Penn’s Kenneth Goldsmith to Be Part of ‘An Evening of Poetry’ at the White House

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Media Contact:Jacquie Posey | | 215-898-6460May 5, 2011

PHILADELPHIA – Kenneth Goldsmith, a faculty member with the Center for Programs in Contemporary Writing at the University of Pennsylvania, who is affiliated with Penn’s Kelly Writers house, is among those invited to read at “An Evening of Poetry” at the White House on May 11.

The event is a celebration of American poetry and prose that will include poets, musicians and artists as well as students from across the country.  In addition to Goldsmith, participants include Elizabeth Alexander, Billy Collins, Common, Rita Dove, Alison Knowles, Aimee Mann and Jill Scott, who will read, sing and showcase the impact of poetry on American culture.

President Obama will make opening remarks at the East Room event, which will be streamed live on starting at 7 p.m.

Earlier on May 11, first lady Michelle Obama will host a daytime workshop for hundreds of students from California to New York at which students will work with and learn from many of the evening’s performers. This event will be streamed live on beginning at 2 p.m.

Goldsmith's writing has been called "some of the most exhaustive and beautiful collage work yet produced in poetry" by Publishers Weekly.  He is the author of 10 books of poetry, founding editor of the online archive UbuWeb ( and the editor of “I'll Be Your Mirror: The Selected Andy Warhol Interviews,” which was the basis for an opera, "Trans-Warhol," that premiered in Geneva in March 2007.

An hour-long documentary on his work, "Sucking on Words," premiered at the British Library in 2007.

Goldsmith is a senior editor of PennSound, an online poetry archive at the University of Pennsylvania.

To hear Goldsmith on PennSound visit