Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Biannual Wordsfair celebrates the arts

Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Kevin Stein, an Illinois poet, recites one of his original poems to the words fair crowd. -Photo by Tiffany Thomas

Creative minds at Southeast Missouri State University gathered in the University Center Ballroom on Friday for Wordsfair, an event held every other year by the Journey Student Literary Magazine.

This year's Wordsfair featured special guest Dr. Kevin Stein, Poet Laureate of Illinois and professor at Bradley University. The event also included several student literary recitals, student art displays and door prizes.

Dr. Stein explained his role as a poet laureate and read some samples of youth poetry written by Illinois elementary school students. He also shared a few of his own poems, including a poem about his experience in a garage band during his teenage years.

Stein encouraged students to keep writing and said that he participates in events like Wordsfair in hopes that students will gain a greater appreciation for the ways that poetry enriches lives.

"One of poetry's primary functions is to illuminate the often overlooked elements of our daily existence and to shine the light of attention upon them," Stein said.

A question-and-answer session and book signing followed Stein's presentation.

Several students also had the opportunity to share their literary works at the event. A reading by Scott Smith included his own poems and some poetry by surrealist poet Andre Breton. Southeast students Caleb Tankersley and Katie Murkey also recited their poetry.

According to Dr. Susan Swartout of Southeast's University Press, Wordsfair began "because some free spirits got together in 2002 and decided we should celebrate language arts along with other arts, and that spirit is still thriving at Southeast."

More information about the Journey Student Literary Magazine can be found online at

Additional information about Dr. Stein and his poetry can be found at