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April 5, 2008

Why Study Women's Poetry?

Five Pre-eminent Scholars Answer the Question at One-Day Conference

A first of its kind one-day conference on women's poetry drew dozens of scholars and educators from across the area and as far away as New Orleans, Ohio and Maine to St. Francis College on April 5 to answer the question, Why Study Women's Poetry?

"This was a wonderful opportunity to discuss, read, analyze and, yes, argue about women's poetry," said Conference Chair and English Professor Wendy Galgan. "The five extraordinary women who joined us for the conference have touched the lives of everyone interested in women's writing, women's poetry and women's lives."

Meena Alexander started the conference at the first plenary session by speaking about poetry in a time of violence, blending the political and personal in an engaging and interesting address. Alicia Ostriker directly and trenchantly addressed the conference topic in another plenary, "Why Study Women's Poetry? Are You Kidding?" Marilyn Hacker devoted her plenary address to discussing intertextuality in women's poetry, reading from her own work and the poems of others who have influenced and inspired her, and drawing fascinating connections between and among the works.

Keynote speaker Mary Ann Caws examined what she called the "epiclyric" heroine in women's poetry, and the movement that a heroine makes throughout an epiclyric work. The conference concluded with a poetry reading by Grace Schulman in which she presented works from her current collection, The Broken String, and finished her reading with a brand new poem.

"At this conference, scholars and poets, faculty and students, Ph.D.s and graduate students engaged in a day of inquiry into women's poetry: its joys and tribulations, its practitioners and purpose, its music and its power and its poignancy," added Professor Galgan. Almost 20 papers were discussed during breakout session, ranging in topics from motherhood to a panel devoted to the poems of Emily Dickinson.

The Conference was sponsored by the St. Francis College Department of English, Office of the Academic Dean, Women's Studies Center and Women's Studies Minor.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
St. Francis College, 180 Remsen Street, Brooklyn Heights, NY 11201

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