O.B. Hardison Poetry Series

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For more than 40 years, the Folger's poetry reading series has brought hundreds of distinguished poets to read from their work on the Folger stage, including Octavio Paz, Gwendolyn Brooks, Allen Ginsberg, W. S. Merwin, Adrienne Rich, Yusef Komunyakaa, James Merrill, Frank Bidart, Robert Pinsky, Derek Walcott, Hayden Carruth, Rita Dove, Seamus Heaney, Sterling Brown, Denise Levertov, June Jordan, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Sonia Sanchez, and James Dickey. Beginning with the 2010–11 season, it was renamed the O.B. Hardison Poetry reading series in honor of its founder, O. B. Hardison, Jr. From traditional poetry readings to multimedia presentations to eclectic combinations of lecture, conversation, and performance, the O.B. Hardison Poetry reading series is committed to expanding the contexts in which poetry is experienced. Each year, we present eight to ten poetry events— including a moderated conversation and Q & A—in the Folger’s Elizabethan Theatre, followed by wine receptions and book signings in the Great Hall.

Folger Poetry Board

The Folger Poetry Board is a committee of friends providing significant support to the Folger Shakespeare Library's poetry programs by organizing and sponsoring fundraising and other literary events and by hosting an annual reading by a distinguished author.

  • Gigi Bradford, Chair
  • Jean Bower
  • Edwin P. Conquest, Jr.
  • Christina Daub
  • Harriet Patsy Davis
  • Marifrancis Hardison
  • Joseph Hassett
  • Anita Herrick
  • Sherman Katz
  • Robert C. Liotta
  • Richard Lyon
  • Greg McBride
  • Mary McElveen
  • Barbara Meade
  • Dr. David Morowitz
  • Mary Muromcew
  • Jean Nordhaus
  • Jacqueline Quillen
  • Susan Rappaport
  • Heddy Reid
  • Dr. Marianne Schuelein
  • Joan Shorey
  • Norman Sinel
  • Amy Tercek
  • Nigel Twose
  • David Weisman
  • Mary-Sherman Willis
  • Anne Harding Woodworth

Special poetry events at the Folger

The O.B. Hardison Poetry Series partners with national and community organizations promoting poetry and language throughout the Washington region, and the country. Join us at the Haskell Center or other locations for special readings and celebrations.

District of Literature

The District of Literature is a free, day-long celebration of DC's literary side.

Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute

The annual Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute reading, sponsored with the Poetry Society of America (PSA), celebrates Dickinson's fierce and compelling influence on poetry in America.


Now in its seventh year, the Poetry-in-Schools program is one of the many programs for teachers and students offered by the Folger. The only such program serving Washington, DC, public school students at the high school level, Poetry-In-Schools strives to introduce students to poetry, encourage new voices, and provide high school students with a college level writing workshop. The program is available at no cost to participating schools.

Shakespeare's Sisters: Five Centuries of Poetry by Women

Shakespeare's Sisters: Five Centuries of Poetry by Women is a free ten-week seminar for selected students in grades 10-12 meeting on Wednesdays from 4-6pm beginning on January 7 and ending March 11, 2015.

Lannan Fellows Program

Sonnet Contest

Before & After: Poets Respond to Romeo and Juliet

Current season

Upcoming season

Past seasons