Saint Louis Poetry Center’s Observable series is back for its 18th season, and this year we are going hybrid!

The Observable series features local and national poets sharing recently published and new work. Originally started in 2003 by poet Aaron Belz, Observable is a key part of the St. Louis poetry landscape, presenting the liveliness and diversity of contemporary poetry.

Series Curators: Dana Levin & J.R. Tappenden

Akbar Photo Credit: Marlon James

Observable Readings – Fall 2021

Donika Kelly & Kaveh Akbar
Monday, September 13
7:30 p.m. (CT) – in-person at High Low + Livestream*
$5 | suggested donation

*Please note the livestream can only be viewed the night of the event.

Enjoy the livestream here:
Or here:

Observable Readings and COVID-19

The health, safety, and well-being of our audiences, visiting poets, SLPC staff & volunteers, and the St. Louis community is our top priority. Patrons attending Observable Readings in-person are required to provide upon entrance to High Low:

  • A photo ID, AND;
  • A vaccination card with name that indicates full vaccination, OR 
  • A photo of a complete vaccination card with name, OR 
  • A negative RT-PCR test taken within 72 hours of the event date, OR 
  • A negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of the event date

DONIKA KELLY is the author The Renunciations and BestiaryBestiary is the winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, a Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for Poetry, and the Kate Tufts Discovery Award. A Cave Canem graduate fellow and member of the collective Poets at the End of the World, Donika has also received a Lannan Residency Fellowship, and a summer workshop fellowship from the Fine Arts Work Center. She earned an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin and a PhD in English from Vanderbilt University. Her poems have been published in The New YorkerThe AtlanticThe Paris Review, and Foglifter. She currently lives in Iowa City and is an assistant professor in the English Department at the University of Iowa, where she teaches creative writing.

KAVEH AKBAR is the author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf (Alice James Books, 2017; Penguin UK, 2018). He is also the author of a chapbook, Portrait of the Alcoholic (Sibling Rivalry, 2017). Kaveh is the recipient of the Levis Reading Prize, Pushcart Prize, Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Poetry Fellowship, and Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. Kaveh is the founding editor of Divedapper, a home for interviews with major voices in contemporary poetry. With Sarah Kay and Claire Schwartz, he writes a weekly column for the Paris Review called “Poetry RX.” Born in Tehran, Iran, he teaches at Purdue University and in the low-residency MFA programs at Randolph College and Warren Wilson. His poems appear in The New YorkerPoetryPBS NewsHourThe New RepublicBest American PoetryThe New York Times, and elsewhere. His newest work, Pilgrim Bell, was released in August 2021 (Graywolf).

This reading series is supported in part by: