Events | Publicity | Special Programs

Upcoming Events 

2021 Jean Burden Poetry Reading

Details soon TBA! 

Please browse below for information on past Jean Burden Poetry Series Events.





The Center’s initiatives include a wealth of activities underway and planned for the future, including its signature event, the esteemed Jean Burden Series, which has been a community fixture since 1986.  In addition, CCPP has historically played a leadership role in advocating for creativity and literary experience on the Cal State LA campus, through a diverse roster of programming and collaborations with other campus organizations including the Department of English, The Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities, The American Communities Program, the Cross Cultural Centers, and Statement Magazine.  Click the links below for more information about some CCPP initiatives past and present.


Jean Burden Poetry Series

British Council UK Writer-in-Residence

Chinese / American Association for Poetry and Poetics

British and American Poetry Research Center at Hunan Normal University

Schurr High School Partnership





From the Archive:  CCPP's Creation

Cal State L.A. Center for Contemporary Poetry & Poetics

‘Umbrella’ of programs to foster poetry ‘at the highest possible level’

Los Angeles, CA – Poetry, already in motion for decades at California State University, Los Angeles, just accelerated with the recent creation of the Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics.

Supported by a $750,000 bequest from Virginia E. Smith, Cal State L.A.’s new Center brings together scholars, students, poets and the community for classes, readings, dialogue, research, celebrations and presentations.

“The center,” said its director, Lauri Ramey, “puts all poetry programming at Cal State L.A. under one umbrella; and it allows us to expand.”

It also advances the campus’s poetic legacy, which includes annually hosting the Jean Burden Reading Series since 1986 and, more recently, the British Council Poet-in-Residence.

A published poet, Ramey formerly directed creative writing programs at Hampton University in Virginia and Cardiff University in Wales. She joined Cal State L.A.’s English faculty in 2004.

Calling poetry “the least-taught genre in literature,” she does not mince words when making its case: “In challenging political times, poetry has a long history of coming to the forefront. People sometimes don’t know where else to turn to express themselves.”

She said the center, in fostering “poetry at the highest possible level across all boundaries,” brings diverse components of the community together. For example, a group of eighth-grade students from Chester W. Nimitz Middle continues in a partnership already established between the Huntington Park school and the University. The Center also works with researchers and others from the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.

“Poetry can be accessible and exciting for everyone,” said Ramey. “With the Center, we want to create a very productive environment for making poetry, one that moves across disciplines. There’s nothing else quite like it in California.”

The guest poets visit Cal State L.A. classes to share their work, to critique performances and to encourage students, and to offer insights into poetics – the making of poems. They also make selected appearances in the community.

The Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics joins Cal State L.A.’s Integrated Humanities Center, which includes the Reel Rasquache Film Festival of Latino Cinema, the American Communities Program and the Center for the Study of Genders and Sexualities.

For details about the Poetry Center, contact Cal State L.A.’s College of Arts and Letters at (323) 343-4001.




Past Events




2020 Jean Burden Poetry Series 
Tuesday, February 18, 2020
5:30 PM | Golden Eagle Ballrooms

Marilyn Chin event announcement banner, candid photo of Marulyn
Marilyn Chin

The Center for Contemporary Poetry and Poetics at Cal State LA is excited to host Marilyn Chin at this year's Jean Burden Poetry Reading.

Please click on photo to be taken to event page



Tuesday, February 12, 2019
5:30 PM | Golden Eagle Ballrooms


Kwame Dawes
Kwame Dawes

Kwame Dawes is the author of twenty books of poetry and numerous other books of fiction, criticism, and essays. In 2016 his book, Speak from Here to There, a co-written collection of verse with Australian poet John Kinsella appeared.  His most recent collection, City of Bones: A Testament (Northwestern University Press) will appear in 2017. He is Glenna Luschei Editor of Prairie Schooner and teaches at the University of Nebraska and the Pacific MFA Program.  He is Director of the African Poetry Book Fund and Artistic Director of the Calabash International Literary Festival.

Often called 'the busiest man in literature', Kwame will celebrate the publication of eight new books in 2016-2017. Click here for an extended biography. 

Click here to RSVP