Teri Ellen Cross Davis, the author of Haint and winner of the 2017 Ohioana Book Award for Poetry, will be Foxcroft School’s poet-in-residence Friday, February 2 when the all-girls day and boarding school presents the 11th annual Paul K. Bergan Poetry Festival.
In addition to Davis’s reading on Friday morning — to which the public is welcome — the festival also features a variety of workshops, an “open mic” Coffee House and Poetry Slam, and the traditional formal Poetry Reading Competition, which dates back to the early years of the century-old school.
A Cave Canem fellow, Davis has attended the Soul Mountain Writer’s Retreat, the Virginia Center for Creative Arts, and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She serves on the Advisory Council of Split This Rock, a biennial poetry festival in Washington D.C., has been a judge for the National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Out Loud and is the Poetry Coordinator for the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. Her work has been published in many anthologies, including Growing Up Girl; Full Moon on K Street: Poems About Washington, DC; Check the Rhyme: An Anthology of Female Poets & Emcees; and The Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn Brooks. She lives in Maryland with her husband, poet Hayes Davis, and their two children.
During the poetry festival, Davis will conduct a workshop focusing on Lucille Clifton, Linda Pastan, and Rita Dove, all women poets in the D.C./Maryland/Virginia area who have inspired and influenced her. Foxcroft School faculty will conduct a variety of “poetry-making” workshops on topics ranging from traditional forms such as sonnets and limericks to visual or physical poetry created in The Innovation Lab, the School’s recently opened makerspace.
The formal reading contest will present three finalists at each grade level who have been chosen by their peers and certified by faculty judges in two previous rounds of competition. Each finalist will read a poem of her choice and the best one at each grade level, based on poem selection as well as delivery, is declared the winner and crowned with laurels (literally!).
The festival will conclude Friday evening with the popular Poetry Slam, featuring original pieces presented by students and judged by their peers, and open mic opportunities for others to perform.
Named in honor of former English teacher Paul Bergan, the annual poetry has brought a variety of established poets to campus over the years including the late Claudia Emerson (Virginia Poet Laureate), NSA Fellow Sandra Beasley, Jennifer Chang, Stephen Cushman, alumna Tina Barr, Donna E.M. Denizé, and Sami Miranda, as well as spoken word artists Clint Smith, George Yamazawa, Jason LeVasseur, and Nan Fry.