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UK Libraries King Library Press Celebrates Poetry and Fine Print

By Whitney Hale, Lydia Whitman

(April 22, 2015) — In celebration of poetry in print, "Verse in Type: Poets & Printers, an Artistic Affinity" is the theme for the 2015 King Library Press Spring Seminar, presented by University of Kentucky's King Library Press at the end of April. This year's seminar will be presented in conjunction with a letterpress printing exhibit and student poetry contest. The King Library Press Spring Seminar and reception will take place starting at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the Hilary J. Boone Center on campus.

"Poetry, being often more flexible and varied in form than prose, presents the printer and typographer with different and interesting challenges of page design, spacing and scale with choices and with the opportunities to expand and play," said artist and poet Carolyn Whitesel. "When printers are poets and poets are printers, the two worlds join in natural and fascinating harmonies, and we can all celebrate the result."

The first component to "Verse in Type" is an exhibit at Clark Art & Antiques. The exhibit will include broadsides and books from the King Library Press and guest contributors Alex Brooks, Travis Dupriest, Arthur Graham, Jonathan Greene, Deborah Kessler, Whitesel and Gray Zeitz.  The exhibit, which runs through May 17, will open with a reception from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 26, at Clark Art & Antiques, located at 801 Winchester Road in Lexington. The event and exhibit are free and open to the public.

The "Verse in Type" exhibit will also feature broadsides of two winning poems from the UK Poetry Broadside contest. The King Library Press co-sponsored  the contest with the UK Department of English's Master of Fine Arts Creative Writing Program. The winners are Robin LaMer Rahija, from Kansas City, Missouri, a student in the MFA Creative Writing Program, and Kelsey Potter, from Worthington, Kentucky, a rising senior double majoring in English and integrated strategic communication with a minor in theatre. They were chosen from 35 graduate entries and 80 undergraduate entries. The winners will each be awarded a $250 cash prize sponsored by Clark Art & Antiques.

Rounding out the festivities celebrating poetry in print will be the annual King Library Press Spring Seminar beginning 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, at the Hilary J. Boone Center. Dara Wier and Emily Pettit will be joint guest lecturers for the seminar, which is free and open to the public.

Wier, a faculty member at University of Massachusetts Amherst, is the founding editor of Factory Hollow Press in Hadley, Massachusetts. Wier has written 11 books of poetry. Her newest book is "You Good Thing" from Wave Books. Wier's awards include the Poetry Center and Archives Book of the Year Award, a Pushcart Prize, the American Poetry Review's Jerome Shestack Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenhiem Foundation and the Massachusetts Cultural Council. 

Pettit, publisher and editor of the literary journal jubilat and publisher and editor of Factory Hollow Press. She is also the author of "Goat in the Snow."

Following the lecture by Wier and Pettit, there will be a poetry reading featuring some of the poets represented in "Verse in Type" including current Kentucky Poet Laureate George Ella Lyon and one of her predecessors, Richard Taylor. The winners of the student poetry contest will be recognized and will read their award winning poems as well. A reception co-hosted by UK Libraries and UK Department of English will follow the poetry reading.

A digital exhibit of "Verse in Type" is being produced by Master of Fine Art student, Erin Reed. The digital exhibit will feature materials that will be seen in the "Verse in Type" physical exhibit. The digital exhibit will be running at both the "Verse in Type" exhibit opening and the King Library Press Spring Seminar. Reed is producing this exhibit as a creative independent study.

The "Verse in Type" events are also part of a week of events presented as the Kentucky Poetry Festival sponsored by UK's MFA in Creative Writing Program. For more information, visit the UK College of Arts and Sciences website at:

King Library Press, part of UK Special Collections Research Center, is devoted to the tradition of fine printing and produces books and broadsides. Publications available from King Library Press include a portfolio of five poems by Kentucky Poet Laureate Jane Gentry Vance, Necia Harkless's "Heart to Heart" and Abraham Lincoln's "Second Inaugural Address."