MC celebrates National Poetry Month

MC celebrates National Poetry Month

April 9, 2012
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

In honor of National Poetry Month, two nationally recognized contemporary poets will visit Maryville College in April.

Jen Bervin, poet and visual artist, will give a presentation on Wed., April 18 at 7 p.m. in Fayerweather Hall’s Lawson Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public.

“Jen Bervin’s talk and reading on campus will be a wonderful opportunity for Maryville College and the surrounding community to experience someone whose compelling work—which includes erasure poetry, artist’s books, and large-scale art works combining text and textiles—is on the cutting edge of the world of visual art and poetry,” said Summar West, instructor of composition at Maryville College.

Bervin's books include The Dickinson Composites, The Desert, The Silver Book, A Non-Breaking Space and Nets. Her work has been published in Against Expression: An Anthology of Conceptual Writing, La Familia Americana and The Reality Street Book of Sonnets.

Bervin has received fellowships in art and writing from The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation, The New York Foundation for the Arts, Centrum, The MacDowell Colony, Visual Studies Workshop, The Center for Book Arts, and The Camargo Foundation.

Her work is in more than 30 collections including The J. Paul Getty Museum, The Walker Art Center, the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, Stanford University, Bibliothèque Nationale de France and the British Library.

Bervin, who lives and works in Brooklyn, NY, teaches in the MFA program at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She curated the New York exhibition, "Emily Dickinson at Poets House: Manuscripts from the Donald and Patricia Oresman Collection," which included a rare selection of the poet Emily Dickinson's original manuscripts.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Claudia Emerson will read from her poetry during a lecture scheduled for 7 p.m., April 30 in the Lawson Auditorium of Fayerweather Hall. The event is free and open to the public.

Emerson, who won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for her collection Late Wife, is a professor of English and Arrington Distinguished Chair in Poetry at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Va.

She was the Poet Laureate of Virginia from 2008 until 2010 and has received the Guggenheim Fellowship for 2011. She is a contributing editor of the literary magazine Shenandoah.

In addition to Late Wife, her other works of poetry include Secure the Shadow, Pharaoh, Pharaoh; Pinion, An Elegy and Figure Studies.

“We are honored to welcome Claudia Emerson to Maryville College for National Poetry Month not only because she is a Pulitzer prize-winning poet, but she is also a poet whose work often draws upon images associated with this region,” West said. “The lyricism of her language and the poignant narratives she weaves in her collections will very likely resonate with an audience of both students and members of the larger MC community.”

West hopes these April events will be the beginning of an annual Spring Writers Series at Maryville College.

Since 1988, the College has hosted the Appalachian Lecture Series, a fall series that was “envisioned as a vehicle for recognizing the unique and valuable contributions of Southern Appalachian culture,” according to Dr. Susan Schneibel, professor of comparative literature at the College and chair of the division of languages and literature.

“The spring series will continue, in the tradition of the Appalachian Lecture Series, to invite poets and writers on campus for talks and readings that will be open to the public,” West said. “This will be an expansion of our creative writing forums where our community can experience hearing from and engaging with nationally renowned poets and writers.”

Funding is currently being sought for the annual writers series. For more information, please contact Holly Jackson-Sullivan, vice president for advancement and community relations at the College, at 865.273.8884 or

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.