Bridgewater College to host International Poetry Festival

bridgewaterPoets and publishers from around the world will converge upon Bridgewater College Jan. 15-18 for a conference to celebrate poetry, creativity and the global exchange of ideas.

The Bridgewater International Poetry Festival is designed primarily as a performance venue, but will also feature seminars and informal sessions in the college’s Boitnott Room for discussion and networking. Each registered poet will have 20 minutes to present his or her work to the gathering, which will feature writers from Egypt, South Africa, India, Japan, France, Zimbabwe, Venezuela, Kuwait and Canada, among others. Poets from 15 states, including 21 poets from Virginia, are also expected to participate.

Highlights include “Georgia Review” editor Stephen Corey, Jamaican reggae poet Ras Takura and Aimee Suzara, a poet from Oakland, Calif., who will lead a writing and performance workshop.

The command performance, which is free and open to the public, will be at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 18, in Cole Hall.

Stanley A. Galloway, a professor of English at Bridgewater and internationally recognized poet, has organized the conference as part of his Interterm class.

“We want to demonstrate to students that these poets are real people, not just names in a book,” he said. “If my students can realize that poets are real people, it’s not so hard for them to realize that they, too, could be poets. Also, we want students to be more globally aware, and we want to achieve that, in part, by bringing the world to Bridgewater.”

Galloway said the conference will also feature four sessions with nine editors for those who are interested in sending out their work for possible publication. Three creative writing workshops also will be offered.

The conference is open to all and registration details may be obtained online at wp.bridgewater.edu/bipf. Galloway may also be contacted at (540) 828-5339, or by email at sgallowa@bridgewater.edu.

Bridgewater College is a private, four-year liberal arts college located in the Central Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Founded in 1880, it was the state’s first private, coeducational college. Today, Bridgewater College is home to approximately 1,800 undergraduate students.