Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your interest in the Carriage House Series. Walt Whitman wrote, “To have great poets, there must be great audiences.” Whether we meet electronically or in person, we're happy to share our commitment to poetry and to poets with you, our "great audience."

The Carriage House Poetry Series was established in December of 1998. The initiative began as a project funded in part by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Department of State, through a grant administered by the Union County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs.

The series features some of the finest contemporary poets each year in the Kuran Arts Center (a nineteenth century carriage house, formerly known as the Fanwood Carriage House and for which the series was named). The Arts Center is located on the grounds of Borough Hall, facing Watson Road off Martine Avenue (GPS use 75 N. Martine Avenue) in Fanwood, New Jersey. Readings are held at 8PM on the third Tuesday of each month from February - July and from September - November.

All readings are free and open to the public. Most readings include an open mic after the feature, and audience members are invited to share their poems.

The Carriage House Series is pleased to feature a wide range of both nationally-known and local poets. Past readers have included (among numerous others), Gerald Stern, Mark Doty, Stephen Dunn, Alicia Ostriker, Patricia Smith, Taylor Mali, Maria Mazziotti Gillan, and Laura Boss.

The Series has been funded by the Borough of Fanwood with additional grants from such generous organizations as the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders (HEART Grants), the Union County Division of Cultural and Heritage Affairs, and the Fanwood-Scotch Plains Service League.

Please scroll down for our current calendar; and please take a moment to view our slideshows in the sidebar (just click on the arrows in the center).

Friday, April 17, 2020


With an abundance of concern for everyone’s well-being, all Carriage House readings are suspended until further notice. We urge you to look at our scheduled line-up of poets below and to read some of their work online. Please stay safe and well, and please stay home!

Our sincerest best wishes to all until we can meet again,

Adele Kenny & Tom Plante
Co-Directors, Fanwood Arts Council

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

2020 Calendar

January 21, 2020 - Winter Hiatus

February 18, 2020 - Diane Lockward
Annual Sweetheart Night

Featuring Diane Lockward Reading Selections from Her Own Works,
along with Poets Jessica deKoninck, Deborah Gerrish, Tina Kelley,
Susan Rothbard, David Vincenti, and Michael T. Young
Reading from Diane’s Anthology A Constellation of Kisses (Terrapin Books, 2019)

Diane Lockward’s publications include The Uneaten Carrots of Atonement, What Feeds Us, and Eve’s Red Dress, as well as two chapbooks. Her poems have been widely published and anthologized. Her awards include a NJ State Arts Council Poetry Fellowship, the 2006 Quentin R. Howard Poetry Book Prize, First Place in the 2012 Naugatuck River Review poetry contest, and a 2013 Woman of Achievement award. Diane has been a featured poet and presenter at numerous festivals, including the Geraldine R. Dodge Festival, the Warren County Poetry Festival, and the Massachusetts Poetry Festival, among others. She was the Founder and Director of Poetry Festival: A Celebration of Literary Journals, which she ran for twelve years. For the past fifteen years she has also organized Girl Talk: A Reading in Celebration of Women’s History Month.  Diane is Poet Laureate of West Caldwell, NJ. In 2015 she founded Terrapin Books, a small press for poetry books, and serves as its editor and publisher.

March 17, 2020 - John McDermott

Irish Night (Be sure to wear something green!)

Featuring John McDermott Reading Selections from His Own Work
and from the Works of William Butler Yeats

John McDermott, a Cranford resident, is the 2016 recipient of the Fanwood Arts Council’s Carriage House Poetry Prize for his poem, “Census 2016,” which took first place among 821 entries. John is a former poetry editor of U.S. 1 Worksheets. He has twice been invited to read his work at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival and serves as a Dodge Poet, working with teachers and students. His poems have appeared in many literary journals, including Paterson Literary Review, Lips, Tiferet, and Frogpond. He is the author of the poetry collection The Long Way Home (available in bound print and CD formats). Professor emeritus of English as a Second Language at Union County College, he has also taught English as a Second language in Nanjing, China and Osaka, Japan.

April 21, 2020 - Martin Farawell

Martin Jude Farawell’s poems have appeared widely in literary journals and anthologies, and his plays have been produced in regional, university, off-off-Broadway, and community theaters from Los Angeles to South Africa. Martin has more than two decades of hands-on experience in all aspects of theatrical production and has inaugurated poetry reading series at the Pike Street Arts Center and New York University. He taught composition, creative writing, poetry and literature for ten years on the secondary school and college levels, and is an experienced visiting artist-in-the-schools. He currently directs the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Program and Festival. Since 1998, as Festival Assistant, Festival Coordinator, Associate Director and then Director, Martin has worked behind the scenes on every phase of planning, designing and producing the Dodge Poetry Festival and Poetry in the Schools Program. He is the author of two poetry collections, Odd Boy and Genesis: A Sequence of Poems.

May 19, 2020 - Rogan Kelly and Michelle Ortega

The Art of the Prose Poem

Rogan Kelly is a writer and educator. His poems have recently been featured or are forthcoming in The Citron Review, Diode, Edison Literary Review, formercactus, Hobo Camp Review, Mojave River Press & Review, PIVOT, and Shrew Literary Zine. He was a finalist for The Fool for Poetry International Chapbook Competition, and a finalist for the 2018 Jane Underwood Poetry Prize. He has been a former D.C. speechwriter and special education teacher, and has also served as Associate Publisher with Serving House Books. His collection of poems, Demolition in the Tropics, was published in 2019.

