Back to Our Roots: Elizabeth Alexander, Karl Kirchwey Meredith Martin ’97 & Abe Louise Young ’99


ELIZABETH ALEXANDER directed the Poetry Center in its first two years. Hers is a vital and vivid poetic voice on race, gender, politics, and motherhood. American Sublime, her most recent collection, was one of three finalists for the 2005 Pulitzer Prize. She is a professor at Yale University.

Conkling Poet at Smith ’95-’97, KARL KIRCHWEY contributed crucial ideas to the Poetry Center project. Kirchwey served, for thirteen years, as director of the 92nd Street Y Unterberg Poetry Center in New York City. Author of four books, he directs the Creative Writing Program at Bryn Mawr College.

Poet and scholar MEREDITH MARTIN ’97 helped Annie Boutelle develop the proposal for a Poetry Center. Writer, educator, and editor ABE LOUISE YOUNG ’99 assisted Elizabeth Alexander in the first two years of the Poetry Center.

From the Director:

The Poetry Center’s 10th anniversary year features old friends and new faces, including alumnae poets, past and present Conkling poets, and poets who appear in The Face of Poetry, an anthology with extraordinary portraits by Margaretta Mitchell ’57.

Ten years?! How dumbfounding & delightful! While we’re not sure how a decade could possibly have gone by, we do know how to celebrate – and we hope you’ll join us! Here are some ways that you can help us to celebrate:

  • Join us at the opening reception for the exhibition The Face of Poetry: Tuesday, Oct 2nd 4:00 pm. in the Book Arts Gallery (3rd floor, Neilson Library), sponsored by the Mortimer Rare Book Room. Special guests include former U.S. Poet Laureate Robert Hass and the photographer, Margaretta Mitchell, who will give a talk on her work the following day at 4:30 pm.
  • Stop by the Poetry Center in Wright Hall to see the display of poetry books by alumnae!
  • Purchase—or simply admire—our fine letterpress broadsides: on view in the Poetry Center or on our website.
  • Visit the special Alumnae Poetry page on our website:
  • Write us a note to let us know your thoughts on our first ten years.
  • Mark your calendars: February 12-Sekou Sundiata & musical guests, March 4-Tony Hoagland, April 8-Sharon Olds, April 22-Alumnae Sampler and end-of-year bash!
  • Come to all our readings.

And of course we are endlessly grateful for gifts of any size!

Ellen Doré Watson