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Press Release: Poetry Festival at DeSales Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Thurs. and Fri., April 14 - 15
Date: 4/13/2005

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Poetry Festival at DeSales Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Thursday and Friday, April 14 - 15

The 20th Annual Poetry Festival at DeSales University will be held Thursday and Friday, April 14 and 15. Held annually in recognition of National Poetry Month, the event features student presentations, poetry contest awards, workshops and readings by a guest poet. About 200 high school students from the local area and beyond are expected to participate. All activities will be held in Billera Hall, unless otherwise noted.

Celebrated poet and novelist, David Wagoner, will give a poetry reading at 7:30 p.m., on Thursday, April 13, in the Gallery Lounge in McShea Student Union. The program is open to the public, free of charge.

Wagoner, whose work has been published in the best literary journals in the country, served as editor of the highly acclaimed journal, "Poetry Northwest," for 38 years. He has published 15 collections of his own work. Among his honors and awards are the American Academy of Arts and Letters award, the Sherwood Anderson Award, and Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize. He received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts. He is a former Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets.

The Poetry Festival gives high school students the opportunity to showcase their creativity. Students can submit original work in the poetry contest and be considered for the grand prize, a 4-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend DeSales University.

The event will begin with light breakfast refreshments at 9:30 a.m., followed by the high school poetry contest awards at 10:00 a.m. An open-mic session, where students will share their poems, will begin at 10:15 a.m. Guest speaker David Wagoner will address the group at 11:00 a.m. Lunch will be served at 11:45 a.m. After lunch, students will meet in small workshop groups and have the chance for their work to be critiqued by a practicing poet.

The DeSales Poetry Festival was started by Ken Fifer, former chair of the humanities department at DeSales and a practicing poet, as a way to offer students a place to share their writings with other students interested in poetry. Dr. Stephen Myers, currently the chairperson of humanities and professor of English at DeSales University, is now responsible for running the festival. Myers believes that the festival is beneficial to students. "Poetry is often a very solitary art," said Myers. "It's a form of writing that does not get read as much as drama or fiction, yet there are thousands who write poetry."

Past guest speakers have included: Pulitzer Prize winners Gallway Kinnell and Paul Muldoon, and National Book Critics Circle Award winners Hayden Carruth and Gerald Stern. Dana Gioia, who served as the guest in 1996, was later was appointed as the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts by President George W. Bush

For more information on the DeSales Poetry Festival, please contact Dr. Stephen Myers, chairperson of the department of humanities at DeSales and coordinator of the Poetry Festival, at (610) 282-1100, ext. 1387.

Press Release: Poetry Festival at DeSales Celebrates 20th Anniversary, Thurs. and Fri., April 14 - 15 | Posted on: 4/13/2005

For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive D
irector of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034

610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu

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