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Poet Bruce Guernsey to present Endowed English Reading Nov. 6 at Whitworth

October 21, 2009

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Award-winning poet Bruce Guernsey is Whitworth's Endowed English Reader for 2009. Guernsey will read from his works on Friday, Nov. 6, at 7 p.m. in the Robinson Teaching Theatre in Weyerhaeuser Hall at Whitworth University. A book sale and reception will follow the reading. Admission is free. For more information, please call (509) 777-3253.

Guernsey is a distinguished professor emeritus at Eastern Illinois University, where he taught creative writing and American literature for 25 years. His poems have appeared in Poetry, The Atlantic, American Scholar, and more diverse publications such as The Journal of Medical Opinion, Cat Fancy, and Yankee. His prose has been published in War, Literature and the Arts, The Virginia Quarterly Review, and Fly Rod & Reel. His essay "The Raven's Gift" won the creative nonfiction award from the journal, Flyway. He also was a featured poet in Ted Kooser's American Life in Poetry.

Guernsey has published three of his own poetry collections, including New England Primer (Cherry Grove Editions, 2008), The Lost Brigade (Water Press and Media, 2005), and January Thaw (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1982). In 2007, he took over as editor of Spoon River Poetry Review.

Guernsey has received fellowships in writing from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Illinois Arts Council and the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference. He was awarded seven faculty excellence awards while at Eastern Illinois University, and in 1992 he received the State of Illinois Board of Governors' Distinguished Professor Award, the highest honored offered by that state. He also was nominated twice for the Carnegie Institute's United States Professor of the Year. He received Fulbright Lectureships to Portugal and Greece, and he has sailed around the world twice with Semester at Sea.

Guernsey taught previously at the College of William and Mary, Johns Hopkins University, the University of New Hampshire, and Virginia Wesleyan College, where he was the poet in residence for four years. He graduated with honors from Colgate University, holds M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia and Johns Hopkins University, and holds a Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire.

The English Readings Endowment was established to bring nationally recognized writers to the Whitworth campus and the greater Spokane area. During their time on campus and in the community, visiting writers offer classroom visits, workshops, meetings with students and faculty, and literary readings.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA). The university, which has an enrollment of 2,700 students, offers 55 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.


Doug Sugano, professor of English, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4212 or

Annie Stillar, program assistant, English department, Whitworth University, (509) 777-3253 or

Emily Proffitt, public information officer, Whitworth University, (509) 777-4703 or