Poet Laureates to keynote international gathering

PLAINVIEW, Texas - Former state poets laureate will serve as keynote speakers for the 18 th World Congress of Poets, slated for June 21-26 on the campus of Wayland Baptist University.

Featured speakers for the event include Donald Hall, poet laureate of New Hampshire from 1984-89; Jack Myers, Poet Laureate of Texas in 2003; and Walt McDonald, Texas Poet Laureate in 2001.

Hall is a former professor at the University of Michigan and has published 15 books of poetry and 22 books of prose since his first work at age 16. A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, Hall has written several award-winning pieces, including The One Day, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and a Pulitzer Prize nomination; The Happy Man, which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; and Exiles and Marriages, which was the Academy's Lamont Poetry Selection for 1956. He has also penned children's books, autobiographical works and has edited numerous anthologies.

A native of Boston, Jack Myers is director of creative writing at Southern Methodist University in Dallas and is on the board of The Writer's Garrett, a Dallas literary center. He has authored 17 books, including several about the craft of poetry, and has won two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships and the National Poetry Series Open Competition. A graduate of the University of Massachusetts and the University of Iowa, he has served as poet-in-residence for two other universities.

A native of Texas, Walt McDonald retired in 2002 after teaching English at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. He has authored 20 books of poetry and one book of fiction, including Great Lonely Places of the Texas Plains, which featured poetry paired with color photos by Texas State Photographer Wyman Meinzer. His poetry has also been featured in numerous journals. McDonald has earned six awards from the Texas Institute of Letters, including the Lon Tinkle Memorial Award for Excellence Sustained Throughout a Career, in 2000. Four of his books won Western Heritage Awards from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame.

Sponsored by the United Poets Laureate International, the Panhandle-Plains Writers' Workshop and Wayland, the event will also feature addresses by Dr. Benjamin Yuzon, president of UPLI, Dr. Ronald Shafer, UPLI Regional director, and Dr. David Smith, chancellor of Texas Tech University. Poets from around the world will be presenting papers and reading poetry throughout the event as well.

Bettye Hammer Givens of Plainview is serving as president of the 18 th World Congress of Poets. For information on registering for the event, contact Givens atbettye@parisamericanacademy.edu or Dr. Otto Schacht at (806) 291-1022.