Thursday, February 29, 2024

Poet Nikky Finney presents her work at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday as part of Lesley University’s June Reading Series. (Photo: Rachel Eliza Griffiths)

What do two award-winning poets, playwright Molly Smith Metzler and an author who wrote a book popular enough to be on Oprah’s summer reading list have in common?

The literati of Cambridge will be delighted to know that all of these writers will be featured in Lesley University’s June Reading Series. This series corresponds with Lesley’s Low-Residency MFA program in creative writing. Students participating in this program spend the bulk of their time is  writing, visiting Cambridge only twice a year at the beginning of each semester for nine days to share their work. Faculty from this program will also be presenting work.

The two visiting poets, Nikky Finney and Melanie Henderson, are Lesley graduates, and these distinguished alumnae have accomplished a lot with their degrees. Finney was the winner of the 2011 National Book Award and named Lesley’s distinguished writer in residence for June. Henderson is an alumna of the residency program, and her debut poetry collection won the 2011 Main Street Rag Press poetry award. The poets will be presenting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

The series takes place today through June 30 at the university’s Marran Theater at 47 Oxford St. in the Agassiz neighborhood. This event is free and open to the public. The schedule:

7:15 tonight: Faculty members Susan Goodman on “Writing for young people” and Jami Brandli on “Writing for stage and screen”

6:30 p.m. Saturday: Faculty members Jane Brox reading nonfiction and Laurie Foos reading fiction

7 p.m. Sunday: A memorial to Katherine Russell Rich, MFA writing faculty in nonfiction, whose second book, “Dreaming in Hindi,” was an Oprah Summer Pick

6:45 p.m. Monday: Visiting playwright Molly Smith Metzler (author of “Elemeno Pea,” “Close Up Space,” “Carve” and “Training Wisteria”) on “writing for stage and screen” and faculty member Tony Eprile reading fiction

6:30 p.m. Wednesday: Poetry readings by distinguished writer in residence Nikky Finney and Melanie Henderson

Graduating student readings are at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, 4:30 and 7 p.m. June 29 and 2:30 p.m. June 30