Visiting Poet

April is National Poetry Month and Georgian Court celebrates by hosting a Visiting Poet. The occasion is marked by a reading and oftentimes a session talking craft, creative writing workshop, or student-led interview. Distinguished guests have included Allen Ginsberg, Billy Collins, Maria Mazzioti Gallan, David Amram, Kirsten Kaschock, Rachel Wiley, Tracy K. Smith, and Patricia Smith (and many more!) Events are free and open to the public. Check back here for an announcement of our 2024 Visiting Poet.

Darla Himeles, Visiting Poet 2024

photo of poet Darla Himeles

Darla Himeles is a Philadelphia-based poet, translator, and essayist who was raised in Dallas and Los Angeles. A Pushcart-Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee, Darla can be read in recent and forthcoming issues of Lesbians are Miracles, Orange Blossom Review, The Massachusetts Review, The Night Heron Barks, New Ohio Review, and NAILED. Darla holds an AB in English from Bryn Mawr College, an MFA in poetry and poetry in translation from Drew University, and a PhD in American literature from Temple University, where she works as the assistant director of the university’s writing center and teaches undergraduate poetry workshops. A 2018 K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award recipient, Darla is the author of the chapbook Flesh Enough (Get Fresh Books, 2017) and the full-length poetry collection Cleave (Get Fresh Books, 2021).


book cover cleave
Visiting poet invite
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Nicole Homer, Visiting Poet 2023

Nicole Homer is an Associate Professor of English at a community college in Central New Jersey. They are a poet, writer, and performer whose work can be found in the American Academy of Poets Poem-a-Day, Muzzle, The Offing, Rattle, The Collagist and elsewhere. A fellow of The Watering Hole, Callaloo and VONA, Nicole serves as a Contributing Editor at BlackNerdProblems writing pop culture critique through a POC lens.

Their award-winning collection, Pecking Order (Write Bloody) is an unflinching look at how race and gender politics play out in the domestic sphere.

She is honored to have shared stages with poets in slams across the country, to be the 2018 Dartmouth Poet-in-Residence at The Frost Place, to be a 2020 Fellowship from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, and to be alive.

Picture of Nicole Homer Visiting Poet

2023 Visiting Poet: Nicole Homer


Since graduating from Georgian Court with a B.A. in English Literature, Nicole Homer ’08 has obtained multiple graduate degrees in English Literature and Fine Arts; served as a Professor of English at Mercer County Community College; and published her first book of poetry, Pecking Order. 

Nicole will return to Georgian Court this April as the university’s visiting poet. She plans to read a collection of her published poems, recite works from her next book, and participate in a Q&A with students on campus.

We spoke with Nicole to learn more about her experiences at Georgian Court and how they have inspired her to achieve such remarkable success in her career.

Tell us about your relationship with Georgian Court.

I completed my Bachelor of Arts in English Literature at Georgian Court in 2008. Dr. Rader and Dr. Cappucci, who still teach at the university, were pivotal in charting my trajectory. I didn’t think graduate school was an option for me, as I didn’t understand the possibilities. Drs. Rader and Cappucci guided me through that process, and I vividly remember what I first learned under their tutelage. I’m so grateful to still be in contact with them.

Can you describe your experience as a student at Georgian Court?

It was really, really lovely. One example I like to give is my experience in a Diversity in Literature course [EN375 MultiEthnic Literature], taught by Dr. Rader, in which I read Bless Me, Ultima for the first time. I’ve gone on to teach the book many times since becoming an instructor myself.

My time at Georgian Court was challenging in the most wonderful ways. I identified opportunities for improvement and brought new skills to the forefront that I might not have been able to establish.

While my classmates were struggling with public speaking, I felt perfectly comfortable because I could discuss a topic that excited me. In Dr. Rader’s course, I remember being in the front of the room and thinking, “Oh, this doesn’t feel hard at all!” I didn’t feel pressured or overwhelmed, and that was a skill I didn’t know I had. It’s turned out to be extraordinarily helpful in an academic setting.

In short: I could only have achieved the level of satisfaction and success in my career with the guidance and direction I first received at Georgian Court.

What did you do after graduation?

