Tonight, March 24, at KGB Bar, the poetry journal Fulcrum is hosting a reading with Jonathan Ames (whose new novel, Wake Up, Sir! comes out this summer), former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins and a bunch of others. As usual, it's free.
Break out the credit card on Thursday, March 25 at the Great Hall at Cooper Union, where Downtown for Democracy presents "Where's My Democracy?"-two readings introduced by Jonathan Safran Foer. The skinny: 6:30-8 p.m. has Reed (as in Lou), Auster, Sontag, Franzen and Eggers, while 9-10:30 rolls out Cunningham, Oates, Whitehead, Lahiri and Wasserstein. All proceeds go to defeating W. in November. The damage due: $50 general admission for reading one or two; $75 for both; or (cough cough) $500 Patron Admission, which includes a cocktail party with the writers afterward. Now the question is: How bad do you want it?
Also on Thursday at 5 is "The Seventh National Black Writers Conference: A Tribute to and Symposium on John Oliver Killens" at Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, with John A. Williams, Quincy Troupe, Marita Golden, Paule Marshall, Manthia Diawara and Ossie Davis, among others. Sliding scale. Later that evening is another free reading, with the Nation's Eric Alterman at the Strand.
Way down on the west side on Saturday, March 27, Patricia Eakins, Robert Siek and Felicia Sullivan read for free at the Ear Inn at 3 p.m.
On Sunday, March 28, go stick it to the Times' resident overrated op-ed hack, David Brooks, as he talks with Jeff Greenfield at 7:30 at the 92nd Street Y. It's $25 to watch him talk himself into a corner.
Prose poets Russell Edson and Daniel Nester read their stuff at Pete's Candy Store in Williamsburg on Monday, March 29 and it don't cost you a thing.
On Tuesday, March 30, check Gloria Steinem and Elaine Lafferty at 7 at the Union Square Barnes & Noble holding a discussion and signing of Ms. magazine. No charge.
Also on Tuesday at 7, authors William Gass and Daniel Slager read from and discussing the book, Auguste Rodin: Meditations by Rainer Maria Rilke at NYU's Deutsches Haus. It's free.
KGB, 85 E. 4th St. (betw. 2nd & 3rd Aves.), 212-505-3360; Great Hall at Cooper Union, 7 E. 7th St. (3rd Ave.), 212-592-4647; Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, 515 Malcolm X Blvd. (betw. 135th & 136th Sts.), 212-491-2200; The Strand, 828 B.way (12th St.), 212-473-1452; The Ear Inn, 326 Spring St. (betw. Greenwich & Washington Sts.), 212-246-5074; 92nd Street Y 1395 Lexington Ave. (92nd St.), 212-415-5500; Pete's Candy Store, 709 Lorimer St. (betw. Frost & Richardson Sts.), Williamsburg, 718-302-3770; Barnes & Noble, 33 E. 17th St. (betw. B'way & Park Ave. S.), 212-253-0810; Deutsches Haus at NYU, 42 Washington Mews (betw. University Pl. & 5th Ave.), 212-998-8660.