April 4, 2011

Lafayette Celebrates National Poetry Month: Brian Hall ’11 and Michele Tallarita ’12 Win Annual Poetry Competitions

In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, Lafayette will present poetry readings, sessions recognizing the winners of the College’s annual poetry competitions, and lectures.

This year’s winner of the MacKnight Black Poetry Competition is Brian Hall ’11 (Huntingdon Valley, Pa.), a mathematics-economics major, for his poem “Worm Dance.” English major Amanda Whitbred ’11 (Doylestown, Pa.) received honorable mention. Author Kimiko Hahn served as the MacKnight Black visiting poet and judged the competition.

Michele Tallarita ’12 (Whitehall, Pa.), an English major, took first place in the Jean Corrie Competition for her poem “Because I Love You.” English majors Courtney Feairheller ’12 (Pottstown, Pa.) and Patricia Riordan ’14 (Baldwin, N.Y.) received honorable mention. The competition was judged by poet Bob Watts.

The winners of the MacKnight Black Poetry Competition and Hahn will read their poetry at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 7, in the Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104. Earlier at 4:10 p.m., Hahn will discuss her writing process during a question-and-answer session at 4:10 p.m. in Interfaith Chapel of Hogg Hall. The Jean Corrie Poetry Competition winners and Watts will read their work at an ice cream social at 4:10 p.m. Wednesday, April 20, in Marquis Hall, faculty dining room.

Open to seniors, the MacKnight competition is named for MacKnight Black ’16, who at the time of his death in 1931 was one of America’s most significant poets. The Corrie competition includes entries from first-year students, sophomores, and juniors and is supported by the Academy of American Poets. Both competitions are sponsored by the department of English.

Hahn is the author of seven collections of poetry and the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Theodore Roethke Memorial Poetry Prize, the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Award, the Association of Asian American Studies Award, and other honors. She is a distinguished professor of English at Queens College/CUNY. Her most recent collection, Toxic Flora (2010), draws inspiration from science textbooks and articles about science.

Watts is professor of practice in creative writing at Lehigh University. His book of poems, Past Providence, won the Stanza Prize. His poetry has appeared in The Paris Review, Poetry, Southern Poetry Review, and other journals.

Poetry Month Events

  • Thursday, April 7, 4:10 p.m., Interfaith Chapel, Hogg Hall – Question & answer session with Kimiko Hahn.
  • Thursday, April 7, 7 p.m., Kirby Hall of Civil Rights room 104 – MacKnight Black Poetry Reading.
  • Thursday, April 14, 12:15 p.m., Williams Center for the Arts – Fifth annual Favorite Poem Reading sponsored by the Lafayette Arts Society.
  • Friday, April 15, 4:15 p.m., Gilbert’s Café back room – The Marquis literary magazine reading.
  • Wednesday, April 20, 4:10 p.m. – The Jean Corrie Poetry Competition reading and ice cream social.
  • Tuesday, April 26, 8 p.m., Gilbert’s Café back room – Emerging writers reading by creative writing students.

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