WTAMU’s Texas Poets’ Corner to Celebrate Rare Book Donation – The Amarillo Pioneer



A treasured collection of rare books and winning student writing and design competitions will be honored at a special event for West Texas A&M University’s growing Texas Poets’ Corner.

The Texas Poets’ Corner, which was established in 2003 in WT’s Cornette Library, was left an estate gift of $2.8 million by the late Dr. Jenny Lind Porter Scott, former Texas Poet Laureate and WT Assistant Professor of English.

With this funding, library officials are expanding the reach of Texas Poets’ Corner by sponsoring poetry and history scholarship contests for students, among other outreach efforts.

Winners will be recognized at the Texas Poets’ Corner Celebration Night at 7 p.m. on April 19 on the second floor of the library. In addition to readings by poet laureates, the event will also celebrate recent library acquisitions.

Jana Jensen, a graduate math student from Ashland, Wisconsin, won first place and a $1,000 scholarship for her poem “Sunburst at the Break of Day.” Tied for second place, each taking home $500 scholarships, were Elle Waters, a communications major from Amarillo, for her poem “Dust Storm” and Joshua Kornexl, an English graduate student from Chandler, Arizona, for his poem “The Road.”

Lindsey Bullard, a senior sports and exercise science student from Callisburg, won $1,000 for “Letters Home: The Story of Clark Pelley in World War I” in the History Essay Contest.

The celebration will also include the unveiling of a new Texas Poets’ Corner logo designed by international student Kseniia Filatova, a freshman majoring in general studies.

A collection of limited edition Club books donated by the estate of Kenneth Seyffert will also be unveiled. Seyffert, author of the 2001 book “Birds of the Texas Panhandle,” was a self-taught man whose interests included literature, the arts, music, and ornithology.

The book club was established in 1929 to offer limited editions of classic titles in small quantities to collectors. Seyffert’s estate included 302 of the club’s 589 total editions, including special editions of books like “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” by Mark Twain, “The Great Gatsby” by F. Scott Fitzgerald, “Gulliver’s Travels” by Jonathan Swift and more.

“Jenny Lind’s vision for Texas Poets’ Corner was to be a place to expose WT students and the community to poetry, literature, music and art, as well as the history of Texas through lectures and performances,” said Shawna Kennedy-Witthar, Cornette Director of Information and Resources for the library. “Through these acquisitions and scholarship competitions, we are helping to fulfill his dream and expand the reach of Texas Poets’ Corner.”

Porter, who published her first poem at age 14, was Texas Poet Laureate in 1964 and 1965, authored several collections and books, and was named to the Texas Women’s Hall of Fame in 1985.

The Texas Poets’ Corner event helps fulfill WT’s desire to provide access to intellectual resources, insight, and wisdom, as outlined in the university’s long-term plan, WT 125: From begging to the world.

This plan is fueled by the historic amount of $125 million one west huge fundraising campaign. To date, the five-year campaign — which launched publicly on September 23 — has raised around $110 million.

-West Texas A&M University

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