Attendees and participants filled the Wildcat Theater this afternoon for the 29th annual National Undergraduate Literature Conference to listen and share their favorite poems.
Weber State University also hosted the 2014 Favorite Poems Project on Wednesday as part of NULC.
The Favorite Poem Project is held to celebrate, document and encourage poetry’s role in America’s life. Robert Pinsky, the 39th poet laureate of the United States, started the project in 1997.
Readers included Clint Kingsley, NULC student intern; Sarah Vause, English instructor; Scott Rogers, associate director of English; Tim Eck, bookstore director; Bryan Hamblin, senior adviser in the Student Success Center; Craig Oberg, microbiology professor; Gail Niklason, director of institutional effectiveness, academic planning and evaluation; Colleen Packer, associate professor for communication; and Susan Matt, history chair.
“I have been an intern for the past few years,” Kingsley said. “It has been a marvelous experience.”
Authors Ron Carlson, Lisa Lenard-Cook and Bret Anthony Johnston read at the conference as well.
“I am impressed with all of the talent here today,” Lenard-Cook said.
Carlson, a native of Logan, authored “The Signal” and “Return to Oakpine. His work has appeared in Esquire, Harpers and The New Yorker, among many other journals. He has been awarded with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and the Cohen Prize at Ploughshares. He is currently the director of the graduate program of fiction at the University of California, Irvine.
Lenard-Cook is the author of novels such as “Dissonance,” which won the Jim Sagel Prize; “Coyote Morning,” and “Mind Your Story.” Her short fiction has been featured in the Southwest Review, Rosebud and Puerto del Sol, among other journals. She co-founded ABQ Writers Co-op, the magazine Bosque and the Bosque Fiction Prize. She is a faculty member for the Santa Barbara Writers Conference and the Taos Summer Writers Conference.
Johnston, a WSU alumnus, is the author of “Remember Me Like This” and “Corpus Christi: Stories.” His work has appeared in journals like Atlantic Monthly, Esquire and The Paris Review, as well as the anthology “The Best American Short Stories.” He has received a National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellowship and the 5 Under 35 award from the National Book Foundation. Johnston is currently teaching in the Bennington Writing Seminars and at Harvard University.
“People often ask, ‘What is this poem, story, lesson about?’” Johnston said. “I don’t think literature is about things. I think poems, stories and lessons are things. They get to be just that, they are that significant.”
NULC is held every April at WSU. Professors Mikel Vause and Michael Meyer started it in 1985 to create an opportunity for undergraduates to present their work to an audience of their peers. Those who attend also have the chance to hear from some of the most important writers in contemporary literature.
“This is the only undergraduate literature conference in the United States,” Sarah Vause said. “Students from all over get to present their work and develop as academics.”
NULC will continue through Saturday.