One of America’s oldest and most prestigious continuous literary reading programs, the Plutzik Reading Series was founded at the University of Rochester in 1962, in honor of the life and poetic career of Hyam Plutzik (1911-1962), Deane Professor of Poetry and Rhetoric at the University.

2012 marked the 50th anniversary of the Plutzik Poetry Series. During the past 50 years, the Plutzik Series has welcomed nearly 300 noted readers, including 4 Nobel laureates in Literature, 32 winners of Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 4 winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 31 winners of the National Book Award and 22 former Poets Laureate of the United States. 

In 2000, the University opened the Plutzik Library for Contemporary Writing, now housed in the Rare Books & Special Collections division at the Rush Rhees Library.

The Plutzik Reading Series and the Plutzik Library perpetuate the aesthetic and emotional principles expressed by Hyam Plutzik throughout his life and work:

"The modern poet is an inhabitant of this world, no matter how ecstatic or bleak or unforgiving; an immersion in the craft of verse – as practitioner or student – is the worthiest way to remain mindful of life’s enduring truths." – Hyam Plutzik

The Plutzik Reading Series events have always been open to the public and free of charge and have attracted the world’s finest poets and writers to read Plutzik’s work, as well as their own.

Plutzik Reading Series Readers from 1962 to present


  • Read a history of the Plutzik Poetry Series from Dr. Jarold Ramsey, Professor of English Emeritus of the University of Rochester, who directed the series for over 30 years.