Michelle Ortega, MS, CCC-SLP is a licensed speech-language pathologist and founding President of Communicare Ltd., Inc. In her private practice, Michelle uses a holistic approach, combining manual therapy and sensory integration techniques with traditional speech-language therapy to support patients of all ages and diagnoses to develop and recover communication skills. She enjoys travel, especially to Paris and New York City, and photography. Her writing has been published, or is forthcoming, online and in print, at Tweetspeak Poetry, Casual (an e-book), Tiferet Journal, Exit 13, Contemporary Haibun Online, Snapdragon: A Journal of Healing, and abroad in Horizon: The Haiku Anthology.
June 23, 2020 - Malachy McCourt


Malachy McCourt (born 20 September 1931) is an Irish-American actor, writer and politician. The younger brother of author Frank McCourt (author of Angela’s Ashes), he is the last surviving sibling of the seven McCourt children. Malachy was born in New York but was raised in Limerick, Ireland, and returned to the United States in 1952. McCourt the author of two memoirs, the best-selling A Monk Swimming and Singing My Him Song, as well as Harold be Thy Name, a book on the history of the much-loved Irish ballad “Danny Boy,” and Death Need Not Be Fatal. He has acted on television and in several movies, including The Molly Maguires, The Brink’s Job, Q, Brewster’s Millions, The January Man, Beyond the Pale, and Ash Wednesday. He has also appeared on several soap operas, including Ryan’s Hope, Search for Tomorrow, All My Children, and One Life to Live. In Addition, Malachy also appeared on stage in plays such as “DA,” “The Hostage,” “Mass Appeal,” “Inherit the Wind,” and “A Child’s Christmas in Wales.” On television, he was a semi-regular on The Jack Paar Tonight Show with Jack Paar and Merv Griffin. Malachy and his brother, Frank McCourt, developed, staged and acted in “A Couple of Blaguards,” which has been produced throughout America, Australia and the UK. He is the recipient of IAW&A’s 2016 annual Eugene O’Neill Lifetime Achievement Award.

July 21, 202 - Summer Hiatus

August 18, 2020 - Summer Hiatus
September 15, 2020 - BJ Ward

BJ Ward is the author of Jackleg Opera: Collected Poems, 1990-2013, which received the Paterson Poetry Prize. His other books are Gravedigger’s Birthday, 17 Love Poems with No Despair, and Landing in New Jersey with Soft Hands, all published by North Atlantic Books and distributed by Random House. His poetry has been featured on National Public Radio’s “The Writer’s Almanac,” NJTV’s “State of the Arts,” as well as in publications such as Poetry, The American Poetry Review, The New York Times, TriQuarterly, and The Sun, among other journals. He is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize for Poetry and two Distinguished Artist Fellowships from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. BJ has also received the Governor’s Award in Arts Education from the State of New Jersey and has been designated Distinguished Teaching Artist by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. He has taught at The Frost Place, the Controlled Burn Writers’ Seminar, and the New Jersey Governor’s School of the Arts.

October 20, 2020 - Renée Ashley

Renée Ashley grew up in California and lives in New Jersey. Her newest book is Minglements: Prose on Poetry and Life. She is the author of seven volumes of poetry: Ruined Traveler (forthcoming), The View from the Body, Because I Am the Shore I Want to Be the Sea (Subito Press Book Prize), Basic Heart (X.J. Kennedy Poetry Prize, Texas Review Press), The Revisionist’s Dream, The Various Reasons of Light, and Salt (Brittingham Prize in Poetry), as well as two chapbooks, The Verbs of Desiring and The Museum of Lost Wings. She has also published a novel, Someplace Like This (Permanent Press). A portion of her poem First Book of the Moon is included in a permanent installation by the artist Larry Kirkland in Penn Station Terminal in Manhattan. Renée has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, as well as a Pushcart Prize. She is on the core faculty of Fairleigh Dickinson University’s low-residency graduate programs, the MFA in Creative Writing and the MA in Creative Writing and Literature for Educators.

November 17, 2020 - Paul Muldoon

Paul Muldoon is an internationally acclaimed poet who was born on a farm in County Armagh, Northern Ireland. He has published over thirty collections and won a Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, as well as the T. S. Eliot Prize (among other honors and awards). He held the post of Oxford Professor of Poetry from 1999 to 2004. At Princeton University, he is both the Howard G. B. Clark ‘21 Professor in the Humanities and Founding Chair of the Lewis Center for the Arts. He has also served as president of the Poetry Society (UK) and as Poetry Editor at The New Yorker.

Paul has won the following major poetry awards:

    1990: Guggenheim Fellowship
    1992: Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize for Madoc: A Mystery
    1994: T. S. Eliot Prize for The Annals of Chile
    1997: Irish Times Irish Literature Prize for Poetry for New Selected Poems 1968–1994
    2002: T. S. Eliot Prize (shortlist) for Moy Sand and Gravel
    2003: Griffin Poetry Prize (Canada) for Moy Sand and Gravel
    2003: Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for Moy Sand and Gravel
    2004: American Ireland Fund Literary Award
    2004: Aspen Prize for Poetry
    2004: Shakespeare Prize
    2009: John William Corrington Award for Literary Excellence
    2017: Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry

Selected Honors Include:

    Honorary Professor in the School of English at the University of St Andrews (Scotland)
    Professor of Poetry at Oxford University 1999–2004 (England)
    Honorary Fellow of Hertford College, Oxford University (England)
    Fellowship with the Royal Society of Literature (England)
    Fellowship with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (US)

December 16, 2020 - Winter Hiatus