After graduating from Georgian Court, I pursued an M.A. in English Literature with a focus on creative writing from Seton Hall University (SHU).

While at SHU, I served as an English Tutor for the school’s Equal Opportunity Program, inspiring me to work more closely with students from disadvantaged, diverse backgrounds. I went on to lecture at Burlington County College, then Brookdale Community College, and am now a Professor of English at Mercer County Community College.

Community college classrooms have such a wide age range and so much diversity, and the experiences I’ve gained from teaching students in this setting have been invaluable.

How did you become a poet?

I’ve always been interested in poetry and an avid reader.

While attending Brookdale Community College, I started attending the school’s monthly slam poetry event, which served as my introduction to the art form. It was fascinating.

I knew that I wasn’t afraid to get on stage, but there’s a vast difference between a scripted speech and one of an improvisational nature. I then started attending and participating in slam poetry sessions at famed New York landmarks like the Nuyorican Poets Cafe and the Bowery Poetry Club.

You’ll be Georgian Court’s “Visiting Poet” in April. What does that entail?

I’m going to give a reading and participate in a Q&A. I will likely read from my first book, Pecking Order, and the book that I’m currently working on, Fast Tail.

Can you tell us more about Pecking Order?

In Pecking Order, I examine how race and gender politics play out in the domestic sphere. In a world where race and color often determine treatment, the home should be a sanctuary—but often is not. The poetry in Pecking Order questions the construction of racial identity and how familial love can both challenge and bolster that construction.

Will this be your first experience as a visiting poet?

I’ve never been a visiting writer at a college or university before. I was the Dartmouth Poet in Residence at The Frost Place, the former home of Robert Frost, but that was more of a residential experience. I also gave a reading at Dartmouth University—but this upcoming visit to Georgian Court is closer to my heart and my home.

Who are your role models in poetry?

Vievee Francis is one of my major role models in poetry. I’ve had the privilege and honor of studying with her at residential fellowships, and she is absolutely brilliant. She has an amazing voice, and I think of her as your favorite poet’s favorite poet.

What advice would you give to a student who likes poetry?

Read as much as you possibly can, then read more. Then go on YouTube and listen to poets read. Then read them out loud, even if they’re not a performer, as there’s so much musicality you can’t get without reading it out loud.

No one can stop you from writing, but it’s easy to forget that you have to read. I’m inspired by what I read. In the same way that academic study is furthered by further academic study, writing poetry is elevated by reading poetry

2022 Visiting Poet: Rachel Wiley

The Georgian Court University Department of English will welcome visiting poet Rachel Wiley for a live Zoom reading on Thursday, April 7, at 7:00 p.m.

Ms. Wiley, a queer, biracial poet, performer, and body-positive activist from Columbus, Ohio, has competed in multiple National Poetry Slam Competitions and was a finalist twice in 2011. She has toured nationally, performing at slam venues, colleges, and festivals including the 2014 Geraldine Dodge Poetry Festival in Newark, New Jersey. Ms. Wiley’s work has been featured by the Huffington PostEveryday FeminismFrigg Magazine, Drunken Boat, Drunk in a Midnight Choir, Nailed Magazine, and PBS NewsHour. Her first full length collection of poems, Fat Girl Finishing School, was published by Timber Mouse Press in 2014, and her collections Nothing Is Okay (2018) and Revenge Body (2022) were published by Button Poetry.

“There’s this [idea] that poets essentially write about the same three things over and over again, which is not entirely untrue, but you take on more information as you go, and you uncover more about yourself,” Ms. Wiley said in an interview with Columbus Alive in 2020, noting that her poetry are a form of self-exploration. “So you’re going to write about things you’ve already visited, but with this new information.”

“The Department of English is thrilled to be able to kick off National Poetry Month with our visiting poet, Rachel Wiley. Because the reading will be virtual, we hope to reach a wider audience with the performance/reading,” said Pamela Rader, Ph.D., GCU professor of English. “Following the reading, we will hold a virtual creative writing workshop for our GCU community with Ms. Wiley. I hope the evening will energize writers and open our minds to new ways of seeing and being in the world.”

