In conjunction with Gannon University’s Springtopia celebration, the school is bringing renowned performance poet Patricia Smith to campus.
Smith will host a seminar at 3 p.m. Thursday in Room 3205 of the Palumbo Academic Center and will also serve as the keynote speaker for the English Department Awards Night.
The afternoon seminar is a free event, open to the public. Smith is the author of six poetry collections, two nonfiction books and a children’s book, and is also a four-time Individual Champion of National Poetry Slam, the most successful competitor in Slam history.
Smith has also been featured in the nationally released film “Slamnation” and appeared on the award-winning HBO series “Def Poetry Jam.”
Along with being a sensational performer and quasi-famous cable star, Smith’s credentials include faculty member at Cave Canem, professor of English at CUNY/College of Staten Island and faculty member of the Sierra Nevada MFA program.
Later Thursday, Smith will be featured during the English Department Awards event. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. in the Yehl Ballroom.
The intent is to honor winners of Gannon’s high school poetry contests and university poetry, journalism and research writing contests. Approximately 45 students will receive awards in Gannon’s poetry, journalism and research writing contests as well as the national high school poetry contest.
The Gannon poetry and research writing contests include categories for undergraduate and graduate students. Berwyn Moore, an English department professor, is the planner for this event.
Moore said students should come to the English awards because they “highlight student achievement.”
“Sure, we have Celebrate Gannon and sports events, but this really highlights writing and creativity,” Moore said.
In addition, Totem 2015 will be unveiled and the cover art winner will be recognized.
Totem is Gannon’s literary arts magazine and is published once a year, in the spring semester. It collects prose, poetry and artwork submissions in the fall. Then, the pieces are reviewed by Totem and exceptional works are selected for publication.
Totem also selects a piece of art work for the cover and uniquely binds the works. Samantha Janik is a senior English major and the editor-in-chief for Totem.
“Totem has won various awards and the previous editions have all been beautiful, so we try to continue that mentality when picking how to bind the book,” Janik said. “This year, we went with something totally different and I’m very excited for people to see.
“Without giving too much away, the book folds in a unique way and the cover art is an image of a woman folded up. So when you open the book up, not only does it unfold but it appears that the cover is doing the same thing.
“We did something totally different and I am hoping that everyone enjoys what we came up with.”
This is the 38th year the Gannon University English Department has hosted an awards night.
For more information contact Moore at [email protected] or by calling 814-871-7504.