Braniff Conference Explores Philosophy and Poetry
Date published: Jan. 27, 2015
The Second Annual Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts will be held Jan. 29-30,
2016, on the UD campus in Irving.
In 2015, the Braniff Graduate Student Association (BGSA) began the tradition of an
annual liberal arts conference with the aim of reflecting the unique interdisciplinary
nature of the Braniff Graduate School of Liberal Arts and its emphases on both classical
education and contemporary scholarship. The theme of the 2016 conference is philosophy
and poetry. Featuring a keynote address by the poet laureate of Virginia, Ron Smith,
the conference will include presentations on Aquinas, Milton, Plato, Spenser and others
by graduate students from across the country and even overseas.
"This year's conference will build on the interdisciplinary approach of last year's,
bringing in students with backgrounds in theology, philosophy, literature, politics
and law,” said BGSA president Rhett Forman.
The keynote speaker, Ron Smith, is the author of “Running Again in Hollywood Cemetery,”
runner-up for the National Poetry Series Open Competition and the Samuel French Morse
Prize and subsequently published by University Presses of Florida. His other books
-- “Its Ghostly Workshop,” “Moon Road: Poems 1986-2005” and the forthcoming “The Humility
of the Brutes” -- are published by LSU Press. His poems have appeared in many periodicals,
including The Nation, New England Review, Southern Review, Kenyon Review, Georgia
Review and Puerto del Sol, as well as in anthologies in the U.S., Italy, Canada and
Smith holds degrees (B.A., M.A., M.H. and M.F.A.) in philosophy, English, general
humanities and creative writing, and he has studied writing at Bennington College
in Vermont, British drama at Oxford, and Renaissance and modern culture at the Ezra
Pound Center for Literature in Merano, Italy. He is a winner and now curator of the
Carole Weinstein Poetry Prize. He has taught at several universities and is currently
the writer-in-residence and the George O. Squires Chair of Distinguished Teaching
at St. Christopher's School in Richmond, Virginia. He is also the poetry editor for
Aethlon: The Journal of Sport Literature.
“Smith is not only a fine educator with a strong background in the liberal arts, but
he has also made his way in the world as a professional poet, so I think it will be
interesting to see how the theory and practice of poetry collide at this year's conference,"
The Braniff Conference in the Liberal Arts is made possible by the support of Braniff
graduate students, with additional support from the Department of English, the Department
of Politics and Braniff Graduate School Dean Joshua Parens, Ph.D.