History & Mission


Just Buffalo Literary Center’s mission is to create and strengthen communities through the literary arts.

You could say that Just Buffalo began with a poem (click here to listen):

Love Comes Quietly
by Robert Creeley

Love comes quietly,
finally, drops
around me, on me,
in the old ways.

What did I know,
thinking myself
able to go

alone all the way?

When Just Buffalo Literary Center’s founder, Debora Ott, first heard this poem as a teenager in New York City, it inspired her to come to the University at Buffalo to study with its author, Robert Creeley.  UB’s English Department was legendary, attracting incredible poets and writers to both its faculty and its student body. Born in 1975 out of that intense period of innovation in the literary arts, Just Buffalo created a new niche, inviting writers out of academia and into the heart of the community.

Since then, Just Buffalo Literary Center has brought the world’s greatest writers to Buffalo, most recently with our acclaimed BABEL series; supported the development of young writers through our award-winning Writers in Education program; and fostered a vibrant cultural scene, becoming an important regional asset and one of the nation’s top literary centers.