Poetry and Creative Arts Festival, Presented Virtually by West Chester University, Runs April 7 - 10
Students, teachers, poets, and all who are interested in poetry from around the world, are invited to attend C.R.A.F.T.: West Chester University’s Virtual Poetry and Creative Arts Festival (Formally the WCU Annual Poetry Conference) from April 7 – 10, 2021. Events are still open for registration here.
Virtual workshops, readings, panels, and entertainment will fill the four-day event, scheduled to align with National Poetry Month and the academic calendar. Pricing for the festival has never been more affordable. This year, undergraduate students attend for FREE and registration fees for all other participants range in price from $25 - $50. Individual workshop costs are $25 - $75.
Cherise Pollard, the newly appointed Director of the Poetry Center says, “Our hope is to make poetry accessible and relevant to everyone through this festival as we simultaneously celebrate the Poetry Center's community and honor our mission that focuses on the study of craft.”
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.
The conference attracts a diverse group of people from well-established poets to beginners, students, and faculty. Workshops are offered on a variety of topics ranging from Working the Beat: How to Make Poems Sings, to Poetry and Performance in a Pandemic, and Empathy in Expression. Workshop Leaders are all published poets of national and international renown and include keynote speaker, Molly Peacock, Annie Finch, p.e. garcia, Wes Matthews, Christine Otis, Imani Tolliver, Dilruba Almed, and Shirley Lim, among others.
A highlight of the event is the annual Iris N. Spencer Awards celebration, which recognizes excellence in poetry for undergraduate students from around the country with cash prizes.
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.