Meryl Streep, Ariana DeBose, Tony Kushner & More to Take Part in 92NY Unterberg Poetry Center's 84th Season

Stars taking part also include Edie Falco, Zoe Kazan, Corey Hawkins, and more.

By: Jan. 17, 2023
Meryl Streep, Ariana DeBose, Tony Kushner & More to Take Part in 92NY Unterberg Poetry Center's 84th Season

The 92NY Unterberg Poetry Center's 84th season will continue with a Winter/Spring lineup featuring beloved playwrights and actors, critically-acclaimed novelists and poets - and tribute events centered on Gwendolyn Brooks, John Guare and Philip Roth, among others.

Season details can be found below. For more information, visit Press tickets are available upon request.


WITH Tony Kushner, Meryl Streep, Ben Stiller, Ariana DeBose,
Paul Dano, Suzan-Lori Parks,
Edie Falco, Linda Lavin, Zoe Kazan,
Kenneth Lonergan, Amy Herzog,
Elizabeth Marvel,
Corey Hawkins AND OTHERS

In Person

Mon, Feb 6, 7:30 pm, From $40

An evening of words and music in celebration of playwright John Guare, whose theatrical works include Two Gentlemen of Verona, Lydie Breeze, Six Degrees of Separation, The House of Blue Leaves and Landscape of the Body . Tony Kushner cobbled together the lineup for this event, and he will produce it. Kushner wrote: "So enormous is the esteem in which I hold the Great Guare and his monumentally important body of work. Like Williams, he figured out a way for Americans to do a kind of stage poetry. There are astonishingly beautiful things in his plays."

Other performers and participants include: Meryl Streep, Ben Stiller, Ariana DeBose, Paul Dano, Suzan-Lori Parks, Linda Lavin, Dylan Baker, Kenneth Lonergan, Edie Falco, Zoe Kazan, Elizabeth Marvel, Stephen Adly Giurgis, Bill Camp, Camryn Manheim, Becky Ann Baker, Corey Hawkins, Linda Emond and Ato Blankson-Wood.

A READING BY Roslyn Ruff


In Person

Thurs, Feb 23, 7:30 pm, From $20

What she liked was candy buttons, and books, and painted music (deep blue, or delicate silver), and the west sky...Join us for a rare reading of Gwendolyn Brooks's first and only novel, Maud Martha- an "exquisite portraiture of black womanhood by one of America's most foundational writers" (Claudia Rankine). This reading, which marks the 70th anniversary of Maud Martha's publication in 1953, is by acclaimed actor Roslyn Ruff, "a fantastically talented performer whose great gift is her ability to dissect long speeches, searching them for pleasing rhythms and hidden melodies," wrote The New Yorker.

"Maud Martha cherishes her own mind. To her, Brooks gives the sensibility and consciousness of an artist," wrote Margo Jefferson. "What does Maud Martha want? She wants to give shape to the varied materials of life around and inside her. The daydreams and duties, the nagging habits and treasured rituals, the 'knots of grief' and surges of pleasure. Her quest is to become the best possible version of herself."

*This event will take place at NYPL's Bruno Walter Auditorium (111 Amsterdam Ave.).


In Person and Online

Thu, Mar 2, 7:30 PM, From $20

An evening of reading and conversation with two award-winning biographers and historians: Stacy Schiff (The Revolutionary: Samuel Adams) and Kerri Greenidge (The Grimkes: The Legacy of Slavery in an American Family).

"Schiff's previous books [on Cleopatra, The Witches, Véra Nabokov and Antoine De Saint-Exupery] offer complex, thoroughly imagined, stylishly written portraits of figures whose histories have previously been subsumed in a murk of myth or otherwise obscured," wrote Ruth Franklin. In her new book, she reintroduces readers to the shrewd, eloquent and intensely disciplined man who supplied the moral backbone of the American Revolution.

Wrote Ron Chernow: "For too long, Adams has evaded historians, but Schiff draws him from the shadows. This is a time for Americans to meditate on the fate of their republic and no better place to start than here, at the beginning, with this book."

Kerri K. Greenidge, whose previous book, Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter, won the 2020 Mark Lynton History Prize, now publishes The Grimkes, a landmark biography of the most important multiracial American family of the nineteenth century. It is "remarkable for its deft storytelling; its intelligent interweaving of themes such as slavery and abolitionism, race and gender, family and high society; and its definitive painting of an extraordinary American family across multiple generations," wrote Gene Andrew Jarrett.



In Person and Online

Mon, Mar 13, 7:30 PM, From $20

Join in for a dramatic reading from Franz Kafka's Diaries, now published in a complete and newly translated edition by Ross Benjamin. Dating from 1909 to 1923, the handwritten diaries contain various kinds of writing: accounts of daily events, reflections, observations, literary sketches, drafts of letters, accounts of dreams and finished stories. "This new and scrupulously faithful translation of the Diaries brings us, unembellished by theory, the true inner life of the twentieth century's most complex and enigmatic literary prophet," wrote Cynthia Ozick. "Kafka's very name has come to us as symbol and vision of innocent vulnerability in the face of irrational force. Yet warns: beware interpretation!"

