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 O.B. Hardison, Jr. 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, 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.

Current season

To view the current season of the O.B. Hardison Poetry Series and purchase tickets to any of the events, please see the Folger's main website.

Upcoming season

Previous seasons

Previous poetry readings at the Folger

Previous poetry readings at the Folger offers a comprehensive list of poets who have read at the Folger, including additional biographies, audio recordings and further information when available.




  • Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute: Lucie Brock-Broido (2009)
  • On The Creative Path: Arthur Sze and Afaa Michael Weaver (2009)
  • O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize: Juliana Spahr (2009)
  • Folger Poetry Board Meeting: Eamon Grennan (2009)
  • Singing the Body: Rita Dove (2009)
  • Meditations: Michael Harper and A.B. Spellman (2009)
  • The Act of Memory: Claudia Emerson and Natasha Trethewey (2009)
  • Beauty in Ordinary Life: Marie Howe and Bob Hicok (2009)
  • Duende: Linda Pastan and Tracy K. Smith (2009)
  • Not Just Another Day Off (2009)
  • Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute: Elizabeth Spires (2008)
  • Dark Radiance: Frank Bidart and Rae Armantrout (2008)
  • O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize: Mary Kinzie (2008)
  • State of the Union: 50 Political Poems: Nick Flynn, Terrance Hayes, Eileen Myles and Edwin Torres (2008)
  • Folger Poetry Board Reading: Lucille Clifton (2008)
  • Under a Spell: Jazz and Blues in Poetry: Quincy Troupe and Tyehimba Jess (2008)
  • The Natural World: Galway Kinnell and Mark Doty (2008)
  • Of Light and Darkness: Gerald Stern and Ross Gay (2008)
  • The Most Mysterious Clarity: Kay Ryan (2008)
  • Not Just Another Day Off (2008)
  • Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute: Richard Howard (2007)
  • Celebrating John Ashbery (2007)
  • O.B. Hardison, Jr. Poetry Prize: David Wojahn (2007)
  • Folger Poetry Board Reading: Eavan Boland (2007)
  • Celebrating the Sonnet: Phillis Levin, Henri Cole and Molly Peacock (2007)
  • The Art of Poetry: Derek Walcott (2007)
  • On Black Male Poetics: Terrance Hayes and Frank X Walker (2007)
  • Emerging Asian American Poets: Tina Chang, Srikanth Reddy and Victoria Chang (2007)
  • Not Just Another Day Off (2007)
  • Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute: Carolyn Forché (2006)
  • Poetry and Verse: Tess Gallagher (2006)
  • O.B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize: David Rivard (2006)

Special poetry events at the Folger

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.

Not Just Another Day Off

District of Literature

Emily Dickinson Birthday Tribute


Shakespeare's Sisters: Five Centuries of Poetry by Women

Lannan Fellows Program

Shakespeare's Birthday Sonnet Contest

Before & After: Poets Responding to Shakespeare

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
  • Anne Harding Woodworth, Co-Chair
  • Edwin P. Conquest, Jr.
  • Christina Daub
  • Harriet Patsy Davis
  • Barbara Goldberg
  • Patricia Gray
  • Marifrancis Hardison
  • Joseph Hassett
  • Anita Herrick
  • Sherman E. Katz
  • Hiram Larew
  • Robert C. Liotta
  • Richard Lyon
  • Mary P. McElveen
  • Barbara Meade
  • Mary Muromcew
  • Jean Nordhaus
  • Jacqueline Quillen
  • Susan S. Rappaport
  • Heddy Reid
  • Edith Schafer
  • Dr. Marianne Schuelein
  • Amy Tercek
  • David Weisman
  • Mary-Sherman Willis