Serving the communities of OU and central Oklahoma, the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series strives to connect readers to contemporary poetry and poetics by giving students and residents alike an opportunity to listen to and speak with poets from all over the United States and beyond. The poetry universe is diverse, teeming with different styles, philosophies, politics, and worldviews, but one thing draws it together: poetry can be a performance, and in the act of its verbal offering, poetry gives rise to its own social space and time. A poetry reading offers readers a chance to not only hear poetry ("sounds in time"), but to experience poetry with others, a quite different experience from the solitary act of reading. Every semester, the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series offers Oklahomans the opportunity to become a part of this unique and exciting social space, to purchase poetry books (and have them signed), and to join the ongoing conversations that give life to poetry today.
Building on the legacy of OU's Contemporary Authors Series (directed by James Yoch), the Mark Allen Everett Poetry Series was cofounded in 2007 by Jonathan Stalling (Director) and Nancy Yoch. During its first two years the series was codirected by Honorée Fanonne Jeffers (2007–2008) and Jeanetta Calhoun Mish (2009–2010). Chris Hollen is presently the series's Assistant Director. The series has been sponsored by the Everett Family Fund, the OU College of Arts and Sciences, the OU Honors College, World Literature Today, the SOUNDS OUT Poetry Series of the OU Expository Writing Program, the FOCAS Lecture Series, and the OU Department of English, as well as the Oklahoma Humanities Council and the Oklahoma Arts Council.