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New Queens College MFA Program - Queens Borough Public Library Alliance Welcomes QC Poets and Writers to Library Reading Series

--Queens College MFA Faculty and Alumni Will Participate in Monthly “Open Mic” Events

At Queens Library in Jamaica
and Offer a Poetry Workshop During National Poetry Month

FLUSHING, N.Y., February 8, 2011—A new partnership between Queens College and Queens Library at Central will complement the library’s “Open Mic for Poets” series by featuring readings and presentations by Queens College professors and alumni of the college’s MFA Program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation.

Already an established borough favorite, the Open Mic series presents a featured reader one Sunday a month from October through June, with time set side at each event for library patrons to read their poetry and listen to fellow poets read from their work. Queens College participants will appear as featured readers from February through June, with an alum of the MFA program teaching a poetry workshop during National Poetry Month in April. “We’ve really wanted to engage borough residents in the MFA program’s work and this is a wonderful opportunity to exchange poems, ideas and perspectives,” says Queens College MFA in Creative Writing Program Director Nicole Cooley.      

Queens College offers the only MFA in Creative Writing in the borough, giving a diverse student body the opportunity to work closely with award-winning faculty members who are also committed teachers. Faculty include novelist John Weir, winner of the Lambda Literary Award; poet and translator Roger Sedarat, winner of the Hollis Summers Prize in poetry; playwright Richard Schotter, Obie Award nominee and Berman Playwriting Prize winner; poet Kimiko Hahn, winner of the American Book Award in poetry; MFA Director Nicole Cooley, winner of the Walt Whitman Award in poetry; and poet and novelist Jeff Allen, winner of the Heartland Prize for Fiction. For more information, visit

“We look forward to this new partnership—something we did not have a chance to do in the past—and also invite all Queens College students to read their poetry or come just to enjoy the program,” says Assistant Division Manager for Literature and Languages Jean Rene. 

Queens Library is an independent, not-for-profit corporation and is not affiliated with any other library. It serves a population of 2.3 million from 62 locations, including seven adult learning centers and two family literacy centers, in the most ethnically diverse county in the nation. With 23 million items in circulation for the fiscal year 2010, the library has among the highest circulations of any public library system in the world and is one of the largest public libraries in the United States in terms of the size of its collections. For more information, visit  

The Open Mic series is held in the Auditorium of the Central Library at 89-11 Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica. Participants are invited to read from their work and listen to fellow poets beginning at 2 pm (doors open at 1:30 pm). The featured reader is usually a published poet who reads from their work from 3 – 3:30 pm and then engages the audience in a Q&A session and discussion until 4 pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

Central Library 2011 Events in Partnership with the Queens College MFA Program February 13: Peter Vanderberg. Vanderberg served as an officer in the US Navy from 1999-2003 and earned an MFA from Queens College. His work has appeared in the New York Times, Hunger Mountain, Four and Twenty and other journals. He is currently a high school teacher in Astoria.  

March 20: Nicole Cooley. Cooley is a Professor of English and Creative Writing at Queens College where she directs the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation. An award-winning poet and author, her most recent book, Breach, is a collection of poems about Hurricane Katrina and the Gulf Coast. She is completing a new collection of poems, Artificial Curiosities and a cross-genre project, The Flood Notebooks.

April 10: John Reid Currie. MFA graduate Currie is a former writer-in-residence at the Louis Armstrong House Museum and Archives who has read from his work at several New York City venues. He has taught hand papermaking at the American Museum of Natural History, the New York Public Library and elsewhere throughout the city. Mr. Currie’s poetry is featured in Greenwich Village, published by St. Martin’s Griffen.

April Poetry Workshop in Celebration of National Poetry Month: MFA graduate Michael Alpiner will lead a workshop on poetry writing. Alpiner has been writing poetry and teaching English for over 20 years and has published work in Jewish Currents, Soul Fountain, Time Being Books (Blood to Remember), New Works Review and The Verse Marauder. Pebbles from the Village is his poetry memoir of his family's European immigrant experience.

May 15: Stefanie Lipsey. Stefanie Lipsey is a 2010 graduate of the MFA program in Creative Writing and Literary Translation. She holds a masters degree in Library and Information Sciences and a bachelors in music and currently works as a librarian on Long Island. Lipsey’s poems have been published in several journals and she has been a featured reader and workshop leader in libraries and bookstores throughout New York City and Long Island.  

June 12: Roger Sedarat. Roger Sedarat is an award-winning author of several poetry collections. His poems and literary translations have appeared in such journals as New England Review, World Literature Today, Zoland Poetry, Green Mountains Review, and Drunken Boat. He has received four scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference as well as a grant from the St. Botolph Society. He teaches poetry and translation in the MFA program at Queens College.


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