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Founded in 1974, HoCoPoLitSo is a community-based not-for-profit arts organization that produces readings and other literary events for the general public, including students, seniors, and ethnic audiences.

HoCoPoLitSo’s season is from early autumn through June and is anchored by four annual events:

  • The Lucille Clifton Reading Series – October
  • The Annual Irish Evening – February
  • The Blackbird Poetry Festival – April
  • The Columbia Festival of the Arts event – June

The season fills in with a number of other events, including the Writer-in-Residence program.

Mission Statement

Howard County Poetry & Literature Society (HoCoPoLitSo) is a nonprofit organization designed to enlarge the audience for contemporary poetry and literature and celebrate culturally diverse literary heritages. Founded in 1974 by National Book Award finalist Ellen Conroy Kennedy, HoCoPoLitSo accomplishes its mission by sponsoring readings with critically acclaimed writers; literary workshops; programs for students; and The Writing Life, a writer-to-writer interview show seen on YouTube, HCC-TV, and other local community college stations.

HoCoPoLitSo has three guiding artistic and educational goals

  1. To present high-caliber, innovative literary programs in Howard County that celebrate diverse literary heritages and foster literary appreciation in diverse populations, including varying gender, ethnic and cultural identities, age groups, and income levels;
  2. To provide programming for youth and young adults that increases literary knowledge and appreciation and enlarges the audience for contemporary poetry and literature; and
  3. To preserve, document and make broadly accessible literary programming through the HoCoPoLitSo YouTube channel, blog and recorded programming.

Reputation and Honors

  • Known for the distinction of the poets and writers it presents.
  • Recognized for programming quality, diversity and scope.
  • Called “a model for community literature programs” by the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Frequently cited for “excellence” by the Maryland State Arts Council.
  • Three editions of The Writing Life honored by the National Hometown Video Festival. Honored editions include:
    • The Writing Life: Poetry Quartet
    • The Writing Life: Reynolds Price
    • The Writing Life: Sekou Sundiata


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