presented her work at institutions including: The Segal Theater, The Schomburg Center for Research in Black culture and City College New York. Her academic writing was first published by New York University Press as part of the groundbreaking book Imagining Queer Methods (2019).

She is recipient of a Hedgebrook Fellowship (USA) and is a winner of The Northern Writers’ Prize for Poetry 2019 (chosen by the poet Don Paterson). She was recently awarded a prestigious Cave Canem fellowship in the US and scholarships from Hugo House and The Shipman Agency. Rommi’s digital play All the Places We Could Travel was recently commissioned and produced by Derby Theatre. She is thrilled to be named one of the Sphinx30 playwrights, a prestigious programme of professional mentoring for – and by – contemporary women playwrights, led by legendary company, Sphinx Theatre.

Here’s another version of one of the poems from this reading set to music: Stream The Ballad of Judy Johnson’s Blues – Rommi Smith & Christella Litras by TopFoto | Top Foto | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

In 2021, Rommi is a poet-in-residence for the Wordsworth Trust, Grasmere.   Twitter: @rommismith    Soundcloud: RommiSmith

Deborah Hauser is the author of Ennui: From the Diagnostic and Statistical Field Guide of Feminine Disorders. Her poems and book reviews have appeared in Kenyon Review, Prairie Schooner, Bellevue Literary Review, The Cortland Review, and SWWIM. She has taught at Stony Brook University and Suffolk County Community College. She leads a double life on Long Island where she works in the insurance industry.

Rorie Kelly makes ladybeast music. Her life’s mission is to create music that inspires others to love themselves fiercely and become their own heroes. Rorie’s empowerment anthem “If You Teach a Bird to Sing” led her to perform at the Obama White House and earned her a top 10 staff pick from WFUV’s John Platt. Rorie performs weekly on her livestream Monday Night Muses, and you can tune in every Monday night from 7pm-9pm ET on her Facebook, Youtube, or Twitch page. Her new album Shadow Work is a big, dark, witchy album about healing wounds and shining a light in the darkness. It can be found on all streaming platforms or purchased on her website –