West Chester University Announces Dates and Keynote Speaker for 25th Anniversary Poetry Conference


The West Chester University Poetry Center today announced dates and a keynote speaker for the 25th Anniversary Poetry Conference. The conference dates are set for April 2 – 4, 2020, during National Poetry Month, and the keynote speaker is American Poet, Molly Peacock. Visit www.wcupa.edu/poetry for additional information.

West Chester University’s Poetry Conference (WCUPC) is the nation’s only all-poetry writing conference dedicated to formal verse and is considered the premiere conference for formal poetry and versification. Hailed by The Philadelphia Inquirer as “the nation’s most intellectually rigorous conference for poets,” the conference offers workshops in traditional poetic craft, and provides a national forum to discuss major trends in contemporary poetry.

To attract more students to the conference, a new pricing structure was introduced for the 2019 conference. For 2020, the conference will be held during the academic school year and during National Poetry Month.

Jen Bacon, dean of West Chester’s College of Arts & Humanities says, “The rich work of West Chester’s Poetry Center, including our poet-in-residence and speaker series, is thriving, but we realized that the timing of the annual Poetry Conference wasn’t working for many students. We want to align with the University’s mission of Student Success, and plan to welcome more West Chester University students and other students from across the country at this 25th Anniversary conference in April.”

WCUPC Program Director, Jesse Waters, adds, “Though we are making the conference more accessible to students, this conference will never lose its dedication to the poetics that originally established it 25 years ago. We will continue to welcome participants of all ages from around the world to explore poetry, develop their craft, and engage with other poets.”

This year’s Keynote Speaker is Molly Peacock. Peacock is an American-Canadian poet, essayist, biographer and speaker, whose multi-genre literary life also includes memoir, short fiction, and a one-woman show. Peacock's latest book of poems is The Analyst, a collection exploring her evolving relationship with her psychoanalyst who, after a stroke, reclaimed her life through painting. She has published seven collections of poetry, including The Second Blush, love poems from a midlife marriage and Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems. Her work is widely anthologized.

Key events from the Poetry Conference will be available to watch by livestream.

The West Chester University Poetry Center offers a variety of programs and activities that help expand its mission of bringing poetry to an ever-widening audience. Since its inception in 2000, the goals of the Poetry Center have remained consistent: furthering the study and appreciation of poetry, providing the nation's finest instruction in the diverse traditional techniques of poetry, providing an international forum for the discussion of poetic form and prosody, training teachers in the art of teaching poetry and poetic form, and fostering the necessary dialogue between practicing poets and critics in a culture that too often separates them. The Poetry Center also recognizes poetic achievement through the Iris N. Spencer Awards, which celebrate emerging poets at the undergraduate level, and through the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, which goes to an unpublished book-length collection of poems.


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