Poetry Day at the Hen House

Saturday, November 9th

When we moved our reading series online, we promised we would still have local events from time to time, and our poetry day at Red Hen Press’s Hen House is the next installment. We’ll feature a reading by two of the best poets from recent issues, and each of them will be holding an intimate writing workshop beforehand.

10 a.m. – Noon | Writing Workshops with Francesca Bell & A.M. Juster

Noon – 1 p.m. | Lunch Break
No food is provided; bring your own lunch!

1 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. | Poetry Reading & Open Mic
Featuring A.M. Juster & Francesca Bell, open mic sign-up at the door. (free & open to the public)

The Red Hen Press Hen House
1540 Lincoln Ave.
Pasadena, California (map)


Francesca BellFrancesca Bell was born in Spokane, Washington, into a family with deep, hardscrabble roots in the Northwest. Her poems and translations appear in many magazines including ELLE, Mid-American Review, New Ohio Review, North American Review, and Prairie Schooner. She’s also appeared in many issues of Rattle, was the featured conversation in issue #56, and won the 2014 Neil Postman Award for Metaphor. She is the co-translator of Palestinian poet Shatha Abu Hnaish’s collection, A Love That Hovers Like a Bedeviling Mosquito (Dar Fadaat, 2017), and the author of Bright Stain (Red Hen Press, 2019). For more information, visit her website.

Workshop: “Scavenging for Inspiration: Finding Poetry in News, Science, and Other Odd Places”

In this generative workshop, we will explore poems written using news stories, weird facts, even overheard questions as jumping-off points, as openings into literature. Begin to learn how to find poetry anywhere and explore how to repurpose what is scattered across the public domain for your own work. Prompts to nudge us into free-writing will be provided, so be sure to bring your favorite writing materials.


A.M. JusterA.M. Juster is the pen name of Michael Astrue, who worked in all three branches of the federal government and served four presidents in senior roles, including a six-year term as Commissioner of Social Security. He won the Richard Wilbur Award for his first book of original poetry, The Secret Language of Women (University of Evansville Press, 2003), and is the only three-time winner of the Howard Nemerov Sonnet Award. His other books include Saint Aldhelm’s Riddles (University of Toronto Press, 2015), Sleaze & Slander (Measure Press, 2016), and The Billy Collins Experience (Kelsay Books, 2016). A winner of the Barnstone Translation Prize for a Middle Welsh translation, his fifth book of translated poetry, The Elegies of Maximianus, ws published by the University of Pennsylvania Press. He has won many awards for his work on behalf of people with disabilities, including the Alzheimer’s Association’s Humanitarian of the Year Award. Juster is poetry editor of First Things and overtweets about formal poetry @amjuster. His poems have also appeared frequently in Rattle, and was the featured conversation in issue #55. He’ll be reading from his next book for the first time, Wonder and Wrath (Paul Dry Books late 2020/early 2021).

Workshop: “Use and Abuse of Metaphor”

In this workshop, we’ll sidestep theory in order to take a hard look at practical issues involving metaphor for the practicing poet. The workshop will involve analysis of a few poems and several exercises designed to make participants think a little harder each time a poem seems to call for a leap to metaphor. No advance preparation is required, but bring your favorite writing materials.

Register for Either Morning Workshop through Red Hen Press:


(click here to register)