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Poetry lineup released

By Staff | Sep 4, 2009

The fifth annual Sotto Voce Poetry Festival will be held in Shepherdstown Oct. 16-18, its organizers have announced.

This year’s festival will feature readings and book signings by four nationally recognized poets: Rick Campbell, Alice Friman, Stanley Plumly and Peggy Shumaker.

Also participating will be noted English professor, critic, and editor Peter Stitt, who will join in a panel discussion with Campbell.

All of the featured poets will lead small-group workshops that include a range of offerings for poets of all skill levels.

Campbell and Stitt will also be available for one-on-one consultations with individual poets.

Full details of the Festival’s schedule are posted on the Festival’s website at www.somondocopress.com/sottovoce.

Those who wish to enroll in the workshops and consultations are urged to do so now because those sessions will be strictly limited. People can enroll online through the website or by calling 888-812-1885.

The Sotto Voce festival was launched in 2005 to promote public appreciation and awareness of poets and poetry and to create a new audience for poetry in the mid-Atlantic region. Sotto Voce means “in a low voice, softly, in an undertone” in Italian.

The festival was founded by and continues to be directed by Shepherdstown poet, novelist and playwright Hope Maxwell-Snyder.

It is sponsored by Shepherd University, Jefferson Security Bank, HBP Inc., and Christian Caine jewelers.

Brief biographies of this year’s festival participants follow below.

Rick Campbell’s newest book of poems is Dixmont, from Autumn House Press. He has authored three other volumes of poetry and published poems and essays in many journals. He has received a Walt McDonald Prize, a Pushcart Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, and two poetry fellowships from the Florida Arts Council. He is the director of Anhinga Press and the Anhinga Prize for Poetry, and he teaches English at Florida A&M University.

Alice Friman’s ninth collection of poetry is Vinculum, forthcoming from LSU Press. She has received prizes from the Poetry Society of America, the New England Poetry Club, and Truman State University, as well as fellowships from the Indiana Arts Commission, the Arts Council of Indianapolis, and the Bernheim Foundation. She won the 2001 James Boatwright Prize from Shenandoah. She has been anthologized widely and published in twelve different countries. She is currently Poet-in-Residence at Georgia College & State University.

Stanley Plumley’s books of poetry include Out-of-the-Body Travel(1977), which won the William Carlos Williams Award and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award and In the Outer Dark(1970), which won the Delmore Schwartz Memorial Award. His other honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Ingram-Merrill Foundation Fellowship, and an NEA grant. Recent publications include Posthumous Keats: A Personal Biography(2008). He has edited the Ohio Reviewand the Iowa Reviewand has taught at numerous institutions including Princeton, Columbia, and the universities of Iowa and Michigan, as well as at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. He is currently a professor of English at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Peggy Shumaker’s latest book is Just Breathe Normally, a lyrical nonfiction work published by the University of Nebraska Press. Her most recent book of poetry is Blaze, a collaboration with painter Kesler Woodward (2005). Her poetry and nonfiction have been widely published. She has been a writer in residence for the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Poet in Residence at the Stadler Center for Poetry at Bucknell University, and President of the Board of Directors of the Associated Writing Programs. Professor emerita from University of Alaska Fairbanks (where she directed the M.F.A. program in Creative Writing), she currently teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop.

Peter Stitt is a professor of English at Gettysburg College and editor of The Gettysburg Review. A noted critic of contemporary literature and former editor of the Georgia Review, he has authored two books about contemporary poetry. His work has also appeared in the New York Times Book Review, The Paris Review, The Kenyon Review, The Ohio Review, The Sewanee Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, and other journals. His honors include a PEN/Nora Magid Award for Excellence in Editing.