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Poetry Center

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Poetry Center

Address:
823 South High Street
West Chester, PA 19383


Email: wcupoetrycenter@wcupa.edu

The Poetry Center offers a variety of programs and activities that help expand its mission of bringing poetry to an ever-widening audience.

The West Chester University Poetry Conference (WCUPC) is the nation's largest annual poetry conference. WCUPC is unique because it offers workshops in traditional poetic craft, and provides a national forum to discuss major trends in contemporary poetry. As critic Carlin Romano has noted, it is "the nation's most intellectually rigorous conference for poets." (Philadelphia Inquirer). The Conference is in hiatus for 2015, but is scheduled to resume in June of 2016.

The Poetry Center administers the following awards and activities:

The West Chester University Poetry Center offers an active, interesting, and diverse slate of activities. We invite you to join us and discover the joys of poetry.

Mission Statement

The West Chester University Poetry Center was created in 2000 to further the study and appreciation of poetry. The goals of the Poetry Center are to:

  • provide the nation's finest instruction in the diverse traditional techniques of poetry.
  • provide an international forum for the discussion of poetic form and prosody.
  • train teachers in the art of teaching poetry and poetic form.
  • foster the necessary dialogue between practicing poets and critics in a culture that too often separates them.
  • recognize poetic achievement through the Iris N. Spencer Awards.
  • illustrate the important connections between contemporary poetry and fine printing.

Poetry Awards

Donald Justice Poetry Award

We are not currently accepting manuscripts. Please see submission information below.

The distinguished American poet Donald Justice is recognized as one of the finest poets of the late twentieth century. The recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, Bolingen Prize, and numerous honors for his verse, Justice was a masterful and exacting craftsman, traits that define the prize named in his honor. The prize is made possible through the generosity of the Iris N. Spencer Poetry Award. The Justice Award welcomes unpublished, original book-length collections of poems that pay attention to form for consideration in the competition. Two winners from the competition will each receive $1,000, and have her/his manuscript published.

We ask that applicants adhere to the following guidelines.

  • The biennial competition is open to all American poets regardless of whether they have previously published a book-length collection.
  • The manuscript should be between 50-100 typed pages in unbound, bound, or clipped form.
  • No more than one-third of the manuscript may consist of permission-secured or public domain translations.
  • The manuscript should contain two title pages: one with the collection's title, author's name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number; and the other with only the title.
  • There is a $25 entry fee for each manuscript submitted. Make payment to: Donald Justice Poetry Award-West Chester University.
  • 2016/2017 Competition: All submissions for the 2016/2017 competition may be sent after August 1, 2016 and must be postmarked no later than December 1, 2016.
  • Manuscripts should be sent to:
    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Dr. Lori A. Vermeulen
      Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
      West Chester University of Pennsylvania
      Anderson Hall, Suite 119
      West Chester, PA 19383

Submitted manuscripts will not be returned. For notification of contest results, please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

One winner from the competition will be designated for 2016, and one for 2017. Each winner will receive her/his prize, and give a public reading at the annual West Chester University Poetry Conference in early June, 2016/2017.

Donald Justice Biography

Myong Cha Son Haiku Award

Created by Kyle R. Spencer, and named for his mother-in-law, the award welcomes unpublished, original haiku and offers a first prize ($1,500) and a runner-up prize ($500).

We ask that applicants adhere to the following guidelines.

  • The annual competition is open to all undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university.
  • The author's name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number should be submitted on a separate sheet.
  • There is no fee to enter. Submittals may be a combination of poems submitted to the Iris N. Spencer Award, the Myong Cha Son Haiku Award, or the Rhina P. Espaillat Poetry Award. Multiple entries are accepted.
  • All submissions must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2015.
  • Manuscripts should be sent to:
    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Dr. Lori A. Vermeulen
      Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
      West Chester University of Pennsylvania
      Anderson Hall, Suite 119
      West Chester, PA 19383

Submitted poems will not be returned. For notification of contest results please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Myong Cha Son

Iris N. Spencer Undergraduate Poetry Award

Created by Kean W. Spencer in honor of his mother, a reader and community servant, the award welcomes unpublished, original poems composed in the traditional modes of meter, rhyme and received forms and offers a first prize ($1,500), and a runner-up prize ($500).

We ask that applicants adhere to the following guidelines.

  • The annual competition is open to all undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university.
  • The author's name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number should be submitted on a separate sheet.
  • There is no fee to enter. Submittals may be a combination of poems submitted to the Iris N. Spencer Award, the Myong Cha Son Haiku Award, or the Rhina P. Espaillat Poetry Award. Multiple entries are accepted.
  • All submissions must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2015.
  • Manuscripts should be sent to:
    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Dr. Lori A. Vermeulen
      Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
      West Chester University of Pennsylvania
      Anderson Hall, Suite 119
      West Chester, PA 19383

Submitted poems will not be returned. For notification of contest results please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Iris Spencer

Rhina P. Espaillat Award

Rhina P. Espaillat, born in the Dominican Republic, started writing poetry in Spanish and English after her family was exiled to the United States. She has published in both languages. This $500 undergraduate prize celebrates original poems written in Spanish and translations of English poems to Spanish.

Applicants for this prize are asked to adhere to the following guidelines:

  • The annual competition is open to all undergraduate poets who are enrolled in a United States college or university.
  • The author's name, address, e-mail address, and telephone number should be submitted on a separate sheet.
  • There is no fee to enter. Submittals may be a combination of poems submitted to the Iris N. Spencer Award, the Myong Cha Son Haiku Award, or the Rhina P. Espaillat Poetry Award. Multiple entries are accepted.
  • All submissions must be postmarked no later than April 15, 2015.
  • Manuscripts should be sent to:
    • WCU Poetry Awards
      Dr. Lori A. Vermeulen
      Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences
      West Chester University of Pennsylvania
      Anderson Hall, Suite 119
      West Chester, PA 19383
  • Submitted poems will not be returned. For notification of contest results please include a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Save the Date

Next Poetry Conference:
June 8 - June 11, 2016

More details coming soon…