A Kansas City Reading Series

Izzy Casey & Ashley M. Jones

February 12, 7:00PM CDT

Online Event (Register here)

Izzy CASEY is a writer and editor based in NYC. Her work has been published in or is forthcoming from Gulf Coast: A Journal of Literature and Fine ArtsBlack Warrior ReviewBennington ReviewBOAATThe Columbia Review, The Yale Review, Bat City Review, and elsewhere. She received her MFA in Poetry from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, where she was the recipient of a fellowship with the Poetry Foundation. 


Ashley M. JONES is Poet Laureate of the state of Alabama (2022-2026). She holds an MFA in Poetry from Florida International University, and she is the author of Magic City Gospel (Hub City Press 2017) dark / / thing (Pleiades Press 2019)and REPARATIONS NOW! (Hub City Press 2021). Her poetry has earned several awards, including the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, the Silver Medal in the Independent Publishers Book Awards, the Lena-Miles Wever Todd Prize for Poetry, a Literature Fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, the Lucille Clifton Poetry Prize, and the Lucille Clifton Legacy Award. She was a finalist for the Ruth Lily Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship in 2020.Her poems and essays appear in or are forthcoming at CNN, POETRY, The Oxford American, Origins Journal, The Quarry by Split This Rock, Obsidian, and many others. She teaches Creative Writing at the Alabama School of Fine Arts and in the Low Residency MFA at Converse College. Jones co-directs PEN Birmingham, and she is the founding director of the Magic City Poetry Festival. She recently served as a guest editor for Poetry Magazine.



Mark Leidner & Justin Marks

 November 6, 7:00PM CDT

Online Event (Register here)

Mark LEIDNER is the author of two books of poetry, Returning the Sword to the Stone (Fonograf, 2021) and Beauty Was the Case that They Gave Me (Factory Hollow, 2011), a book of aphorisms The Angel in the Dream of Our Hangover (Two Dollar Radio, 2011), and a short story collection Under the Sea (Tyrant Books, 2018). He also wrote two feature films: the sci-fi thriller Empathy, Inc. (2019) and the relationship comedy Jammed (2014). He lives in California and is originally from Georgia.


Justin MARKS’ books are, The Comedown, (Publishing Genius Press, 2021), You’re Going to Miss Me When You’re Bored, (Barrelhouse Books, 2014) and A Million in Prizes (New Issues, 2009). Recent poems appear in Conduit and Iterant. He is a co-founder of Birds, LLC, an independent poetry press, and lives in New York City with his family. 

This event was made possible by generous contributions by the Creative Writing Program at the Kansas City Art Institute.

Emily Spencer & Diana Khoi Nguyen

October 16th, 7:00PM CDT

Online Event (Register here)

Emily SPENCER is a poet and author of East Walnut Hills, winner of the Zone 3 Press First Book Award in Poetry. Spencer earned an MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and was a Boston University global writing fellow. Her poems appear in the Kenyon Review, POETRY, Pleiades, and elsewhere. 


A poet and multimedia artist, Diana KHOI NGUYEN is the author of Ghost Of (Omnidawn 2018) and recipient of a 2021 fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. In addition to winning the 92Y Discovery Poetry Contest, 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award, and Colorado Book Award, she was also a finalist for the National Book Award and L.A. Times Book Prize. A Kundiman fellow, she is core faculty in the Randolph College Low-Residency MFA and an Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh.

Nate Marshall & Kaveh Akbar

September 25, 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM CDT

Online Event (Register here)

Nate MARSHALL is the author and editor of numerous works including Finna, Wild Hundreds, The BreakBeat Poets: New American Poetry in the Age of Hip-Hop, and the audio drama Bruh Rabbit & The Fantastic Telling of Remington Ellis Esq. He teaches creative writing and literature at Colorado College. Nate was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago.

Kaveh AKBAR is the author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf and has received honors such as a Levis Reading Prize and multiple Pushcart Prizes. Born in Tehran, Iran, he teaches at Purdue University and in low-residency programs at Warren Wilson and Randolph Colleges. His newest collection of poetry, Pilgrim Bell, has been received with overwhelming praise - "it is a book we need now."

This event is co-sponsored and in conjunction with Race Project KC and supported with funds from the Creative Writing program at KCAI.


Robert Brown & Chell Navarro

April 24, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Online Event

Robert BROWN is a poet and multimedia artist who works with the Foundation Department at KCAI. His poems have appeared in Chicago Quarterly Review and Kansas City Ballet educational materials. He is a writer at KC Studio magazine.

