POETDELPHIA is the brainchild of writers Dawn Manning, Kelly McQuain and Valerie Fox. We host quarterly readings and salon-style discussions, as well as maintain an online community through this site. At Poetdelphia, we focus on all things poetic, including reviews, writing prompts, a calendar of tri-state area writing events, and even the occasional poem or prose piece by writers featured in our reading series. We are not a poetry journal and therefore not open to unsolicited submissions, but if you know of writers who attract a following and/or would be good to showcase in our reading series, please let us know. We can be reached through email at poetdelphia@gmail.com, but the best way to get to know us is by coming to one of our events. See you there!


Dawn Manning is a writer, photographer and rogue anthropologist living in the Greater Philadelphia area.  Her poetry has received the Edith Garlow Poetry Prize, as well as many honorable mentions, and has been or will be published shortly through  bottle rocketsThe Centrifugal Eye, escarp, qarrtsiluni, Silk Road, and  other venues.  Her chapbook, Postcards from the Dead Letter Office, is forthcoming from DAT Press.  In her spare time, Dawn herds cats for a local animal rescue, Animal Friends of Lansdowne, and serves as a member of the board.  For more information, visit her at dawnmanning.com.

Kelly McQuain’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in The Philadelphia Inquirer, NPR’s Tell Me More, Bloom, Chelsea Station, Assaracus, Painted Bride Quarterly, Press 1, American Writing, Stone Highway Review,Texture, Black Heart Magazine, Transient, Apiary and Certain Circuits, earning him a “Best of the Net” nomination. His stories and essays have appeared in Kansas Quarterly/Arkansas Review, The James White Review and Icarus: the Magazine of Gay Speculative Fiction, as well as numerous anthologies: Obsessed, Skin & Ink, Rebel Yell 2, Philly Fiction 2, Best American Erotica, Rough Trade and the Lambda Literary Award-winning Men on Men 2000. He is a former contributing editor at The Harrington Gay Men’s Fiction Quarterly and Art & Understanding (A&U). He has won writing fellowships from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and he serves on the “One Book, One Philadelphia” Selection Committee in Philadelphia. Currently a professor of English, his occasional columns on city life debuted in The Philadelphia Inquirer in July 2012. Learn more at www.kellymcquain.wordpress.com.

Valerie Fox’s The Glass Book, was published by Texture Press (2010). Other books include The Rorschach Factory (Straw Gate Books, 2006), and Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (a compilation with Arlene Ang, Texture Press, 2008). She was a founding coeditor of Press 1 [www.leafscape.org/press1].

Most recently, she published Poems for the Writing: Prompts for Poets, co-written with Lynn Levin. For more information about this craft-book and ideas for writing, check out www.poemsforthewriting.com


I knew Valerie Fox from back when I was in grad school at Temple University and we both taught in the English Department. We became lifelong friends and worked on several projects together over the years, including editing and publishing an anthology of collaborative poetry called Synergism. Eventually Valerie moved to Japan to teach.

One summer (it must have been 2000), she attended UNO’s summer workshop and conference, held in Prague at the time. It was through Valerie, that I learned about the Univ. of New Orleans’ low-residency program. I went to Prague in 2001, and have fond memories of attending sessions at Charles University with amazing views of the castle that sits on a steep hill in the center of town. I eventually earned an additional degree through UNO, a terminal MFA. Since then, I’ve occasionally attended post-graduate conferences through UNO during the summer.

That’s where I met Dawn Manning. I introduced Dawn and Valerie in the spring of 2012. We all live in or near Philadelphia, our inspiration for the Poetdelphia site.

I’ve met with both Valerie and Dawn individually to workshop poems, always finding their critiques insightful and of much value. In March 2012, Dawn and I hosted a reading by Shelley Puhak, John Gery and Jeni Stewart at Moonstone Arts in Center City, Philadelphia (all of them are a part of our UNO connection). Following that event, Dawn and I started talking about hosting a possible reading series on a more regular basis.

The idea brewed and boiled. It was around this time I introduced Valerie and Dawn. My initial name idea, “Poetrydelphia” (borrowed from a 2010 column in the Inquirer by John Timpane) got elided by Dawn to Poetdelphia (she has a way of shaving off the unnecessary, which makes her a great editor friend). A tea and coffee shop in Queen Village, Cups & Chairs, seemed the perfect set-up for a crowd of writers. After a planning meeting at Sabrina’s Cafe in the Italian Market one hot July afternoon, we adjourned to Cups & Chairs to make a final decision on the venue. A date was set with Kylie, the Cups & Chairs owner. We began to line up writers for our September debut, with plans to hold readings and/or workshops approximately once a quarter. We hope to make Poetdelphia a hub for celebrating fine writing and we hope to connect writers from Philadelphia and beyond. Philadelphia is a city rich in history and rich with writers. We hope Poetdelphia makes history of its own!

–Kelly McQuain, July 2012

2 thoughts on “About

  1. Pingback: Introducing POETDELPHIA! | Poetdelphia

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