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Rhyme and Reason: Poet to Spend a Week in Residence at Juniata College

(Posted March 6, 2006)

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- Karen Swenson, a poet who has written five books of poetry and a journalist who has written for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, starts a weeklong residency at Juniata College as a Woodrow Wilson Fellow from Monday, March 13 through Friday, March 17.

Swenson will participate in a variety of classes and give a poetry reading at 7:30 p.m., Monday, March 13 in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science. She also will present a talk on her journalism experiences in Asia at 5 p.m., Tuesday, March 14, in Neff Lecture Hall in the von Liebig Center for Science.

The reading and lecture are both free and open to the public.

"The Woodrow Wilson program really gives faculty and our students an opportunity to interact with a person who has extensive experience as a poet, yet also can teach our students about journalism at a very high level," says James Tuten, assistant provost at Juniata and coordinator of the college's speakers program.

Swenson has an extensive portfolio of published poetry, including five books: "An Attic of Ideals," "East-West," "A Sense of Direction," "The Landlady in Bangkok" and "A Daughter's Latitude: New and Selected," published in 2000. She has written a series of travel and reporting stories in Hong Kong, Indonesia, Thailand, India, Nepal and other Asian countries for such newspapers as the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, The New Leader and the Denver Quarterly.

She earned a bachelor's degree from Barnard College in 1959 and went on to earn a master's degree from New York University in 1971.

Most recently, Swenson taught journalism at NYU from 2003 to the present. She also was a visiting professor at Weber State College in Utah in 2001 and worked as a distinguished professor of arts and literature at Centenary College in Louisiana the same year.

From 1996 to 2000, she was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow and spent four years teaching and lecturing at liberal arts colleges across the country. From 1988 to 1995 she worked as a freelance journalist.

In 1994 she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize for her poetry and won the national Poetry Series Open Competition with her book "The Landlady in Bangkok."

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program was established to bring thoughtful and successful practitioners to colleges for a week of classes and informal discussions with students and faculty.

The Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation has developed and conducted programs in higher education since 1945. More than 200 colleges have participated in the Visiting Fellows program since 1973.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.