Campus News

KY Women Writers Present Two Poets To Know


LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 28, 2010) − "Poetry is nearer to vital truth than history," Plato, "Ion."

To discuss the importance of the field of poetry and its truth, the Kentucky Women Writers Conference (KWWC) will present two poets, the award-winning Simone Muench and emerging talent Jennifer Chang, as part of its impressive line-up of writers for the annual literary event scheduled for Sept. 11-12, in Lexington.

Simone Muench's prowess as a poet has not gone unnoticed. She has been recognized with the Marianne Moore Prize for Poetry for "The Air Lost in Breathing" (Helicon Nine, 2000) and the Kathryn A Morton Prize for Poetry for "Lampblack & Ash" (Sarabande 2005). Muench is also a recipient of two Illinois Arts Council Fellowships, the 49th Parallel Poetry Award, both the Poetry Society of America’s Fine Lines Contest and Bright Lights/Big Verse Contest awards, the Charles Goodnow Award, the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Intro Journals Award, and the Poetry Center’s Ninth Annual Juried Reading Award. She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and now directs the Writing Program at Lewis University, where she teaches creative writing and film studies. Additionally, she serves on the advisory board for Switchback Books and UniVerse: A United Nations of Poetry, and is an editor for Sharkforum.

Muench's most recent work is "Orange Crush" (Sarabande, 2010), which pays tribute to the "Orange Girls" of the 17th century. The poems revisit these lost women who earned their title selling sweet "china" oranges outside the theater—or maybe themselves—for a sixpence each. The expressionist poet's work uses these depictions to also pay homage to contemporary women, particularly writers, thus re-embodying and reinventing the idea of  "Orange Girls." 

Jennifer Chang is the author of "The History of Anonymity" (University of Georgia) and has poems appearing or forthcoming in Boston Review, New England Review, The New Republic, Poetry Daily, Virginia Quarterly Review and elsewhere. Her work has been anthologized in "Asian American Poetry: The Next Generation," "Best New Poets 2005," and "The Year's Best Fantasy and Horror 2006." Chang was the 2005 Van Lier Fellow in Poetry at the Asian American Writers' Workshop and has received fellowships and scholarships from Bread Loaf Writers' Conference, Sewanee Writers' Conference, The MacDowell Colony, and Yaddo. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in English at the University of Virginia.

A "rising star," Chang's debut collection, "The History of Anonymity," explores the emotional landscape of childhood without confession and without straightforward narrative. The book makes a journey both natural and psychological, experimenting with language and form to capture the search for personhood and place.

Muench and Chang will participate in several Kentucky Women Writers Conference events showcasing the field of poetry. The pair of poets will come together to participate in a free public reading from 4 to 5:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11, at the Lexington Public Library - Central Library. Both poets' new books will be available for purchase at the event.

Additionally, both poets will present workshops. Muench will teach a two-part writing workshop titled “Call & Response: Writing Poetry as a Collaborative Act” during the conference on Sept. 11 and 12. And, Chang will teach her own two-part poetry workshop on Sept. 11­-12. Specific times for these workshops will be announced on the KWWC website. To check for times or to register for these workshops, visit


To better acquaint the public with the work of poets Simone Muench and Jennifer Chang, local poet and Centre College professor Lisa Williams will lead a discussion of their work as part of the "5 Writers to Know" series. This event is scheduled from noon to 1 p.m. Friday, July 16, at the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning

Online registration for the Kentucky Women Writers Conference is open now. For details on the conference and to register, visit or call (859) 257-2874.