Wayland to host international poetry gathering

PLAINVIEW, Texas - Wayland Baptist University will host the 18 th World Congress of Poets on its campus June 21-26, featuring poetry readings, keynote speakers and special events under the theme "Pilgrims for Peace."

Sponsored by the United Poets Laureate International, the Panhandle Plains Writers' Workshop and the university, the event begins on Monday, June 21 with registration in the Mabee Learning Resources Center.

Activities kick off Tuesday, June 22 in Harral Auditorium, with registration at 8 a.m. and opening ceremonies beginning at 9:30 a.m., featuring keynotes by UPLI president Dr. Benjamin Yuzon and Dr. David Smith, chancellor at Texas Tech University. Other highlights of the day include presentations by Dr. Walt McDonald, 2001 Poet Laureate of Texas, reports from Dr. Leonard Bischel, UPLI Regional director, and Peter Carman, president of the Paris American Academy, and afternoon poetry readings. The evening's welcome dinner, titled "Poetry on the Prairie," will feature the music of Texas in the Swing and readings of cowboy poetry.

Wednesday's activities begin with readings by 18 th World Congress President Bettye Hammer Givens of Plainview, a keynote by Dr. Ronald Shafer, UPLI Regional Director, and reports from international and regional groups. A presentation by Dr. Jack Myers, 2003 Poet Laureate of Texas, will precede the buffet lunch, which will be followed by a panel discussion on poetry. The evening's event will be a "Mexican Fiesta on the Prairie," featuring a performance of traditional folklorico dancing and poetry readings from congress guests.

On Thursday, participants will gather for poetry readings and papers, with Dr. Wanda Rider, UPLI Vice President presenting contest winners. A buffet lunch will feature Donald Hall, former Poet Laureate of New Hampshire, followed by readings from the Texas Poetry Society, presided over by Peggy Zulieka Lynch. The evening's festivities include a trip to Palo Duro Canyon for a barbecue dinner and the outdoor musical "TEXAS Legends."

Friday's schedule includes a tour of the area, including a dairy, a vineyard and the historic Wayland president's home. Following lunch, participants will tour the Museum of the Llano Estacado and share poetry papers. A special evening dinner will feature readings by Donald Hall.

On Saturday, congress guests will hear poetry readings and papers and will be treated to performances by the Bar None Drill Team and the Kwahadi Dancers, a group of Eagle Scouts who perform traditional Native American dances in costume. The evening will end with the awards banquet at Plainview Country Club.

Fee for the 18 th World Congress of Poets is $125, which covers the sessions and all special events. After April 1, registration fee is $150. Lodging and meals are separate charges, with limited space available in Wayland dormitories. Those wishing to stay in campus housing and eat all meals in the dining hall will pay $225 for the week in addition to the registration fee. A meal ticket for the week in Wayland's campus dining hall is $150, and guests may opt to stay at local hotels and eat meals on their own. Special per-day rates also apply for persons interested in attending only portions of the congress.

Poets interested in attending may send one poem and a short biographical sketch to be included in the congress anthology. Each conference registrant will receive an anthology.

For information on registering for the congress, contact Bettye Givens at bettye@parisamericanacademy.edu or Dr. Otto Schacht at (806) 291-1022.