WTAMU’s Texas Poets Corner to Celebrate Rare Book Donation — The Amarillo Pioneer

A precious collection of rare books and student winners of writing and design competitions will be honored at a special event for West Texas A&M University’s expanding Texas Poets’ Corner.

The Texas Poets’ Corner, which was established in 2003 in WT’s Cornette Library, was bequeathed a $2.8 million estate gift by the late Dr. Jenny Lind Porter Scott, a former Texas Poet Laureate and WT assistant professor of English.

With that funding, library officials are broadening the reach of the Texas Poets’ Corner by sponsoring poetry and history scholarship competitions for students, among other outreach efforts.

The winners will be hailed at the Texas Poets’ Corner Evening of Celebration at 7 pm April 19 on the second floor of the library. In addition to readings by winning poets, the event will also celebrate recent acquisitions by the library.

Jana Jensen, a graduate mathematics student from Ashland, Wisconsin, won first place and a $1,000 scholarship for her poem “Sunburst at the Break of Day.” Tied for second place, each winning $500 scholarships, were Elle Waters, a senior communication studies major from Amarillo, for her poem “Dust Storm” and Joshua Kornexl, a graduate student in English from Chandler, Arizona, for his poem “The Road. ”

Lindsey Bullard, a senior sports and exercise science major from Callisburg, won a $1,000 for “Letters Home: The Story of Clark Pelley in World War I” in the history essay contest.

The celebration will also include the unveiling of a new Texas Poets’ Corner logo designed by international student Kseniia Filatova, a freshman general studies major.

A collection of Limited Editions Club books donated by the estate of Kenneth Seyffert will also be unveiled. Seyffert, author of the 2001 book “Birds of the Texas Panhandle,” was a self-educated man whose interests included literature, arts, music and ornithology.

The book club was formed in 1929 to offer limited editions of classic titles in small quantities to collectors. Seyffert’s estate included 302 of the club’s 589 total editions, including special editions of books like Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby,” Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels” and more.

“Jenny Lind’s vision for the Texas Poets’ Corner was to be a place to expose WT students and the community to fine poetry, literature, music and art, as well as Texas history through lectures and performances,” said Shawna Kennedy-Witthar, Cornette Library’s director of information and library resources. “With these acquisitions and through these scholarship competitions, we are helping fulfill her dream of her and broaden the reach of the Texas Poets’ Corner.”

Porter, who published her first poem at age 14, served as Texas Poet Laureate in 1964 and 1965, was the author of several collections and books, and was named to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

The Texas Poets’ Corner event helps fulfill WT’s desire to provide access to intellectual resources, insight and wisdom, as set out in the University’s long-range plan, WT 125: From the Panhandle to the World.

That plan is fueled by the historic, $125 million OneWest comprehensive fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which publicly launched Sept. 23 — has raised about $110 million.

-West Texas A&M University

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