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Virtual International Poetry Reading scheduled for April 28

Photo caption: Organizers say that even though this year's International Poetry Reading will be a virtual event, it remains an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of languages and to celebrate cultural diversity.

Readers are sought for the 15th annual International Poetry Reading hosted by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, to be held virtually from 6-8 p.m. Wednesday, April 28.

Those who can speak and read in a language other than modern standard English are invited to read a poem of their choosing at the event. In previous events, community members, faculty and staff read and listened to poetry written in as many as 40 languages, including Korean, Hmong, Icelandic and many more.

Event organizers have set a deadline of Friday, March 26, for interested readers. The deadline for poem selection is Friday, April 9. 

“Even though the event will be virtual this year, the International Poetry Reading remains an annual event to gather the Blugold family and community members in Eau Claire to appreciate the beauty of languages and to celebrate cultural diversity," said Dr. Kaishan Kong, UW-Eau Claire associate professor of Chinese and co-organizer of the International Poetry Reading, along with Josh Bauer, senior web developer in UW-Eau Claire's Learning and Technology Services department, and Dr. Dorothy Ka-Ying Chan, assistant professor of English.

“Drs. Audrey Fessler and Jeff Vahlbusch co-started the very first International Poetry Reading 15 years ago, and now we hope to continue their legacy to make it a meaningful and impactful event for the larger Eau Claire community. Previous participants included faculty, staff, students, visiting scholars, community members and even poets from China who wished to share their love of poetry.”

Last year’s event was canceled because of COVID-19.

A booklet containing all of the poems in their original language and an English translation also will be digital and made available to all participants and attendees.

Those interested in reading at the event should do the following: 

  1. Send an email to by Friday, March 26, to indicate interest. Include “Poetry Reading” in the subject line followed by the language in which you’d like to read (for example, “Poetry Reading-Arabic”). A specific poem does not have to be chosen at this time; the email will reserve the sender a spot on the readers list. (If a language is already spoken for or all spots on the readers list are full, the sender will be notified in a reply email.)
  2. Choose a short poem (40 lines maximum, but preferably shorter) written in your language. Send electronic copies of the poem and an English translation in a Microsoft Word file to as soon as possible, but by midnight on Friday, April 9, at the latest. Include the poem's author and translator, and give full bibliographic information about the book or website where it is published.

For more information, contact organizers or visit their Facebook page, where a Zoom link also will be available. 

The International Poetry Reading is sponsored by Dr. Thomas King, professor emeritus of communication sciences and disorders, and his wife, Debra; the Center for International Education; the UW-Eau Claire Foundation; and the departments of English and languages.