Anna Evans New Jersey 0

Reinstate Kim Bridgford as WCU Poetry Center Director

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We, the undersigned, are united in our support for the former Director of the WCU Poetry Center and Conference, Dr. Kim Bridgford. During her four-year tenure, Dr. Bridgford has run a world-class Poetry Conference. She has truly been committed to bringing racial, ethnic, and gender diversity to the Conference constituencies. With an eye to President Weisenstein's Global Initiative, she has invited poets from all over the globe to read at the Center and to participate at the conference. Under her leadership, a generative connection has developed between the Poetry Center and the Arts Program that has led to several provocative installations, including the Romare Bearden Exhibit. She has provided the university community with a variety of diverse poetry-related programs, such as readings, poetry salons, and Visiting Poets including Anne Stevenson and Kay Ryan.

Dr. Bridgford has served and continues to serve her department, college, university, and community with the utmost professionalism. Her dedication to the Poetry Center and Conference's mission to further the study and appreciation of poetry is deeply admired. Her clarity of vision, her creative approach to problem solving, her interest in developing programs that are accessible and engaging to both our students and the university community is singular in its energetic focus.

Therefore, as a group, we believe that since no one in the WCU Administration can either clearly justify or plainly state why Dr. Bridgford has been reassigned from her position as Director of the Poetry Center and Conference, she should be reinstated as Director of the Center as quickly as possible. Any other action will be detrimental to the future of the Conference and the Center, as it will necessarily mean that the hundreds of poets and scholars who attend the conference and/or poetry center events annually will find and, if necessary, build other, more stable and welcoming creative and critical communities where we can share and celebrate our work.

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