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USU Honors Poet and Alum May Swenson with Centennial Celebration Series

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2013

poster for May Swenson Centennial Celebration Series
May Swenson, USU alum and poet

May Swenson photo courtesy USU Special Collections and Archives.

Over the course of her writing life, Utah State University alumna May Swenson was honored with the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship — also known as the ‘Genius Grant’ — and elected Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets. She would have celebrated her 100th birthday this spring.

To commemorate the occasion, USU scholars organized a centennial celebration in Swenson’s honor, including a series of poetry readings and master classes held throughout the spring.

The culminating event will be held April 25 at 7 p.m. at the Morgan Theatre in the Chase Fine Arts Center and features readings by Garrison Keillor — the host and writer behind the syndicated variety show “A Prairie Home Companion” — and Katharine Coles — Utah’s former poet laureate. The event is free, but requires a seating voucher available starting April 1 at the Caine College of the Arts Ticket Office, room 139-B in the Chase Fine Arts Center.

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences presents the birthday celebration, sponsored by the Tanner Foundation, the Center for Women and Gender, USU’s University Libraries and the Department of English.

May Swenson Centennial Celebration events:


Wednesday, Feb. 20: Poet Charles Potts will lead a master class in the Caine Room on the second floor of Family Life Building from 2 to 4 p.m. All are welcome to attend the class.


Wednesday, March 20: Michael Sowder will read from his new poetry collection “House Under the Moon” at the David B. Haight Alumni Center from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. A book signing will follow.


Tuesday, April 9: A poetry reading by three Pocatello poets, including, Susan Goslee, Jen Hawkins and Bethany Schultz Hurst who have written in response to Swenson's work will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m., in the Merrill-Cazier Library, Room 101.

Thursday, April 25: Garrison Keillor and Katharine Coles will perform readings at 7 p.m. at the Morgan Theatre in the Chase Fine Arts Center. The event is free but seating vouchers are required. They will be available April 1.

Contact: Paul Crumbley,

Writer: Writer: Kristen Munson, (435) 797-0267,

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