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TCU 360

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TCU 360

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Humanities Symposium to feature Billy Collins

More than 600 people had requested tickets to attend a poetry reading featuring former U.S. Poet Laureate Billy Collins, Curt Rode, TCU English instructor and event coordinator said.

Poet Laureates have received the highest poetry honor in the U.S., so Rode said TCU was fortunate to host him.

Collins’ presentation is part of the Ronald E. Moore Humanities Symposium: Living By Poetry, which will feature nine professional poets. A committee of English and Philosophy faculty members along with event sponsor Ronald Moore, hand-selected Collins and the other professional poets that would present, Rode said.

“It’s going to be quite a huge event…Which is pretty substantial for a poetry reading,” Rode said.

The event also features the editor of Poetry Magazine, Christian Wiman, three current or former Texas Poet Laureates, Alan Birkelbach, Paul Ruffin and Karla Morton, and award winning poets Kevin Prufer, Sandra Beasley, Arthur Smith and Ada Limon.

“Poetry is serious business, but it’s also a lot of fun, I think these poets are all very energetic and all very personable,” he said.

At the symposium, the professional poets would read their work and talk about the contemporary state of poetry. Rode said he hoped those who attend the event would see the human face behind the poets and their work.

“We’re trying to show people that poetry is alive and well, it’s not something that should just be left in the classroom,” he said. “Real people talk about their real experiences in accessible ways through poetry.”

In addition to the professional poets, seven TCU students will read their award winning poetry at the event, Rode said.

Senior creative writing major Kelli Trapnell will debut two poems that won awards at TCU’s Creative Writing Awards Ceremony on Tuesday, she said.

“I think it will be cool to hear the students read alongside the professionals,” Trapnell said.

In addition to reading her own poetry, Trapnell said she was also excited to meet the accomplished professional poets that would present and have the opportunity to network.

“I’m excited to hear what they have to say,” she said.

“Because obviously they’re professionals who are doing really well at what they do so it will be good to hear what they talk about.”

Trapnell was already familiar with work by many of the featured poets, she said.

As an intern at TCU Press, the university publishing house, Trapnell said she helped edit work by Ruffin and Birkelbach. She said she was excited to put a face with the names.

Trapnell also met Morton a few months earlier when Morton read some of her poetry for TCU students in the English Department.

“She was really friendly, and I really like her poetry,” Trapnell said. “It’s really accessible, and uses a lot of concrete imagery associated with Texas…it was really interesting.”

Trapnell said she felt literary events like the symposium are underrated. Students think poetry readings are for a narrow literary niche but poetry is something anyone could enjoy, she said.

“Really I think that poetry is something that’s applicable to a lot of things in life,” she said. “Which that sounds like a lame thing to say, but really and truly I think it would be enlightening for anybody who wanted to go.”

Ronald E. Moore Humanities Symposium: Living by Poetry

When: Today, 2-5 p.m.

Where: Mary Wright Admission Center

What: Why Does Poetry Matter? and Reading I

When: Today, 7 p.m.,

Where: TCU Brown-Lupton University Union (BLUU) Ballroom

Keynote Presentation and Reading: Billy Collins

When: Tomorrow, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Mary Wright Admission Center

What: Favorite and Overlooked Poems/Poets, Acts of Revision and Reading II

When: Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: Mary Wright Admission Center

What: Regional Poetries, Reading III, Poetry & Our Lives, The Writing Life and Reading IV

A complete schedule of events and speakers is available at


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