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West Texas A&M University will host Pushcart Prize winner George Bilgere as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series and the Dorothy Patterson Poetry Series.
Bilgere will present a poetry reading at 7 p.m. on November 2 in the Recital Hall of the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex. All DLS events are free and open to the public.
The author will read excerpts from his six published poetry books; four of them – “Imperial”, “Central Air”, “Blood Pages” and “The White Museum” – will be available for purchase and autographs after the event.
“George’s poetry is very accessible, often humorous, but ultimately serious,” said Dr. Eric Meljac, Assistant Professor of English and Director of Creative Writing at WT. “His insight into the little things we seem to miss in everyday life, and their importance to our existence as human beings, is unmatched by any poet I have ever known.”
The free event — the fifth of six lectures presented as part of WT’s DLS fall program — is hosted by the Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages.
“I was delighted to invite George back for a second visit to be part of the series he started with what was supposed to be a little read in 2016 but has now grown into an annual event that rivals many many literary readings organized across the Panhandle,” said Meljac, who is also deputy director of gender studies.
“The last time I spoke at WT, the audience was really wonderful,” Bilgere said. “Rarely have I read to a group of poetry lovers who were so warm and generous with the appreciation of poetry, and I look forward to seeing familiar faces in the crowd when I return.”
In addition to the Pushcart Prize, Bilgere has won numerous awards, including the Midland Authors Award. He has also received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Commission, and the Ohio Arts Council.
Her poems have been published in numerous anthologies and journals, including “Poetry”, “Ploughshares”, “Kenyon Review”, “Fulcrum” and “Best American Poetry Series”.
“I want students and faculty to leave the reading and the workshop with a renewed sense of the importance – the necessity – of poetry in our lives,” Bilgere said. “We currently live in a complex and troubled world, and poetry has the power to reassure us and remind us of the essential goodness of humanity. And I want to make people laugh and leave with a smile.
In addition to the evening event, Bilgere will host a poetry workshop for students, faculty, and staff at 12:30 p.m. on November 3 in Classroom 301.
Supporting the arts and humanities is a key goal of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From begging to the world.
This plan is fueled by the historic amount of $125 million one west huge fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which launched publicly in September 2021 — has raised more than $110 million.
The mission of the Distinguished Lecture Series is to invite nationally recognized experts to the WT campus to expose students to some of the most important issues of our time and to inspire and enlighten students, faculty, and the community.