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Media Contact: Kyle Huneycutt
(706) 379-5319,
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Young Harris College’s Annual Reece Lecture to Feature Award-Winning American Poet Ellen Bryant Voigt

YOUNG HARRIS, Ga. – The annual Byron Herbert Reece Lecture at Young Harris College will feature award-winning poet Ellen Bryant Voigt on Tuesday, April 19, at 7 p.m., in Suber Banquet Hall of the Rollins Campus Center on the YHC campus. A book signing will follow the reading, and the event is free and open to the public.

Voigt’s eight published collections meditate on will and fate and the life cycles of the natural world while exploring the expressive potential of both lyric and narrative elements. Her upbringing on a farm in Virginia and her training as a pianist inform much of her writing, which is notable for its distinctive musical quality.

Voigt’s most recent collection, “Headwaters,” marks a significant transition in style from her many preceding volumes; she abandons all punctuation and regularity of line length and imbues her verse with a sense of urgency through propulsive phrasing and rapid shifts in tone.

“We’re thrilled to be bringing Voigt, a world-renowned poet, to our campus,” said Assistant Professor of English and Director of the Creative Writing Program Chelsea Rathburn. “Voigt is not only a tremendous poet and scholar but a legendary teacher. Our students are very lucky to have the opportunity to hear her words and learn from her.”

During her visit to campus, Voigt will provide a workshop for creative writing students where she will discuss poetic syntax and the composition of poetry with syntax in mind.

Voigt’s honors include the 2002 Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets, a Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund Fellowship, and the 2002 O. B. Hardison Jr. Poetry Prize, as well as grants from the Vermont Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts and the Guggenheim Foundation. In 2015, she was awarded a MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship.

In addition to her writing, Voigt is a dedicated and influential teacher. She has authored two books on the writer’s craft: “The Flexible Lyric” and “The Art of Syntax: Rhythm of Thought, Rhythm of Song.” In 1976, she created the first low-residency MFA program for writers. A poet of sustained excellence and emotional depth, Voigt continues to advance American literary culture through her ongoing experimentation with form and technique.

An elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, Voigt served as the Vermont State Poet from 1999 to 2003 and was a chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 2003 to 2009. She received a bachelor of arts from Converse College and a master of fine arts from the University of Iowa. Since 1981, she has been on the faculty of the MFA program for writers at Warren Wilson College.

­The Byron Herbert Reece Lecture Series was established in 1966 in memory of noted poet and YHC alumnus and former instructor Byron Herbert Reece, ’40. This lecture series honors his memory and contributions to the world of letters by bringing noted writers to campus. Past Reece Lecturers include former Poet Laureate of the United States Natasha Trethewey, National Book Award winner Mark Doty, American Book Award winner Kevin Young, and president of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and celebrated poet Edward Hirsch.

To learn more about Voigt, visit

To learn more about Byron Herbert Reece, visit

For more information about this event, call (706) 379-5224.

About Young Harris College 
Young Harris College is a private, baccalaureate degree-granting college located in the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. Founded in 1886 and historically affiliated with The United Methodist Church, Young Harris College educates, inspires and empowers students through the highest quality liberal arts education. The College currently has more than 1,200 students across five divisions—Education, Fine Arts, Humanities, Mathematics and Science, and Social and Behavioral Sciences. The historic campus in Young Harris, Ga., is currently undergoing major campus improvements to accommodate the College’s growth. Recent LEED-certified campus improvements include the 121,000-square-foot Rollins Campus Center, new residence facilities, and a 57,000-square-foot recreation and fitness center. In 2014, the College was granted active membership in NCAA Division II and is a fierce competitor in the prestigious Peach Belt Conference. YHC is among fewer than 300 colleges and universities nationwide named to the 2015-2016 list of Colleges of Distinction. For more information, visit

Ellen Bryant Voigt

The annual Byron Herbert Reece Lecture at Young Harris College will feature award-winning poet Ellen Bryant Voigt on Tuesday, April 19. (Photo provided by the MacArthur Foundation)