Upcoming Events

2013/14 Season

Upcoming Events:

billy-collins-2012-4485th Annual Blackbird Poetry Festival
With Billy Collins

Thursday,  April 24, 2014 • 7:30 p.m.
Smith Theatre • HCC

The Nightbird reading featuring two-term National Poet Laureate Billy Collins closes the annual Blackbird Poetry Festival. Called “the most popular poet in America” by The New York Times, Collins headlines the festival, which this year has the theme Poetry Unmasked.

“Billy Collins is famous for conversational, witty poems that welcome readers with humor,” writes The Poetry Foundation, “but often slip into quirky, tender or profound observation on the everyday, reading and writing, and poetry itself.”

Purchase Billy Collins Tickets


Book Preview: Katia D. Ulysse and Drifiting

Thursday,  June 25, 2014 • 7:30 p.m.
Smith Theatre • HCC

2014 Columbia Festvial KatiaDUlysse_colorphoto (2) Katia D. Ulysse is an intense new voice from Baltimore whose debut novel, Drifting, will be released in July. A recently discovered talent, Ulysse was invited by National Book Award-winning novelist Edwidge Danticat to be included in her Haiti Noir anthology. Drifting takes the reader from Haiti to the United States and back. Set before, during, and after the catastrophic 2010 earthquake in Haiti, it is the story of upended lives and the irony that comes with seeking to escape tragedy, including closer looks at a ruthless entrepreneur, a mother of three desperate to join her husband abroad, and an elderly woman who seeks the help of a vodun priest to help “fix” her dying husband.

2014 Columbia Festival Drifting Photo (2)“Drifting is a remarkable debut by a phenomenal writer. Much like Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street, this sublime and powerful book allows us to experience the joys and tragedies of ordinary and extraordinary lives, in small neighborhoods and big cities, in the present and the past. Katia D. Ulysse’s talent soars higher and higher to expand both our hearts and our universe.” —Edwidge Danticat, author of Claire of the Sea Light.

Katia D. Ulysse Book Preview on June 25, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., followed by a book signing. The event takes place at Monteabaro Hall in the Horowitz Center at Howard Community College as part of the annual Columbia Festival of the Arts.Tickets are $15.

Tickets will soon be available through the Columbia Festival of the Arts website.


Already this season:

Siobhan Fallon – Howard County Book Connection Project

SiobhanFallonOctober 15, 2013 • 12:30 pm
Howard Community College Event
Smith Theatre

October 15, 2013 • 7 – 8:30 pm
A Howard County Library Event
Miller Library

Siobhan Fallon presents You Know When the Men Are Gone, her award-winning debut collection of short stories about the families of Fort Hood, Texas during an Army brigade’s deployment to Iraq. The New York Journal of Books called the collection, “the explosive sort of literary triumph that appears only every few years.” Honors and awards include Best Book of 2011 by The San Francisco Chronicle, Self Magazine, Los Angeles Public Library, and Janet Maslin of The New York Times; a 2012 Indies Choice Honor Award; the Texas Institute of Letters Award for First Fiction; and the 2012 Pen Center USA Literary Award in Fiction.

Presented by the Howard County Book Connection in partnership with HoCoPoLitSo.


Vaddey Ratner

Ratner-emerges-from-Shadow-of-her-childhood-DS21DF29-x-largeOctober 22, 2013 • 7 – 8:30 pm
A Howard County Library Event
East Columbia Library

A survivor of the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, Vaddey Ratner wrote The New York Times bestseller In the Shadow of the Banyan. A descendant of King Sisowath, Ratner and her mother escaped Cambodia in 1979, although many family members perished. Based on that childhood experience, her debut novel explores the unbreakable bonds of family and the power of stories to transcend loss and suffering.

Selected as a finalist for both the 2013 PEN/Hemingway Award and the 2013 Indies Choice Book of the Year, In the Shadow of the Banyan was a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice and appears on multiple lists of the best books of 2012, including The Christian Science Monitor and Kirkus Reviews.

Presented by the Howard County Library in partnership with HoCoPoLitSo.


The Third Annual Lucille Clifton Poetry Series

Telling Our Stories – Michael S. Glaser Celebrates
Lucille Clifton and Poetry Teaching

Join us on November 9th for a two-part event celebrating the poetry of Lucille Clifton and the teaching of poetry with Michael Glaser.

“…writing is a way of continuing to hope … perhaps for me it is a way of remembering
I am not alone.”

– Lucille Clifton, from her interview with Michael S. Glaser in Antioch Review

Part 1:  A Poetry Workshop for Teachers

10:30 a.m.-3 p.m.
Duncan Hall, Room 202
Howard Community College

Michael S. Glaser leads English and language arts teachers in a poetry workshop inspired by the work of Lucille Clifton.