Chell NAVARRO is a poet and founder and EIC of Savage Torpor Poetry. She is the author of Don’t Shoot the Augury, The Fetish of Maude Tatum, as well as her most recent collection, Sister of the Heath, which was released the week the world shut down due to the plague. Her poems appear in Bear Review, Sprung Formal, Lily Poetry Review, and forthcoming in Got Too High: An Anthology on Addiction. Navarro works freelance as a writer and copy editor. And to afford her lavish lifestyle as a poet, as a personal shopper for Instacart. She looks forward to the day she can once again hug The Lawrence Tree in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains of New Mexico.

Emily Pettit & Jason Teal

March 27, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Online Event


Emily PETTIT is the author of Goat in the Snow (Birds LLC) and Blue Flame (Carnegie Mellon University Press).


Jason TEAL is the author of We Were Called Specimens (KERNPUNKT Press, 2020). He edits Heavy Feather Review and lives in Kansas. His MFA is from Northern Michigan University. Writing appears in Sprung Formal, 3:AM, Quarterly West, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, and Hobart, among others. Recently, he and others organized the 100% free to participate virtual book fair SMOL Fair, smolfair.com.

Kiki Petrosino & BJ Soloy

February 27, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Online Event

Kiki Petrosino is the author of four books of poetry: White Blood: a Lyric of Virginia (2020), Witch Wife (2017), Hymn for the Black Terrific (2013) and Fort Red Border (2009), all from Sarabande Books. She holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her poems and essays have appeared in Poetry, Best American Poetry, The Nation, The New York Times, FENCE, Gulf Coast, Jubilat, Tin House and on-line at Ploughshares. She teaches at the University of Virginia as a Professor of Poetry. Petrosino is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize, a Fellowship in Creative Writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, and an Al Smith Fellowship Award from the Kentucky Arts Council.



BJ Soloy is the author of Our Pornography and other disaster songs, selected by Ocean Vuong as winner of the Slope Editions Book Prize, and Selected Letters, out with New Michigan Press. He has work in places like FIELDForklift, OhioColorado ReviewNew American Writing, and Court Green, and lives and teaches in and around Kansas City, MO.


KCAI Creative Writing Double-Majors Reading

JANUARY 30TH, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT

Online Event
Please click on the following link to register for this reading.

Featured Readers:

Emily Mooney
Rylie Lawver
Opal Roberts-Baca

Diannely Antigua & Caryl Pagel

Oct 17, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT
Online Event
Please click on the following link to register for this reading.

Diannely ANTIGUA is a Dominican American poet and educator, born and raised in Massachusetts. Her debut collection Ugly Music (YesYes Books, 2019) was the winner of the Pamet River Prize and a 2020 Whiting Award. She received her BA in English from the University of Massachusetts Lowell where she won the Jack Kerouac Creative Writing Scholarship; and received her MFA at NYU where she was awarded a Global Research Initiative Fellowship to Florence, Italy. She is the recipient of additional fellowships from CantoMundo, Community of Writers, and the Fine Arts Work Center Summer Program. Her work has been nominated for both the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. Her poems can be found in Washington Square Review, Bennington Review, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere. Her heart is in Brooklyn. 

Caryl PAGEL is the author of Out of Nowhere Into Nothing (FC2, fall 2020), Twice Told (University of Akron Press), and Experiments I Should Like Tried At My Own Death (Factory Hollow). She teaches in the NEOMFA program, directs the Cleveland State University Poetry Center, and is a publisher and editor at Rescue Press.

This event was made possible by generous contributions from the KCAI Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice and the Creative Writing Program at the Kansas City Art Institute.


Carrie Lorig & Jane Wong


Oct. 17th, 7:00 PM – 8:00 PM CDT 
Online Event
Please click on the following link to register for this reading. 



Carrie LORIGis a school psychologist and a poet. She is the author of The Pulp vs. The Throne (Artifice Books) and several chapbooks, including The Blood Barn (Inside the Castle), The Book of Repulsive Women (Essay Press), and NODS. (Magic Helicopter Press). She is currently a doctoral student in School Psychology at Georgia State University. 



Jane WONG's poems can be found in places such as Best American Nonrequired Reading 2019, American Poetry Review, Agni, Poetry, Third Coast, and others. Her essays have appeared in McSweeney's, Black Warrior Review, Ecotone, The Georgia Review, The Common, Shenandoah, and This is the Place: Women Writing About Home. A Kundiman fellow, she is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and fellowships and residencies from the U.S. Fulbright Program, Artist Trust, the Fine Arts Work Center, Willapa Bay AiR, Hedgebrook, the Jentel Foundation, and the Mineral School. She is the author of Overpour from Action Books, and How to Not Be Afraid of Everything, which is forthcoming from Alice James in 2021. She is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Western Washington University.

This event was made possible by generous contributions from the KCAI Gallery: Center for Contemporary Practice and the Creative Writing Program at the Kansas City Art Institute.