Philadelphia Poet Laureate Celebrates National Poetry Month with Outbound Poetry Festival

Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher takes poetry to the people with 30th Street Station as a poetry festival venue.

For two weeks in April, Philadelphia’s 30th Street Station will transform into a poetry and music venue for the city’s first-ever Outbound Poetry Festival. Curated by Philadelphia Poet Laureate Yolanda Wisher as her signature project, Outbound will run April 10-21 and will feature poets and musicians from the Mid-Atlantic and Virginia whose styles and voices celebrate the diversity of Philadelphia.

Wisher said she chose 30th Street Station, an Amtrak and regional commuter rail station located at 30th and Market Streets, because it serves as “one of the crossroads of the city.”

“It’s one of the city’s hearts where different kinds of folks cross paths and mingle,” she said. Wisher and other organizers hope that people passing through the station and people who make their way to the venue specifically for the Outbound Poetry Festival “will get the pleasure of spontaneous, unexpected poetry or poetry in an unexpected place, as well as a glimpse into the richness of Philly’s poetry scene.”

According to Wisher, poets in the festival were chosen for the diversity in their cultural backgrounds, neighborhoods, connection to Philadelphia during different time periods in the city’s history and their work with different populations in the city. Additionally, several of the poets creative writing and performances are interdisciplinary: Denice Frohman incorporates linguistics, the Twin Poets law and politics, Tim Seibles and Yolanda Wisher history, and Tracie Morris classics and linguistics. The event also is intergenerational; Otter Jung-Allen Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate, is included among the performers.

Outbound Poetry Festival is free and open to the public.  Readings will take place in 30th Street’s South Waiting Room Monday-Friday at 4:52 pm, from April 10-14 and 17-21. Saturday, April 15, will feature musical performances beginning 2:35 p.m. A complete schedule of readings and performances is available here.