VLP set to host annual poetry festival on Feb. 22

VLP set to host annual poetry festival on Feb. 22
Anyone interested in listening to good poetry or learning to write poems is invited to attend the Vermillion Literary Project's annual poetry festival, on Thursday, Feb. 22, with most events scheduled to be held on the campus of The University of South Dakota in Vermillion. Participants will have the opportunity to write poetry during morning and afternoon workshops led by professional, award-winning writers; attend poetry readings featuring these writers; and attend (and possible participate in) an evening poetry slam, a competition for poets.

Our featured writers' presence and participation are made possible by a Speakers Bureau grant from the South Dakota Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; by the College of Arts and Sciences; by the Department of English; and by the Vermillion Literary Project at The University of South Dakota.

The schedule of events:


  • 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. – Check-in and late registration, Old Main room 118, USD campus.
  • 9 to 11 a.m. – Poetry workshop with writer Neil Harrison.
  • 12 to 1 p.m. Reading featuring writers Neil Harrison and Sarah Den Boer, Farber Hall (Old Main), USD campus.
  • 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. – Poetry workshop with writer Debra Marquart
  • 4 to 5 p.m. – Reading featuring writer Debra Marquart, Farber Hall (Old Main), USD campus.
  • 7 to 9 p.m. – Poetry reading and poetry slam featuring Debra Marquart, Coffee Shop Gallery, 24 W. Main St. (downtown Vermillion). Slam poets, bring three poems – prizes will be awarded!

    The workshop fees are: General public, $6 for one workshop or $10 for both workshops; Current USD students, $3 for one workshop or $5 for both workshops; USD faculty and staff, $5 for one workshop or $8 for both workshops

    The noon reading, 4 p.m. reading, and evening poetry slam are free. The postmark deadline for on-time workshop registration is Feb. 16, with an additional fee for late registration. To get a registration form, visit the VLP Poetry Festival Web site at www.usd.edu/orgs/projlit/poetryfestival/ or stop by Dakota Hall 212 on The University of South Dakota campus. Lodging info, maps, and other festival details are available on the Web site. Questions? E-mail Michelle Rogge Gannon at mrogge@usd.edu or call 605-677-5229.

    About the writers:

    Debra Marquart is an associate professor of English at Iowa State University. Her work has appeared in numerous journals such as The North American Review, Three Penny Review, New Letters, River City, Crab Orchard Review, Cumberland Poetry Review, The Sun Magazine, Southern Poetry Review, Orion, Mid-American Review and Witness.

    In the '70s and '80s, Marquart was a touring road musician with rock and heavy metal bands. Her collection of short stories, The Hunger Bone: Rock & Roll Stories, draws from her experiences as a female road musician. Marquart continues to perform with a jazz-poetry rhythm and blues project, the Bone People, with whom she has released two CDs: Orange Parade (acoustic rock) and A Regular Dervish (jazz-poetry).

    Marquart's work has received numerous awards and commendations, including the John Guyon Nonfiction Award (Crab Orchard Review), the Mid-American Review Nonfiction Award, The Headwater's Prize from New Rivers Press, the Minnesota Voices Award, the Pearl Poetry Award (Pearl Editions), the Shelby Foote Prize for the Essay from the Faulkner Society, and a Pushcart Prize.

    A performance poet, Marquart is the author of two poetry collections: Everything's a Verb and From Sweetness. Her memoir, The Horizontal World: Growing Up Wild in the Middle of Nowhere, was published by Counterpoint Books in 2006, and she's currently at work on a novel, set in Greece, titled The Olive Harvest.

    Neil Harrison teaches English at Northeast Community College in Norfolk, NE. His work has appeared in various journals, and he won the Western Reading Series Editor's Choice Award for poetry in 2004. His first poetry chapbook, Story, was published by Logan House Press in 1995 and 1996, and several of his stories were published in the Logan House anthology, Here from There, in 1997. A collection of poems, In a River of Wind, was published by Bridge Burner's Publishing in 2000. His latest chapbook, Into the River Canyon at Dusk, was published by Lone Willow Press in 2005.

    Sarah Den Boer is a second-year Ph.D. student in the English department at The University of South Dakota. Her area of specialization is creative writing (poetry). She is from Canada.

    The Vermillion Literary Project is a student organization at The University of South Dakota that publishes an annual literary magazine and hosts a variety of literary events for both the USD community and the general public. For more information, visit http://www.usd.edu/orgs/projlit or call 605-677-5229.

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