Advanced registration for the reading, which is free and open to the public, is required at

Story by Alycia Bardon ’22, a digital communication major at Georgian Court University.


To celebrate the start of National Poetry Month, Georgian Court University’s Department of English will host award-winning Visiting Poety Patricia Smith for a free virtual reading on Thursday, April 1 from 4:00 to 5:30 PM on ZOOM. The event will include a reading, student-led interview, and audience Q&A.

Ms. Smith is nationally recognized and especially loved in New Jersey, so the Department of English is proud to be hosting Ms. Smith, according to Kristen Park Wedlock, assistant professor of writing. She notes that the department has been hard at work since last year to make this happen after a delay due to COVID-19.

“The department rallied together, made the call to go virtual, and we are so pleased, honored, and excited to be hosting Patricia Smith,” says Ms. Wedlock.

Through her poetry, Patricia Smith delivers truth, demands justice, witnesses grief, and celebrates living in lines that carry, cut, and carve out space for attention. There is always a body living in the lines to be inhabited, visited, or mourned. Some of Patricia Smith’s work includes personifying weather as Hurricane Katrina in Blood Dazzler, embodying the experience of migration in Shoulda Been Jimi Savannah, or investigating suffering through the elements of fire, water, and air in Incendiary Art. Ms. Smith composes voices that speak out, call in, and carry you to a place of radical compassion.

“Patricia Smith follows the lead; she listens between newsprint clips and shared stories and life experiences to find the emotional, intellectual, and visceral truth that her poetry creates,” says Ms. Wedlock.


Patricia Smith is a professor for the City University of New York as well as an instructor in the Master of Fine Arts program at Sierra Nevada University and Vermont College of Fine Arts Post-Graduate Residency Program. She is the author of eight volumes of poetry and has an impressive list of wins, including the 2013 Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize from the Academy of Poets, a 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Award, the 2014 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize from the Library of Congress, 2018 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award, a 2008 National Book Award Finalist, and a two-time winner of the Pushcart Prize. She is a Guggenheim fellow, a Civitellian, a National Endowment for the Arts grant recipient, a finalist for the Neustadt Prize, a former fellow at both Yaddo and the MacDowell Colony, and a record-setting four-time national poetry slam champion as well as a feature on HBO’s Def Poetry Jam and the film Slamnation. In 2018, Ms. Smith was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. Her work appeared in places such as Poetry, The Paris Review, The Baffler, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

2019 Visiting Poet: Kirsten Kaschock

In the spirit of celebrating National Poetry Month, the English Department extends an invitation to a reading featuring our Visiting Poet, Kirsten Kaschock. Please, join us on Thursday, April 4th from 6:00 – 8:00 PM in the Mansion for a Performance, Dose of Poetry Workshop, and Light Refreshments.

Dr. Kaschock’s creative work explores, dismantles, and reclaims the language and gesture of gender/engendered by exposing the relationships that perform IT: daughter [dotters]—mother [mutters]—buoys. Through fiction and poetry, Kaschock sutures the personal and intimate [two sisters choreographing swansong ballets or primordial daughters delivering transgenerational manifestos] with the social and urgent [lovers arguing over artistic responsibility in the wake of tragedy]. This stitching invites the readers to embody the political, social, religious, cultural tensions that challenging conversations create and to begin the speech—the movement—necessary for remediation. Kaschock makes an offering to the divide. Sometimes the tethered cord is an umbilicus, others a hammock, often a braided tightrope—the path to change a dance between trust and risk. Join us in sharing her words—the power of language to commune and communicate—on a visceral, conceptual, spiritual, and emotional level.  

Currently, Dr. Kaschock is a Professor of English at Drexel University, Editor-in-Chief of thINKingDANCE, and author of six books of poetry/fiction [Confessional Sci-Fi: a Primer. Poetry/Hybrid. Subito Press, 2017; The Dottery. Poetry. University of Pittsburgh Press, 2015; WindowBoxing. Poetry. Blood Books, 2012; Sleight. Novel. Coffee House Press, 2011; A Beautiful Name for a Girl. Poetry. Ahsahta Press, 2011; and Unfathoms. Poetry. Slope Editions, 2004.]