Some participants will read at the evening event. Lunch served. Space limited and registration is required.

Visit poetryworkshopforteachers.eventbrite.com to register.

Part 2: Michael S. Glaser Reading & Tribute to Lucille Clifton

“Glaser views his work as an exercise in honesty, rarely practiced on the more flip side of popular culture. ‘When we can no longer recognize authentic, truthfully spoken language, we become lost as a civilization,’ he says.” The Baltimore Sun

mglaserFormer Poet Laureate of Maryland, Michael S. Glaser was a longtime friend of the late Lucille Clifton. A recipient of the Homer Dodge Endowed Award for Excellence in Teaching, Glaser has also received the Columbia Merit Award for service to poetry, and Loyola College’s Andrew White Medal for commitment to sustaining the poetic tradition in Maryland. Glaser served as a Maryland State Arts Council poet-in-the-schools for more than 25 years.  He is the author of several books of poetry and an editor of two books on Lucille Clifton.

CollectedLucilleBeloved poet and national treasure Lucille Clifton was a HoCoPoLitSo board member until her passing in 2010. Along with Carolyn Kizer, she was the first poet to read for HoCoPoLitSo, in 1974. She was a National Book Award winner and two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist.

7:30-9 p.m., followed by a book signing and reception
Monteabaro Recital Hall, Horowitz Center

Limited seating. Advance reservations are requested at lucillecliftonpoetryseries.eventbrite.com.

A presentation of HoCoPoLitSo. Co-presented by Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Columbia, MD Alumnae Chapter.


Stuart Isacoff

“How Music Became a Battleground
for the Great Minds of Western Civilization”

Temperament Through Time with Stuart Isacoff

Friday, February 21, 2014  – 2p.m. Free
Smith Theatre • HCC


Few music lovers realize that the arrangement of notes on today’s pianos was once regarded as a crime against God and nature.  The relationship between the notes of the musical scale was seen as a key to the very nature of the universe.  The contentious adoption of the modern tuning system known as equal temperament called into question beliefs that had lasted nearly two millennia.  Stuart Isacoff leads us through the battles over that scale, placing them in the context of quarrels in the worlds of art, philosophy, religion, politics and science.

Stuart Isacoff is a regular contributor on music and art to The Wall Street Journal and is a winner of the prestigious ASCAP Deems Taylor Award for excellence in writing about music.

Temperament book cover“Charming…a whirlwind tour of Western culture’s big ideas.” The Los Angeles Times

“An immensely entertaining, original and informative book.” The Economist

“…aspects  of science, philosophy, history, poetry, and music in a compact yet compelling narrative.” Library Journal

“Isacoff untangles the complexities of this issue with the aplomb of a virtuoso pianist playing scales. He makes an erudite and amiable companion.” NYT Book Review

Following Isacoff’s lecture/demonstration, he will be interviewed on stage by Anne Midgette, classical music critic for The Washington Post. Midgette has co-authored two biographies, one on Luciano Pavarotti and his long-time manager and one on pianist Leon Fleisher.

HoCoPoLitSo presents this event in partnership with Candlelight Concert Society and Howard Community College.


36th Annual Irish Evening
With Paula Meehan & Theo Dorgan

Friday, March 14, 2014  • 7:30 p.m.

Smith Theatre • HCC

MeehanDurganPoets Paula Meehan and Theo Dorgan will read from their latest works followed by a concert of traditional Irish music with Narrowbacks and step dancers from the Culkin School.
Dublin’s informal poet laureate, Ms. Meehan was recently named Irish Professor of Poetry. The post was created following the late Seamus Heaney’s Nobel Prize for literature in 1998. She is only the second women appointed to this position.

Theo Dorgan, a former director of Poetry Ireland, is also a poet, playwright, translator, editor and broadcaster. In 2010 he received The O’Shaughnessy Prize For Irish Poetry.


Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Tuesday, March 25, 2014  –   7 -9 p.m. Free.
A Howard County Library Event
Miller Branch

americanah.qxd:Layout 1An acclaimed, award-winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s dazzling new novel Americanah spans three continents with a story of love and race. It won the 2013 Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize for Fiction. She has also written Purple Hibiscus, winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award; and Half of a Yellow Sun, which won the Orange Prize and was a National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist, a New York Times Notable Book, and a People and Black Issues Book Review Best Book of the Year. Adichie is also the author of the short story collection The Thing Around Your Neck.

Her work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared in various publications, including The New Yorker, Granta, The O. Henry Prize Stories, The Financial Times, and Zoetrope. A recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, Adichie divides her time between the United States and Nigeria

Click here to register for this free event. Registration opens on 2/21/2014 at 10 a.m. Presented in partnership with the Howard County Library System.