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Unknown Flower with Gregory Pardlo & Cynthia Dewi Oka


Unknown Flower is a monthly poetry reading series at the Nick Virgilio Writers House in Camden, NJ. The series takes its name from a haiku Nick Virgilio wrote for his younger brother who died in the Vietnam War: “deep in rank grass, / through a bullet-riddled helmet: / an unknown flower”. We’ll gather together monthly to celebrate poetry that pierces through what would destroy, that survives and thrives, that blooms despite. 

This event is free. A brief open mic will follow the featured readers. 


GREGORY PARDLO’s collection Digest (Four Way Books) won the 2015 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His other honors include fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts and the New York Foundation for the Arts; his first collection Totem was selected by Brenda Hillman for the APR/Honickman Prize in 2007. He is Poetry Editor of Virginia Quarterly Review and currently teaches in the graduate writing program at Rutgers-Camden University. Air Traffic, a memoir in essays, was released by Knopf in April. 

CYNTHIA DEWI OKA is the author of Salvage: Poems (Northwestern University Press, 2017) and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (Thread Makes Blanket, 2016). Her work has appeared in ESPNW, Hyperallergic, Guernica, Academy of American Poets, American Poetry Review, Kenyon Review, The Massachusetts Review, Hot Metal Bridge, Painted Bride Quarterly, and elsewhere. With community partner Asian Arts Initiative, she created Sanctuary: A Migrant Poetry Workshop for immigrant poets in Philadelphia. She has received scholarships from VONA and the Vermont Studio Center, the Fifth Wednesday Journal Editor's Prize in Poetry, and the Leeway Foundation's Transformation Award. She is originally from Bali, Indonesia.   

Later Event: March 6
Calm & Quiet