Cherise PollardWest Chester University today announced the appointment of Cherise Pollard as Director of the Poetry Center.

Jen Bacon, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities says, “We are thrilled with the appointment of Dr. Pollard as our new Poetry Center Director. Pollard has 20 years of experience as a poet, scholar, critic, and teacher, and we look forward to the energy and expertise she will bring to the position.”

A published poet and West Chester University faculty member since 1999, Pollard says, “Poetry unites. It can help us understand what we’ve been through and help people articulate their lives. It can play an important role in helping us discover who we are. I look forward to passing along my love for poetry to students, and to encouraging greater student participation at poetry events on West Chester University’s campus.”

Pollard specializes in African American historical novels, African American literary theory and criticism, the Black Arts Movement, womanist and feminist criticism and theory, and twentieth century American Poetry and Poetics[YH1] . She completed fellowships at Cave Canem: A Home for Black Poetry, and after, published her first poems, “whateva you do” and “Call and Response.” 

Pollard has organized numerous public readings and craft talks at West Chester University, bringing poets like Natasha Trethewey to campus the year that she won the Pulitzer Prize. She regularly attended the annual West Chester University Poetry Conference and [YH2] was a founding board member for Poetry by the Sea, an annual global poetry conference on the Long Island Sound.

Pollard has performed poetry readings on West Chester University’s campus and other campuses, including the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts Residency in Poetry, where she completed a fellowship in October of 2019. Her 2016 poetry collection, Outsiders, was the winner of the 2015 Susan K. Collins/Mississippi Valley Chapbook Contest. This year, she and two co-editors will see the publication of Show Us Your Papers! An anthology of 80 Poets.

About the West Chester University Poetry Center - 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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