Summer Salon: Three Poets in Conversation With America

July 12, 2024 @ 6:00 pm – 7:15 pm
Salem Athenaeum
337 Essex St.
MA 01970
Free to Members | $20 Non-members
Salem Athenaeum

In her poem, “What Kind of Times Are These,” Adrienne Rich asks, “ . . . so why do I tell you anything?”

Join three award-winning poets in a discussion led by Jennifer Martelli on  how their creative work becomes a conversation with America. January Gill O’Neil, Enzo Silon Surin, and Leah Umansky, will read from their latest collections that engage with our country. “Because,” as Adrienne Rich insists, “you still listen.”


January Gill O’Neil is an associate professor at Salem State University and the author of Glitter Road (February 2024), Rewilding (2018), Misery Islands (2014), and Underlife (2009), all published by CavanKerry Press. From 2012-2018, she served as the executive director of the Massachusetts Poetry Festival. Her poems and articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series, American Poetry Review, Poetry, and Sierra magazine, among others. Her poem, “At the Rededication of the Emmett Till Memorial,” was a co-winner of the 2022 Allen Ginsberg Poetry award from the Poetry Center at Passaic County Community College. The recipient of fellowships from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, Cave Canem, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Fund, O’Neil was the 2019-2020 John and Renée Grisham Writer-in-Residence at the University of Mississippi, Oxford. She currently serves as the 2022-2024 board chair of the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP).

Enzo Silon Surin is a Haitian-born award-winning poet, author, educator, publisher and social advocate. He’s taught, performed, and lectured on topics such as social justice, the immigrant experience, and racial disparities. He is the author of American Scapegoat (Black Lawrence Press, 2023) and When My Body Was A Clinched Fist (Black Lawrence Press), winner of the Massachusetts Book Award. He’s also authored two chapbooks and is co-editor of Where We Stand: Poems of Black Resilience (Cherry Castle Publishing). Surin is Publisher at Central Square Press and Founder/Executive Director at the Faraday Publishing Company, Inc.

Leah Umansky is the author of three collections of poetry, most recently, Of Tyrant (Word Works Books 2024.) She earned her MFA in Poetry at Sarah Lawrence College and has curated and hosted The COUPLET Reading Series in NYC since 2011. She is the creator of the STAY BRAVE Substack which encourages women-identifying creatives to inspire other women-identifying creatives to stay brave in their creative pursuits. Her creative work can be found in such places as The New York Times, The Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A Day, USA Today, POETRY, and American Poetry Review. She is a writing coach who has taught workshops to all ages at such places as Poets House, Hudson Valley Writers Center, Memorial Sloan Kettering and elsewhere. She is working on a fourth collection of poems Ordinary Splendor, on wonder, joy and love. She can be found at or @leah.umansky on IG.

Please enter by the Athenaeum garden the gate on Botts Ct.
(The front door will be locked at 6:00 pm.)
Please bring a folding lawn chair if you have one.
In the event of rain, the program will be held in the Athenaeum reading room.

Tickets: $20/Free to Members

Salem Athenaeum participates in Card to Culture.