The Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel

You've reached the home of the Almost Uptown Poetry Cartel of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The Cartel is a weekly reading series founded in 1999, has featured many talented writers, poets, and artists as well as an exciting and growing list of guest readers and headliners.

We meet every Thursday at the Midtown Scholar in Harrisburg at 7PM for open readings. Feel free to check out our Calendar for upcoming meetings and readings, or check out our listings for other poetry readings in and around the midstate.

All are welcome--bring your own poetry, poetry you love, or just an open ear. Be sure to Like us on Facebook and we're looking forward to seeing you on Thursday.



Todd Boss is the author of the poetry collections Yellowrocket and Pitch, both honored by the Midwest Bookseller’s Choice Award. He is the founding artistic director of Motionpoems, a film company in Minneapolis.

Marci Nelligan is the author of The Ghost Manada (Black Radish, 2016), Infinite Variations (Black Radish, 2011) and numerous chapbooks, and the co-editor of Intersections, an interdisciplinary book on Jane Jacobs. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Boog City, Jacket, the Denver Quarterly, The New Orleans Review, How2, Fledgling Rag, and other journals. She lives in Lancaster, PA with her husband and two daughters, and runs an arts-in-education partnership between Millersville University and the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts.


The first OPEN POETRY READING of this month on will be on March 8. It's open to all. Come read or listen. There will also be open mics on the 15th and the 29th. Come early as seating is limited.



Akwaeke Emezi is an Igbo and Tamil writer and artist based in liminal spaces. Born and raised in Nigeria, she received her MPA from New York University and was awarded a 2015 Miles Morland Writing Scholarship. She won the 2017 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for Africa. Her work has been selected and edited by Chimamanda Adichie, and published in various literary magazines, including Granta. Freshwater is her debut.

Written with stylistic brilliance and based in the author's realities, this raw and extraordinary debut explores the metaphysics of identity and being, plunging the reader into the mysteries of self.


April 20th: Maria James-Thiaw

Maria James-Thiaw is an award-winning poet, performer, and professor. Her publications include poetry and reviews in several literary journals such as New Letters, Cutthroat Journal of the Arts, One Trick Pony Review, and Black Magnolias as well as a spoken word CD, FREEverse,and four amazing verse collections:

Windows to the Soul (Shippensburg University Press, 1999),

Rising Waters (Shippensburg University Press, 2003),

Talking “White” (postDada Press, 2013).

Mocha Musings is forthcoming from Community Arts Ink.

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is located at 1302 North 3rd Street,

across from the Broad Street Market, Harrisburg, PA 17102,



This Thursday, at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore, regional poets gather to offer tribute and affectionate confusion to remarkable surrealist poet and raconteur Marty Esworthy.

These writers will be performing verse by Esworthy. (Presumably Marty will just sit and listen.) Check out this line-up: Kevyn Knox, Mikaela Rylee Phillips, Gillian Branstetter, Michael Lear-Olimpi, Le Hinton, Jeanette Trout, Johnny Catalano, Jennifer Huff Dutson, Anna Jones,Tru Selvry, and your naddering narrator/host, aka Rick Kearns. Oh, it's on kids!

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore is located at 1302 North Third Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102 , Phone: 717.236.1680

Midtown Scholar website

SEPTEMBER 26: Shara McCallum

Shara McCallum, a Jamaican-American poet, who was recently awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry, currently directs the Stadler Center for Poetry and teaches creative writing and literature at Bucknell University.

McCallum is the author of Madwoman (Alice James Books, US, 2017 and Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2017); The Face of Water: New and Selected Poems (Peepal Tree Press, UK, 2011); This Strange Land (Alice James Books, 2011), a finalist for the OCM Bocas Prize for Caribbean Literature; Song of Thieves (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2003); and The Water Between Us (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1999), winner of the Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize for Poetry.

Shara will join us at 8PM, shortly after our regular open reading at 7PM, on Thursday, January 26th.

The Midtown Scholar Bookstore js located at 1302 North Third Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102 , Phone: 717.236.1680

Shara McCallum on Amazon

Shara McCallum on Goodreads