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NY State Poet: Willie Perdomo

August 19 @ 7:00 pm 8:00 pm

Every two years, the NY State Writers Institute in Albany gives a prestigious honor to an author and a poet living in New York State. The 2021-2022 State poet, Willie Perdomo, will perform at the Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake on Friday, August 19, at 7PM.

Perdomo will be joined by fiction writer Gwen E. Kirby, author of the outstanding SHIT CASSANDRA SAW (Penguin, 2022). Kirby is a visiting faculty member for the Kickass Writers Festival. This event is a collaboration between ACW and the NY State Writers Institute in Albany.


WILLIE PERDOMO is a prize-winning poet and children’s book author who examines and celebrates the Nuyorican and Afro-Latino experience, primarily in his home neighborhood of Spanish Harlem. His poetry collections include Where a Nickel Costs a Dime (1996), a finalist for the Poetry Society of America Norma Farber First Book Award; Smoking Lovely (2004, revised 2021), winner of the PEN/Open Book Award; The Essential Hits of Shorty Bon Bon (2014), a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist, and The Crazy Bunch (2019), which chronicles a weekend in the life of a group of East Harlem friends in the 1990s. Perdomo is also the co-editor of a recent anthology, Latínext (2020), a celebration of work by emerging Latinx poets who represent an array of nationalities, genders, sexualities, races, and writing styles. A core faculty member at VONA/Voices of our Nation Writing Workshop, he teaches at Phillips Exeter Academy.

GWEN E. KIRBY’S debut collection Shit Cassandra Saw is available from Penguin Books wherever books are sold. She hails from San Diego and is a proud graduate of Carleton College. She has an MFA from Johns Hopkins University and a PhD from the University of Cincinnati. Currently, she is the Associate Director of Programs and Finance for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference at the University of the South, where she also teaches creative writing. Kirby’s stories appear or are forthcoming in One Story, Tin HouseGuernica, Mississippi ReviewNinth LetterBlackbirdSmokeLong Quarterly, and elsewhere. Guest editor Aimee Bender selected her story “Shit Cassandra Saw . . .” for Best Small Fictions 2018 and it also appears in the 2018 Wigleaf Top 50. Her story “Midwestern Girl Is Tired of Appearing in Your Short Stories” won the 2017 DISQUIET Literary Prize for Fiction. She has received two Pushcart Prize special mentions and has been awarded scholarships to the Rivendell Writers’ Colony and the Sundress Academy for the Arts. She was the 2018-2019 George Bennett Fellow at Phillips Exeter Academy.