There are readings — any number of them around here, given the out-of-scale density of scribblers on the South Fork — and then there are readings for which the usually unacknowledged organizer has gone to considerable pains to bring in someone of distinction from somewhere else.
Such is the case with Poetry Pairs at Guild Hall’s John Drew Theater, put on for 10 years running by Fran Castan, who, dubbed Long Island Poet of the Year last year by the Walt Whitman Birthplace Association, is herself a poet of stature enough to shoulder aside any lectern-bound reader of her choosing, should she choose to, which of course she doesn’t.
On Saturday at 7:30 p.m., then, adjusting the mike to appropriate height and clearing their throats will be two important poets, from here and “away,” Grace Schulman of Springs and Baruch College, and Toi Derricotte, a professor of English at the University of Pittsburgh and a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.
Ms. Schulman was the director of the poetry center at the 92nd Street Y and the poetry editor at The Nation — for decades in both cases. Ms. Derricotte co-founded the Cave Canem Foundation of Brooklyn, a national organization devoted to fostering African-American poets as artists and professionals.
A book signing and reception with wine and dessert will follow the reading, which is free. New this year, poems by East Hampton students will receive honorable mentions.
As for the items to be signed, Ms. Schulman’s new collection is “Without a Claim,” published last year by Mariner Books. For Ms. Derricotte, her latest is “The Undertaker’s Daughter,” out from the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2011. Her literary memoir, “The Black Notebooks,” from W.W. Norton, won the 1998 Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for nonfiction.