University of South Carolina

Rewards of risk topic of sixth annual Poets Summit Sept. 19

Three acclaimed poets will explore the idea of taking risks through poetry at the South Carolina Poetry Initiative’s 2009 Poets Summit to be held Saturday, Sept. 19.

The University of South Carolina event – now in its sixth year – will take place from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the Columbia Museum of Art. It is free and open to the public.

Sharon Olds
Sharon Olds

Sharon Olds, former poet laureate of New York State (1998 - 2000) and a National Book Critics Circle Award winner for her volume, “The Dead and the Living,” will be the featured speaker. Her work over the past four decades exemplifies risk, earning praise from top poets such as Michael Ondaatje, best known for his novel, “The English Patient,” who has called Olds’ poems “pure fire in the hands…on the verge of failing, and in the end leaping up.”

Rosanna Warren and DeLana R.A. Dameron also will speak at the event.

Warren’s work has won numerous awards, including the prestigious Pushcart Prize for works published by small presses. She is the Emma Ann MacLachlan Metcalf Professor of the Humanities and a professor of English and romance studies at Boston University.

Dameron’s “How God Ends Us” was the 2009 South Carolina Poetry Book Prize winner and was published this spring by the University of South Carolina press. She is a native of Columbia and lives in New York City.

The Poets Summit will feature workshops and readings by the three poets and conclude with open-mic performances. Lunch will be provided by the S.C. Poetry Initiative.

The university’s 2009 Poets Summit is funded in part by a grant from the Southern Arts Federation in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the South Carolina Poetry Initiative.

For more information about the Sept. 19 Poets Summit and other S.C. Poetry Initiative events, including October’s “Stark Raven Mad,” which will celebrate the 200th anniversary of Edgar Allan Poe’s birth, contact Charlene Spearen at 803-777-5492 or via e-mail at or visit the Web site:

The South Carolina Poetry Initiative
The South Carolina Poetry Initiative, which falls under the umbrella of the University of South Carolina’s department of English, is the state’s premiere organization devoted to promoting the art of writing, reading and performing poetry. Founded and directed by English professor and poet Kwame Dawes in the fall of 2004, and with assistance from poet and associate director Charlene Spearen, the SCPI has brought increased attention to South Carolina poets and lovers of poetry through its contests, publishing initiatives, workshops, schools program, readings and advocacy for the importance of poetry in the lives of South Carolinians.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 08/31/09 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 08/31/09 @ 9:21 AM | Permalink

2009 Poets Summit

  • When: 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 19
  • Where: Columbia Museum of Art

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