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Encyclopedia of Cleveland History

CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY POETRY CENTER

CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY POETRY CENTER

The CLEVELAND STATE UNIVERSITY POETRY CENTER was founded at FENN COLLEGE in 1962 by Lewis Turco, a member of the English Dept. at Fenn, which became CLEVELAND STATE UNIV. in 1964. Originally called the Cleveland Poetry Center, from its inception it has been a public service activity sponsored by the English Dept. and dedicated to encouraging the creation and appreciation of poetry and other creative writing. Each year the center has sponsored free public readings by well-known poets and writers, as well as local ones. Since 1962 the Poetry Center has also sponsored the Poetry Forum, a monthly poetry-writing workshop free and open to the public. When Turco left CSU in 1964, Alberta T. Turner became director of the Poetry Center, a position she held until 1990. Leonard Trawick and Nuala Archer have served as directors in the 1990s. Under the editorship of Trawick, the Poetry Center began publishing books of contemporary poetry in 1971; with 100 titles by 1994, it had earned an international reputation as a small press specializing in new poetry. In 1985 it began sponsoring the CSU Poetry Center Prize, an international competition for poetry manuscripts which attracts more than 1,000 book-length submissions annually. In 1985 the center opened the Hazel Collister Hutchison Contemporary Poetry Room in the CSU Library, which houses the best contemporary poetry collection in northern Ohio. Many distinguished American poets, critics, and scholars participated in the "Jubilation of Poets," a large poetry conference and festival which the Poetry Center put on in 1986 to celebrate its approaching 25th anniversary.