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In this panel discussion moderated by former Philadelphia poet laureate Yolanda Wisher, four Philly-connected poets from different backgrounds discuss how they do business through writing, teaching, performing, consulting, and more. This panel will offer practical advice and real talk for poets anywhere about making a living through poetry, in new and old school ways.

Special thanks to Blue Stoop for collaborating with the Authors Guild Foundation on this panel.


Denice Frohman is a poet, performer, and educator from New York City. A Threshold Fellow at Headlands Center for the Arts, she’s received support from CantoMundo, the National Association of Latino Arts & Cultures, Leeway Foundation, BluZe Mountain Center, and Millay Colony. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The BreakBeat Poets: LatiNext, Nepantla: An Anthology for Queer Poets of Color and elsewhere. A former Women of the World Poetry Slam Champion, she’s featured on national and international stages from The Apollo to The White House. She lives in Philadelphia.

Raina J. León, PhD is the author of Canticle of IdolsBoogeyman Dawn, sombra : (dis)locate and the chapbooks, profeta without refuge and Areyto to Atabey: Essays on the Mother(ing) Self. She is a founding editor of The Acentos Review, an online quarterly, international journal devoted to the promotion and publication of Latinx arts; lead coordinator for Nomadic Press in Philadelphia; an emerging digital archivist and artist; and a senior researcher on various grants in education and literature. You can find her on all the platforms @rainaleon. 

2020-2021 Philadelphia Poet Laureate Trapeta B. Mayson is the founder of Healing Verse Philly Phone Line, a hallmark project of her poet laureate tenure. Mayson is a Pew, Academy of American Poets, and Aspen Word Fellow, and also a member of several local organizations where she uses the arts to help mobilize and build community. 

Originally from Bali, Indonesia, Cynthia Dewi Oka is the author of Fire Is Not a Country (2021) and Salvage (2017) from Northwestern University Press, and Nomad of Salt and Hard Water (2016) from Thread Makes Blanket Press. A recipient of the Leeway Foundation’s Transformation Award and the Tupelo Quarterly Poetry Prize, she is currently Poet in Residence at the Amy Clampitt House.

Poet, singer, educator, and curator Yolanda Wisher is a two-time poet laureate, Curator of Spoken Word at Philadelphia Contemporary, and the author of Monk Eats an Afro. She performs a blend of poetry and song with her band The Afroeaters.

Special Thanks to Our Supporters and Partner Organizations

With support from the National Endowment for the Arts, Penguin Random House, and our donors, the Authors Guild Foundation is pleased to make Business Bootcamps for Writers free and open to the public.

Several writers organizations have partnered with the Authors Guild Foundation to help shape these programs. Our deepest appreciation to these organizations.