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  #11  
Old 01-11-2018, 03:33 PM
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Catherine Chandler Catherine Chandler is offline
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Why don't we give them a chance? Is it really too late?
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  #12  
Old 01-11-2018, 03:38 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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It's just that there's nothing in the background or poetry of Waters to be found on the internet that suggests he has any interest in formal poetry. And since he is pretty much unknown even in the world of free verse (not even a chapbook to his credit) it doesn't bode well for his ability to call on a network of highly respected poets to participate. But sure, maybe he'll prove the skeptics wrong and feel that he has some responsibility to keep serving the traditional constituency of the conference.
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  #13  
Old 01-11-2018, 04:17 PM
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Quincy Lehr Quincy Lehr is offline
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Waters seems to be mostly a prose writer with some background administering this:

http://lancasteronline.com/news/jess...bd585be6d.html

My guess is he was hired for his administrative experience rather than his literary contacts.
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  #14  
Old 01-11-2018, 04:44 PM
Matt Q Matt Q is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Slater View Post
And since he is pretty much unknown even in the world of free verse (not even a chapbook to his credit)
So I looked him up. He has a poetry collection out called "Human Resources" (Inkbrush Press, 2011). Not disagreeing with your main point though.

Last edited by Matt Q; 01-11-2018 at 04:52 PM.
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  #15  
Old 01-11-2018, 04:58 PM
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I looked up Jesse Waters as well. And I suppose this is his own description:

Runner-up for the Iowa Review Fiction Prize, finalist in the Glimmer Train 2003 Poetry Open, The Davoren Hanna International Poetry Contest and the 2010 Atlanta Review International Poetry Contest, Jesse Waters is a recipient of a 2003 NC Artists' Grant to attend the Vermont Studio Center, and a winner of the 2001 River Styx International Poetry Contest. Currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the English Dept. here at Elizabethtown College, Jesse's fiction, poetry and non-fiction work has been nominated for multiple Pushcart Prizes, and has appeared in such journals as 88: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry, The Adirondack Review, Coal Hill Review, The Cortland Review, Cimarron Review, Concrete Wolf, Iowa Review, Plainsongs, Magma, River Styx, Slide, Story Quarterly, Southeast Review, Sycamore Review and others. His first book of poems, Human Resources, was released by Inkbrush Press in February of 2011.

* * *

Surely housing other offices in the space and also storing all the materials elsewhere means the end--right? There's no way to make that sound like something good.

* * *

And I'd still like to know who would be the best person to contact.
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  #16  
Old 01-11-2018, 05:09 PM
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Catherine Chandler Catherine Chandler is offline
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I don't know the whole schedule, but Tim Steele is scheduled to hold a one-day workshop and to give the keynote address. That's promising!
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  #17  
Old 01-11-2018, 09:41 PM
Roger Slater Roger Slater is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Q View Post
So I looked him up. He has a poetry collection out called "Human Resources" (Inkbrush Press, 2011). Not disagreeing with your main point though.
The book isn't mentioned in the bios I consulted, but clearly I was wrong about that.

In case it's not clear, I also want to say that I don't want my criticism of his selecton to appear personal in any way. He might be a wonderful guy, and he certainly didn't do anything wrong in accepting a job. I'm only worried for what this means to the conference as so many of my friends and colleagues have come to value it.
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  #18  
Old 01-12-2018, 02:57 AM
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It seems that Jesse Waters is the director of the "four-bedroom, three-bathroom" Bower Poetry House at Elizabethtown College (1 hour and 15 minutes from West Chester, according to Google).

So, he's relatively local. Which means that he brings a cheaper travel allowance to the position, and that he may have friends in high places at WCU. I assume that those two factors were key criteria in his being given the job.

I agree that he's not the villain here. In fact, his willingness to accept this position suggests his total innocence about what he's gotten himself into, the poor lamb.

(Someone higher up at WCU may have been inspired by the scheme in The Producers, though--i.e., get access to far more funds than you need for the caliber of show you're actually planning to present, then make sure it's a flop so that you can close quickly and make off with the unspent funds. They can say, "See, we tried to keep the conference going, so we weren't the ones who killed it--the poets who failed to show up did. And now, since we can't spend the leftover money on what the donors stipulated, we're free to re-allocate those funds.")

Okay, that's enough conspiracy theorizing for me. My thanks to all those who put their time and energy and donations into trying to keep a good thing going for the poetry community.

Last edited by Julie Steiner; 01-12-2018 at 03:21 AM.
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  #19  
Old 01-12-2018, 09:02 PM
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Sam Gwynn has a Facebook thread about all this and Jesse Waters came onto it and made an encouraging statement about hoping to uphold the original aims of the conference etc...Although I won't be attending a conference anywhere this year, I'm inclined to hope for the best at WCU until I actually hear the worst.
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  #20  
Old 01-13-2018, 02:11 AM
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R. S. Gwynn R. S. Gwynn is offline
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One of the things about West Chester that no one seems to understand is that the program director answers to the dean of the College of Arts & Humanities, but financial support for the conference and other activities of the Poetry Center comes from the University Foundation. Thus, the control of the poetry conference comes from the college, which has no financial stake in the conference and does nothing to support it. The endowment of the Poetry Center, raised over the last 22 years from individual donors and the NEH, amounts to over 2 million dollars, roughly 12% of the university's total endowment. The endowment's interest generates about $80k per year to partially fund the conference; registration fees fund the rest. Last year, the conference was obliged to pay the college in excess of $6000 for classroom/auditorium space and help in putting on the concert, which used unpaid student singers.

How this curious situation came about is a complicated story. Since 2014, the University has refused to fund a full-time director and assistant director. Thus, I feel that any blame for the current or future status of the conference has to be laid at the feet of the university and, specifically, the interim dean of the College of Arts and Humanities. I have wished Jesse Waters well in his unenviable new position. However, I did a lot of unpaid work for West Chester over the past two years and donated my own money to the Poetry Center; I do not plan to lend any further assistance to an institution that clearly does not know where its own best interests lie.
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