WT Welcomes Back Award-Winning Poet and Author to Campus


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CANYON, Texas – West Texas A&M University will welcome Pushcart Prize-winner George Bilgere as part of the Distinguished Lecture Series and the Dorothy Patterson Poetry Series.

Bilgere will present a poetry reading at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 in the Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex Recital Hall. All DLS events are free and open to the public.

The author will read from his six published collections of poetry; four of those—“Imperial,” “Central Air,” “Blood Pages,” and “The White Museum”—will be available for purchase and autographs following the event.

“George’s poetry is very accessible, often humorous, but ultimately serious,” said Dr. Eric Meljac, assistant professor of English and director of creative writing at WT. “His insight into the small things we seem to miss about everyday life, and how important they are to our existence as human beings, is unparalleled by any poet I have ever known.”

The free event— the fifth of six lectures featured as part of WT’s DLS fall schedule—is hosted by the Department of English, Philosophy, and Modern Languages.

“I was excited to invite George back for a second visit to be part of the series he began with what was supposed to be a small reading in 2016 but has now grown to a yearly event that rivals many literary readings held across the Panhandle,” said Meljac, who also serves as assistant director of gender studies.

“The last time I spoke at WT, the audience was truly wonderful,” Bilgere said. “I have rarely read to a group of poetry lovers who were so warm and generous with the appreciation of poetry, and I’m eager to see some familiar faces in the crowd when I return.”

In addition to the Pushcart Prize, Bilgere has won numerous awards, including the Midland Authors Award. He also received grants from the Witter Bynner Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Commission, and the Ohio Arts Council.

His poems have appeared in numerous anthologies and journals including “Poetry,” “Ploughshares,” the “Kenyon Review,” “Fulcrum” and the “Best American Poetry Series.”

“I want students and faculty to leave the reading and workshop with a renewed sense of the importance–the necessity–of poetry in our lives,” Bilgere said. “We’re living in a complexly troubled world at the moment, and poetry has the power to reassure us and to remind us of the essential goodness of humanity. And I want to make people laugh and leave with a smile.”

In addition to the evening event, Bilgere will lead a poetry workshop for students, faculty and staff at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 3 in the Classroom Center Room 301.

Supporting the arts and humanities is a key goal of the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million One West comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched in September 2021 — has raised more than $110 million.

The mission of the Distinguished Lecture Series is to invite nationally prominent experts to the WT campus to expose students to some of the most important issues of our times and to inspire and enlighten students, faculty, and the community.