Poetry Conference

Join our writing community.

About the 2022 Conference

This year’s conference will offer participants the choice to attend in person at Cherry Hall on Western Kentucky University’s campus in Bowling Green, Kentucky, or attend sessions via Zoom. Please see the schedule below to see which events are in person and which events will be live via Zoom. If you are unable to attend in person, ALL EVENTS will be streamed live via Zoom.

Our keynote by Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson is free and open to the public. She will deliver the keynote in person to a live audience at the Lexington Public Library’s Farish Theater in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. We will also livestream her presentation via Zoom and YouTube.

The conference fee of $30 grants you access to all panels, readings, workshops, and events. Members will also receive a post-conference packet with event recordings and resources from presenters. Become a member today!

We hope to see you in Bowling Green as we gather in person for the first time in two years!

Questions? Contact us at kystatepoetry@gmail.com

Sponsored by:

Funding has been provided by Kentucky Humanities and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or Kentucky Humanities.


Times are listed in Eastern (ET) and Central (CT) times.

Events are listed as in person (IP) or virtual (V).

Saturday, October 8

10:30 AM-12:00 PM ET / 9:30-11:00 AM CT

Welcome + Poetry Reading | Women Poets of Kentucky (V)

Featuring Olivia Cole, Marissa Davis, Kelly Norman Ellis, Ellen Hagan, Minda Honey, Joy Priest

12:15-1:45 pm ET / 11:15 AM – 12:45 PM CT

Writing Workshop | Liberating Lists (V)

Led by NitaJade Jackson

This writing workshop aims to uncover the liberating potential of narrative list poems. In this workshop, participants will be introduced to advanced list poems and guided through the list-poem writing process.

2:00-3:00 PM ET / 1:00-2:00 PM CT

Lunch + Social Time

Socialize with other conference attendees while you eat. Lunch is on your own (not provided).

3:15-4:15 PM ET / 2:15-3:15 PM CT

Panel + Reading | Chapbooks: Extended Play (V)

Featuring Morgan Adams, Lisa Low, Robin Rahija, Britton Shurley

As chapbook authors, publishers, and editors, these panelists will share their work and experiences in a discussion of the chapbook relating to form, personal approach, publishing, editorial decisions, and creative practice.

4:30-6:00 PM ET / 3:30-5:00 PM CT

Writing Workshop | Inspired by Art (IP)

Led by Jay McCoy

Poets know that art inspires art. For ages, we have relied upon ekphrasis as an integral exploratory method in our creative tool box. Finding inspiration in another piece of art has pulled many a writer over a block. And art manifests in many forms. In this generative workshop, we will explore inspiration from a variety of forms – from sculpture to photography, from dance to architecture, from painting to music.

6:00-7:00 PM ET / 5:00-6:00 PM CT

Reception + Social Hour

Socialize with conference attendees at this social hour and keynote reception.

7:00 PM ET / 6:00 PM CT

Keynote: Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson
Free and open to the public. The keynote will take place live and in person at the Lexington Public Library Main Branch in downtown Lexington, Kentucky. We will also livestream the event via Zoom and on our YouTube page.

Sunday, October 9

10:30 AM-12:00 PM ET / 9:30-11:00 AM CT

Writing Workshop | Making Erasure Poems (IP)

Led by Dave Harrity

Language holds the possibility for artistic creation—for elegance, disobedience, or naming precisely. The practice of erasure—leveraging existing texts to make something wholly new—shows us that, with a little finesse, language can be shaped into poetry. In this workshop, we’ll take a look at the poetry in front of us, hidden in the inherited words and images that we experience each day. In this generative workshop, we’ll examine some exemplary models of erasure, discuss the challenges, techniques, and approaches to creating erasure poems, and try our hand at creating one. Bring an open mind, a curiosity for potential, and a couple of texts to erase along with some pens, pencils, or markers.

12:15-1:15 PM ET / 11:15 AM-12:15 PM CT

Panel + Reading | The Art of Betrayal and the Craft of Precision (IP)

Featuring Marissa Davis (joining virtually), Kristen Renee Miller (joining virtually), Jeremy Paden, Katerina Stoykova

A reading and craft-talk on the art of translation. Kristen, Marissa, Katerina, and Jeremy will read from recent translations and talk about the rewards, challenges, and lessons that translation provides poets.

1:30-3:00 PM ET / 12:30-2:00 PM CT

Lunch + Social Hour

Socialize with other conference attendees while you eat. Lunch is on your own (not provided).

2:00-3:00 PM ET / 1:00-2:00 PM CT

Kentucky State Poetry Society Membership Meeting (IP + V)

Open to KSPS Members only.

3:15-4:15 PM ET / 2:15-3:15 PM CT

Panel + Reading | Breaking Well-Worn Rules (IP)

Featuring Western Kentucky University MFA faculty Tyler Vaughn Hayes, Jarek Jarvis, Kate Nezelek, moderated by Tom C. Hunley

Yesterday’s truth becomes today’s lie. Yesterday’s brand new car becomes today’s rusting struggle-buggy. Yesterday’s conceptions of the role of the poet need to be re-examined against today’s realities, and yesterday’s advice about writing needs to be challenged and updated. These three Western Kentucky University MFA students have thought long and hard about poetry, about making it new. This should appeal to experienced poets wishing to stay current and to new poets finding their way.

4:30-5:30 PM ET / 3:30-4:30 PM CT

Poetry Reading: KSPS Contest Winners (V)

Hear the award-winning poems from the student contest, adult contests, and the conference weekend contest.

5:45-7:00 PM ET / 4:45-6:00 PM CT

Poetry Reading + Open Mic (IP + V)

This year, we will have two open mics happening at the same time: one in person (featuring Cheryl Hopson and Tom C. Hunley) and one virtual (featuring Tejaswini Sudhakar and Iris A. Law).

Sign up to share your own work during open mic after our featured readers! Sign-ups will open October 8.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your registration is not complete until you make your payment. Please make sure you send your $30 registration fee to paypal.me/kystatepoetry, click “Send,” and enter the amount.

If you are adding or updating your membership, please include that cost ($35 for adults or $15 for students) in your payment total.

Pay It Forward: You can also pay more than $30 as an additional donation to support other writers who would like to but otherwise won’t be able to attend the conference. Pay it forward if you can!

Contact us to pay by check.

Much gratitude to our sponsors! Show them some poetry love.

Accents Publishing

Bluegrass Writers Studio

Naslund-Mann Graduate School of Writing at Spalding University

Sarabande Books

Shadelandhouse Modern Press

Spencer’s Coffee

WKU English Department

Kentucky Humanities

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