New poetry center to feature works by contemporary poets

By Bryce Bullins

Mark your calendars students and poetry enthusiasts: coming March 2014, the Sierra Nevada College Poetry Center will be celebrating its grand opening. Thanks to a well-written grant and a brilliant idea, Betts Markle will bring thousands of new books and several famous poets to Prim Library to make poetry accessible to the students, faculty, and citizens of Incline Village.

Prim Library

Prim Library will be adding a poetry center in March.

Just this past year, Markle, the dibrary director for SNC, applied for a federal block grant from the Museum and Library Services in Washington D.C., through the Library and Technology Services Act. Because of her hard work, SNC was awarded $48,750 to purchase books, supplies, and to contract a consultant to make sure the Poetry Center is a success. Gail Brown from the University of Arizona Poetry Center, which contains over 70,000 volumes and is widely regarded as one of the most successful in the country, is coming to SNC to help Markle create the Poetry Center.

Markle envisioned a Poetry Center featuring only contemporary poets; from 1969 (the birth of SNC) to now. “Move over T.S. Elliot and Robert Frost. We’ll focus on growing a more contemporary selection.” A benefactor from Tucson, Arizona, who partnered with the University of Arizona, recently donated 4,000 contemporary volumes. This brings the total amount of poetry volumes for the new Poetry Center to 5,000, but Markle won’t stop there.

With suggestions from visiting poets and scholars, Markle expects a minimum addition of 250-300 books a year. Although that’s nowhere near the 70,000 volumes the University of Arizona possesses, Markle foresees nothing but success for SNC’s Poetry Center.

“Maybe somebody would give us a house in Incline that would become a poetry center,” complete with a director and staff. “It’s something that really adds to our liberal arts atmosphere here,” Markle says. “People respond to poetry. It’s pretty cool for this small community.”

Bryce Bullins is the English Program assistant, editor of the Sierra Nevada Review, and secretary of the Creative Writing Club.