Philip Roth'S

A LITERARY PERFORMANCE CO-PRESENTED WITH NJPAC, FEATURING: Mary-Louise Parker, Tony Shalhoub, John Douglas Thompson, S. Epatha Merkerson, Marjan Neshat, DEIRDRE O'CONNELL AND OTHERS

In Person

Sun, Mar 19, 1 PM, $99

Join in for a landmark reading of The Plot Against America, Philip Roth's timely and timeless masterwork, by some of the country's finest actors. The reading, part of NJPAC's "Roth Unbound" festival (and taking place at NJPAC), consists of three 90-minute acts with two intermissions. James Shapiro, the renowned Shakespeare scholar, assembled the abridgment.

Set in Newark, New Jersey, in the 1940s, The Plot Against America tells the story of what it was like for the (fictional) Roth family and Jews across the country when the isolationist and "America First" aviation hero Charles Lindbergh was elected president of the United States. "Fear presides over these memories, a perpetual fear," is the opening line of the novel, voiced by seven-year-old Philip. The Plot Against America's chilling resonances with our contemporary political climate-along with Roth's deeply moving coming-of age-story-have made this remarkable novel a new classic. *This event will take place at NJPAC, 1 Center St., Newark, NJ.


In Person and Online
Thu, Mar 30, 7:30 PM, From $20
Clint Smith, whose recent nonfiction bestseller How the Word Is Passed won the National Book Critics Circle Award, now publishes Above Ground , his second collection of poems. "Smith is a marvelous poet," wrote Ilya Kaminsky. "This is a beautiful, vivid book, where 'grandfather is a fist / full of embers' and a dance party becomes a life-giving ceremony, and Andromeda Galaxy, 2.5 million light years away, is reason enough to spark a love note. Much to love in this poetry collection, lyric keeping us above the ground, rooted into our world, blessed to be alive."


In Person and Online

Mon, Apr 10, 7:30 pm ET, From $20

Ama Codjoe is the author of Bluest Nude, a collection that investigates what it means to be seen by others as well as that most intimate, singular spectacle of looking at oneself. "Sensual, sound-driven and brimming with a necessary truth, these poems are pulsating with both grief and beauty. She has written a true triumph of a debut that feels urgent and deeply human," wrote Ada Limón.

Carl Phillips's most recent books include Then the War, a collection of poems; and My Trade Is Mystery: Seven Meditations from a Life in Writing, a series of essays on his experiences as a writer and mentor. "More than a craft book, it is a reminder of the restlessness and recklessness that call many of us to keep doing the things we're drawn to," wrote Reginald Dwayne Betts.


In Person and Online
Thu, Apr 20, 7:30 PM, From $20
Quiara Alegría Hudes's new play is My Broken Language, an adaptation of her memoir. Her credits also include the Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Water by the Spoonful, and the Tony Award-winning musical, In the Heights. "She is in her own league. Her sentences will take your breath away. How lucky we are to have her telling our stories," wrote Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Willie Perdomo's books include Smoking Lovely: The Remix, The Crazy Bunch and The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. "Perdomo is an electric poet. His poems crackle with energy. The poet knows his beloved barrio, what to celebrate and what to condemn. There is raw pain in this voice, and much more: humor, irony, music, intelligence," wrote Martín Espada.

Catherine Lacey AND MIRIAM TOEWS

In Person and Online

Thu, May 11, 7:30 PM, From $20

Catherine Lacey, whose previous works of fiction include Pew and Nobody Is Ever Missing, now publishes Biography of X- a roaring epic chronicling the life, times and secrets of a notorious artist. "It is the most ambitious book I've ever read from a writer of my own generation," wrote Torrey Peters. Miriam Toews, whose previous novel, Women Talking , was recently adapted into a film by Sarah Polley, is now the author of Fight Night. "Her books are steeped in family grief, but somehow these stories are delivered with a mouthful of ash and a lopsided grin, a stubborn sense of the absurd that recalls Philip Larkin and Lorrie Moore and feels like proof of life," wrote Parul Sehgal.



In Person and Online

Mon, May 15, 7:30 PM, Free

92NY's Discovery Poetry Contest recognizes the work of poets who have not yet published a book. This free reading features the four poets who will have won the 2023 contest. 92NY's Discovery Poetry Contest has long recognized the exceptional work of poets who have not yet published a book. Many of these writers-John Ashbery, Mark Strand, Lucille Clifton, Ellen Bryant Voigt, Brigit Pegeen Kelly, Mary Jo Bang and Solmaz Sharif, among others-have gone on to become leading voices of their generations.


In Person and Online

Thu, May 18, 7:30 PM, From $20

American Modern Opera Company (AMOC)-the enterprising artistic collective and masters of interdisciplinary experimentation-presents the New York premiere of a new work in collaboration with 92NY's Unterberg Poetry Center. The echoing of tenses is a new staged song cycle with music by acclaimed composer Anthony Cheung and poems by seven of today's most compelling Asian-American poets, including Jennie Xie, Ocean Vuong, Arthur Sze, Monica Youn and others. Their texts, which are sung, spoken and interwoven throughout the production, are connected by the themes of memory, identity and assimilation. The performances are by tenor Paul Appleby, violinist Miranda Cuckson and pianist Conor Hanick.


In Person and Online

Wed, June 21, 7:30 PM, From $20
Lorrie Moore's much-anticipated new novel is I Am Homeless If This Is Not My Home -a daring, meditative exploration of love and death, passion and grief, and what it means to be haunted by the past. "Moore's voice is singular and irreproducible and always clearest in her many brilliant works of fiction, which are an endlessly rich and renewing source of pleasure and inspiration," wrote Lauren Groff. "How lucky we are to be able to hold such beauty in our hands and let it sing inside us."

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